Austin Underride Truck Accident Lawyer
There are few types of traffic accidents more devastating than those involving large commercial trucks. Among the most serious large truck collisions is an underride accident. “Underride accident” applies to any crash where an automobile collides with a commercial truck’s trailer and slides underneath. These truck underride accidents can be incredibly dangerous to motorists, causing catastrophic damage and debilitating injuries.
If you’ve been injured in a truck underride accident in the Austin area, you could be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, any income you lost due to missing work, vehicle damage, and your pain and suffering. At Loewy Law Firm, we understand how challenging it can be to navigate the claims process while you recover from injuries. We can take some of that burden off your shoulders and fight tirelessly for your right to compensation. Contact our Austin truck accident lawyer today for a free consultation.
What Is an Underride Accident?
There are two types of underride accidents: side impacts and rear impacts. In an underride accident, a car or other vehicle collides with a commercial tractor-trailer from either the side or behind and skids underneath the trailer during the collision.
- Side underride accident – Side underride accidents can occur when a commercial truck crosses a highway or through an intersection and an oncoming car crashes into the side of the trailer, then slides underneath it.
- Rear underride accident – Rear underride accidents can occur when a motorist follows too closely behind a commercial truck or when a truck driver suddenly slams on the brakes. The car crashes into the rear of the trailer and slides underneath.
Why Are These Particular Crashes So Dangerous?
Underride accidents are so dangerous because when a vehicle slides underneath a commercial truck, the top of the vehicle is often completely crushed or removed, leaving occupants extremely vulnerable to injury. Motorists rely on their vehicles’ frames to protect them in the event of a collision, but in the case of underride truck accidents, the framework is often obliterated.
Commercial truck accidents are often among the most severe crashes. Trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when they are fully loaded with cargo. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported 4,119 commercial truck accident fatalities in 2019. Most of these deaths (67 percent) were drivers and passengers of other vehicles, while just 16 percent of fatalities were truck drivers.
Common Injuries Caused by Underride Truck Crashes
Like any accident involving a commercial truck, underride accidents can cause devastating and even fatal injuries. Some of the most common include:
- Traumatic brain injuries – Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can be life-threatening. Concussions are a common type of TBI and can vary from mild to severe. Mild concussions require round-the-clock monitoring for a few days, but severe concussions can cause skull fractures and brain bleeding, which is life-threatening and must be treated immediately. TBIs can also cause changes to personality, emotion, memory, and logic.
- Spinal damage and paralysis – Spinal cord injuries are extremely dangerous. If the spinal cord is transected in a crash, permanent paralysis can occur below the site of the injury.
- Internal injuries – Internal injuries are common in truck accidents. Organs can be damaged or crushed in the impact, causing internal bleeding. Internal bleeding may not be immediately apparent, but it’s typically life-threatening.
- Broken/fractured bones – Broken and fractured bones, including crushed ribs, frequently result from underride truck accidents. Broken and fractured bones require long recovery periods and often require surgery followed by rehab to heal properly.
- Soft-tissue damage – Soft-tissue damage occurs when ligaments and tendons under the surface of the skin are torn in a collision. Whiplash is a type of soft-tissue injury resulting from the head jerking violently in a crash, causing muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the shoulders and neck to tear. Many of these injuries are not immediately visible, but they can cause late-onset symptoms.
- Burns, Scrapes, and Lacerations – A person thrown from their vehicle onto the road can suffer scrapes, lacerations, and road rash. Fire or hazardous chemicals can also burn underride accident victims, causing permanent disfigurement.
- Amputation – Some truck accident victims suffer amputation or dismemberment. Losing a limb or other body part can permanently alter a person’s life and affect their ability to perform routine tasks.
Who Is Responsible for an Underride Truck Accident?
Underride accidents can be incredibly complex, which is why you need an experienced attorney on your side. Multiple parties may be at fault. Underride truck accidents can be caused by any number of factors, including:
- Drivers tailgating commercial trucks
- Low visibility due to hazardous weather conditions
- Truck driver negligence, such as stopping too quickly
- Failure to install under-ride guards
- Improper truck lighting
- Improper truck maintenance or defective parts
- Drivers failing to flash their lights when stopped or pulled over in low-light conditions
It’s not always just the truck driver who’s at fault for an underride accident. While truck drivers can cause underride accidents through negligence, the trucking company could also be at fault if they failed to install proper lighting on the truck or to inspect the truck properly. If a defective part caused the accident, then the truck part manufacturer could also be responsible.
Needless to say, truck accidents require extensive investigation, so consulting with a knowledgeable attorney who has experience working on commercial truck accident cases is essential.
Compensation for a Truck Underride Accident Claim
If you were injured in a truck underride accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Vehicular damage and other property damage
- Pain and suffering
The state of Texas sets a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits. It’s best to start the claims process as soon as possible. Starting early means that if the trucking company and other insurers won’t agree to a fair settlement, you’ll have time to file a personal injury lawsuit and take your case to court.
How Loewy Law Firm Can Help
If you were the victim of an Austin truck underride accident, you need a seasoned personal injury attorney with Loewy Law Firm in your corner. We can review your case, identify the at-fault party or parties, and aggressively negotiate with the insurance companies for the settlement you deserve. We’re not afraid of taking your case to court if we have to. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.