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Houston Underride Crashes

Few things in life are scarier than finding yourself under a semi-truck. However, every year hundreds of people die and thousands are injured in these underride crashes. If you were injured or lost a loved one in one of these accidents, you deserve justice and accountability. The Houston truck accident attorneys at The Doan Law Firm are here to demand them.

What Is an Underride Crash?

An underride crash occurs when a smaller passenger vehicle slides underneath a tractor-trailer in between its wheels. These crashes can occur when a car slides underneath the rear or side of the trailer. The truck may run over the car that is lodged underneath it, resulting in fatalities and serious injuries.

How Common Are Underride Crashes

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), an average of 219 fatalities occurred each year from 2008 to 2017 due to underride crashes. This is less than 1% of all traffic fatalities that occurred during the ten-year period. However, the GAO also found that these numbers were likely underreported due to disparities in how police departments report these accidents in different states. Another analysis showed more than 400 people died in underride crashes in 2021.

How Serious Are Underride Crashes?

Underride crashes are often fatal or lead to catastrophic injuries. A smaller vehicle is lodged under a larger truck, so the truck often crushes the much smaller car, killing or maiming the victims inside. In some underride crashes, the top of the vehicle is sheared off, which can lead to amputations and fatalities.

Additionally, the point of impact in underride crashes is typically the hood of the car, so some safety features like airbags may not be activated. Head and neck injuries are also common. According to the GAO, injuries from underride crashes are “more likely to be severe.”

In these collisions, the occupants in the smaller vehicle are the ones who are seriously injured or killed. The truck driver may not even be aware that they have hit someone.

What Causes Underride Crashes?

There are many possible causes of underride crashes, including:

  • Lack of rear underride guards, which are intended to prevent underride crashes by preventing a car from getting under the truck and are required to be installed on commercial motor vehicles
  • Lack of side underride guards, which are recommended by the GAO but not required but could help prevent these accidents
  • Negligent drivers who take wide turns and crush vehicles in adjoining lanes or fail to monitor blind spots when changing lanes or merging
  • Trucking companies who hire unqualified drivers or who do not properly maintain their vehicles
  • Defective guards or broken tail lights or brake lights that make it hard to see trucks at night

An experienced car accident attorney in Houston can investigate your case to determine who is responsible and demand the compensation you need.

How Can an Attorney Help After a Houston Underride Crash?

An experienced truck accident attorney understands the physics involved in these types of accidents and how they happen. They can conduct an investigation into the crash and identify all of your legal rights and options. They can fight for the compensation you need for medical or funeral expenses, lost income, pain, suffering, and other losses you’ve experienced because of the negligence of others.

If you were injured or lost a loved one in an underride crash, the Houston truck accident lawyers at The Doan Law Firm are here to help. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case review.

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