Legal Options if Injured in Truck Override/Underride Accident
In an override accident, a tractor-trailer is unable to stop in time and drives over the car or several cars in front of it. When this happens, the roof of the passenger is often ripped off and catastrophic injuries can result. In you’ve been in an override accident, contact an attorney at Kisling, Nestico & Redick right away.
Underride and Override Accidents
Underride and override accidents involving semi-trucks can have devastating results for the drivers of passenger cars. These accidents can cause serious injuries, make everyday tasks more difficult, and affect the overall quality of your life. If you the victim of an override or underride accident, it’s important to call an experienced Ohio truck accident lawyer today. The truck accident attorneys at Kisling, Nestico & Redick can help you seek compensation for your injuries.
Contact us today at 1-800-HURT-NOW to discuss your case in a free and confidential consultation.
In an override accident, a tractor-trailer is unable to stop in time and drives over the car (or several cars) in front of it. When this happens, the roof of the passenger is often ripped off as the truck comes to a stop on top of the car. Considering a loaded eighteen-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, the results of this accident are grim. The heavy truck can crush the car, severely injuring or even killing the driver and/or passengers inside.
An underride accident occurs when a passenger car drives underneath a truck. The truck is not high enough for a passenger vehicle to fit under, so the car gets stuck in the truck’s undercarriage and often gets crushed. Similar to an override accident, anyone in the passenger vehicle could suffer from head and neck injuries, since the most damage is done to the top of the car.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have implemented regulations with the hope of eliminating these dangerous underride accidents. Semi-trucks are required to have reflective tape or red and white reflector strips affixed to the upper and lower quadrants on the back of the truck, as well as along the bottom of both sides. In their requirements, the FMCSA provides layouts for how the reflectors should be arranged on new trucks manufactured prior to December 1, 1993, and tractors built on or after July 1, 1997. The agency also ordered that trucks built before December 1, 1993, be retrofitted with reflective fixtures.
The FMCSA also requires certain tractor-trailers weighing 10,000 pounds or more to have underride guards installed. These are steel bars fitted to the bottom of a truck that prevents a passenger car from sliding underneath the much larger vehicle. While these guards have the potential to greatly reduce underride accidents, they need a bit more work, according to a recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) article. The IIHS believes that:
- Underride guards need to be stronger. Tests show that these guards likely need to be made stronger than the ones meeting current standards. In a crash test performed by IIHS, a Chevy Malibu struck an underride guard head-on at 35 miles per hour and broke it off. Although this guard had been manufactured according to U.S. strength standards, it could not withstand the impact. The resulting underride accident severely damaged the Malibu test car.
- Underride guards don’t fully protect the truck’s rear end. There are spots on either side of the guard that remain unprotected, therefore leaving a great chance of an underride accident. Cars don’t always hit a truck right in the middle of the trailer. Oftentimes they try to swerve or get over, and the impact happens at the truck’s unguarded rear corner. These areas may be small, but they can do as much damage as an impact made with the back of the trailer.
How Underride and Override Accidents Occur
Underride accidents are often caused by trucks that aren’t meeting federal standards. For example, an accident can occur if:
- The truck does not have the underride guardrails required on tractor-trailers
- The truck is not outfitted with the mandatory reflective tape or reflector strips
- The driver fails to signal or carefully check blind spots before switching lanes
- The truck’s brake lights are missing or broken
Truck drivers who don’t practice a duty of care on the road can cause an override accident by:
- Neglecting to adjust for inclement weather conditions
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failing to maintain a safe distance from other cars
Occasionally, the truck itself is the problem. A mechanical issue, faulty brakes, or a blown tire are all issues that could cause the driver to lose control of the truck, sending it crashing into cars on the road.
Legal Options After a Underride or Override Accident
If you’ve been hurt in an underride or override truck accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your medical and hospital bills, as well as any wages you lost while being off work because of your injuries. You can seek damages from:
- The truck driver. If the trucker was driving carelessly on the road and caused your accident, they are responsible for the damage done to your property as well as your injuries.
- The truck company. Trucking companies are responsible for the actions of the truckers they employ. If a trucker was negligent on the road, the truck company could be held responsible along with the driver. Additionally, if a trucking company failed to have reflective strips or underride guards installed on their fleet, they could be liable for neglecting their duty of care.
- The truck manufacturer. If one of the truck’s parts was installed incorrectly and failed on the highway, it could cause a great deal of damage and many injuries. Manufacturers must adhere to their own set of requirements, and when they don’t do their jobs properly, they can be held responsible for your accident.
Let Kisling, Nestico & Redick Help With Your Case
Underride and override accidents are some of the most catastrophic truck accidents you could be involved in. They cause a great deal of damage to cars, and can be fatal to their drivers and passengers. The attorneys at Kisling, Nestico & Redick understand how difficult recovery from these horrific events can be. We’re here to help you prepare your case and fight for the compensation you deserve, so you need only be concerned with getting your life back on track.