Commercial trucks have much higher clearance than passenger vehicles. The greater height can cause smaller vehicles to slide underneath the trailer during crashes from the side or the rear. Even lifted trucks could face this risk. These accidents are especially gruesome because they lead to the removal of the vehicle’s top half.
The Most Common Injuries Caused By Underride Truck Accidents
When vehicles underride a truck, the cars might not deploy the usual safety measures in place for regular collisions. Consequently, these types of truck accidents often lead to decapitations. Safety agencies have lobbied for stronger barriers on the back end of trucks, but there are no standard regulations regarding strength. There are also rarely requirements to put barriers along the sides. When people survive underriding injuries, here are some common injuries.
Lacerations or Impalement
Sharp objects involved in the crash can cause lacerations or impalements to victims. Often, these injuries will be visible externally but could also damage internal organs. In some cases of cyclists underriding large trucks, they face similar dangers when dragged under the vehicle.
Loss of Limb
Crushing injuries and severe lacerations can cause amputations, either partial or complete. These are often a direct result of the underride impact at high speeds. Dismemberment could occur at the scene of the accident or doctors could later determine they cannot save the limb despite their best efforts.
The brain is a delicate organ and even when there are no visible injuries, sustaining a concussion or other head trauma is possible. Even if there wasn’t enough force to break your skull, the impact could still lead to problems. Some people suffer permanent brain damage, ranging from personality changes to being in a coma.
The severity of burns depends on the type of fuel involved in the accident, but victims will often sustain severe burns to their bodies from contact with hot liquids or flames. This happens when vehicles catch fire upon landing underneath trucks. The injuries suffered by passengers can be life-changing and treatment costs could drastically affect your finances.
Fractures and Broken Bones
The severity of these injuries depends on the following:
- The type of fracture
- Where the bones are broken
- The treatment received at the scene
Sometimes broken bones can be reduced through physical manipulation, while others might require surgery to heal properly. Some victims face multiple surgeries or rehabilitation to recover from their injuries.
While physical injuries are the most common, victims can also face emotional distress because of their trauma. People who have lost loved ones might need counseling to help them through their grief. Other people might have post-traumatic stress disorder and need professional help to live normal lives.
Damages an Experienced Attorney Might Recover on Your Behalf
Underride accidents typically lead to severe injuries and totaled vehicles. Consequently, damages from trucking accidents tend to be higher than some other types of personal injury claims. Consider the following.
Loss of Life
Eligible family members could file a wrongful death suit if someone died during the crash. This suit is typically brought by close family members, such as spouses or children. Eligibility requirements may vary across state lines.
Treating your injuries might involve outpatient appointments to manage lacerations until they heal or inpatient care at a hospital if you suffer more severe injuries. Your attorney will add the cost of staying in the hospital to the total damages. In some states, damages include the victim’s lost wages and permanent impairments.
Vehicle Repair or Replacement
Your vehicle will likely be totaled in an underride collision, so your claim will likely include the cost of replacing it. For repairs, the total amount will depend on how much damage was caused to the car and what type of repairs were. Replacement costs typically depend on the market value of the vehicle.
Loss of Income
If you suffered from a debilitating injury, you might not be able to work until you recover. Damages for loss of income typically extend for several years or the time it takes for you to recover, up to a maximum recovery amount.
People who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder or other emotional trauma because of their accident could also file a claim. These damages typically involve the cost of treatment and any other out-of-pocket expenses.
How To Find an Experienced Underride Truck Accident Lawyer
The commercial aspect of trucking accidents introduces complexities not present in passenger vehicle accidents. There is also much more at stake. So, how can you find a qualified attorney to take on the case?
Ask Your Doctor or Hospital
If you were recently in an accident and are contemplating filing a personal injury claim, ask your doctor or hospital to recommend an experienced attorney. They might have experience with trucking accidents and know who has the best record of getting results for clients.
Ask Family & Friends
Another way to find the right lawyer is by asking your friends and family for recommendations. These individuals might be able to recommend someone who got a good result in their own case or someone they’ve heard about from other members of the community.
There are several ways to find a good lawyer on the internet. Many attorneys have a robust online presence, including websites, articles and blog posts. You can read through these to see how they explain various legal topics. Additionally, look for attorney directories that rank lawyers according to past results and client feedback. Finally, verify the firm’s credentials by searching for relevant legal organizations or ratings.
What To Look for in a Good Underride Truck Accident Lawyer
Knowing where to look for attorneys is helpful, but you can only find a good attorney if you know what to look for. Here are some essential qualities that can help you determine a suitable fit for your case:
- Experience: Ideally, the attorney brings 10 years or more of experience handling personal injury cases, with several trucker accidents under his or her belt.
- Track Record: Previous successes do not predict future success, but a strong record of winning improves the odds of your case also being a success.
- Customer Service: Trucking accidents are stressful, so the last thing you need is to feel like just another case number or file at a law office.
- Resources: You typically do not pay upfront for personal injury cases, so the law office must have the resources to undertake the initial costs of handling the case.
- Fees: Most personal injury attorneys use a contingency fee structure, but be sure to clarify the charges and expenses they plan to reclaim when they win.
- Licensing: If your case involves multiple states due to location, insurance or company headquarters, you must double-check where your attorney can practice.
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries from an underride truck accident, it is crucial to seek medical attention and follow the guidelines closely. Additionally, contact an experienced lawyer who focuses on these types of crashes. They can help determine if there was any negligence that caused the crash and fight for damages on your behalf.
Our team at Siegfried and Jensen has done just that for 30 years. Our commitment to serving our clients has helped us recover more than $1 billion in compensation. What can we achieve for you? Book your free case review to find out.