When people think about truck accidents, most of them imagine a head-on or side-impact collision between a truck and a passenger vehicle. But underride collisions are just as common and can cause catastrophic and even fatal injuries to the driver and passenger inside the passenger car.
“In most commercial trucks in Philadelphia, the trailer is lifted to a height that allows the average passenger vehicle to squeeze between the road and underside of the truck’s trailer,” says our Philadelphia underride truck accident attorney at Dan Doyle Law Group.
Why are underride truck accidents so dangerous?
Regardless of whether the truck is moving or not, this type of collision can cause severe injuries to those inside the car that ended up beneath the truck’s trailer. More often than not, underride accidents occur when the post-collision momentum forces a passenger vehicle beneath the truck trailer, or the truck stops suddenly, which leaves the driver of the passenger vehicle insufficient time to react, and, as a result, the smaller vehicle “slides” under the side or rear of the truck.
Underride accidents are responsible for some of the most gruesome deaths since the top of the smaller vehicle can be sheared off as a result of that collision, which, in many cases, leaves the occupants of the smaller vehicle decapitated.
Oftentimes, underride crashes occur due to negligence on the part of truck drivers or trucking companies. Let’s discuss some of the most common causes and contributing factors in underride collisions.
Issues associated with underride guards
You have probably seen underride guards on most trucks in Pennsylvania. Those underride guards are long pieces of steel attached to the bottom of the truck’s trailer to prevent smaller vehicles from sliding underneath in the event of a crash. “The problem is that while underride guards are required by federal law on the back of trucks, there is no requirement to install those guards along the sides,” explains our experienced truck accident attorney.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has been advocating for fixing many issues associated with underride guards for years, while lawmakers all across the U.S. are urged by safety advocates to enforce more thorough testing and enhanced regulations regarding underride guards.
Other causes of underride truck accidents
While it may seem that underride guards are responsible for all underride collisions, it is not the case. There are many other contributory factors behind underride accidents, including but not limited to those caused by negligent acts on the part of truckers and trucking companies:
- A truck driver stops suddenly
- A truck driver performs an illegal lane change
- A truck driver fails to travel according to the flow of the traffic
- The truck has dim, dirty, or faulty taillights, which makes it impossible to warn other motorists of the truck driver’s intentions to stop, slow down, turn, or perform any other maneuver
- The truck has faulty or defective side safety lightings
- A truck driver fails to use emergency flashers and
- A truck driver fails to use reflective triangles when their truck is broken down
Federal law requires truck drivers and trucking companies to follow certain safety rules to prevent many types of truck accidents, including underride collisions. If an underride truck crash was caused by the truck driver’s failure to abide by traffic rules or federal safety regulations, a trucking company’s failure to conduct proper background checks or train its drivers, a trucking company’s failure to conduct routine inspection and maintenance of the vehicle, or any other type of negligence, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your losses and damages.
Time Limit To File A Philadelphia Underride Accident Lawsuit
Victims of underride truck accidents in Philadelphia need to be aware that they have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit in these cases. The Pennsylvania personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date injury occurs. This means that commercial truck crash victims have a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent driver or trucking company. Failing to file a lawsuit within this timeframe will result in the victim being unable to recover the compensation they are entitled to.
However, please understand that insurance carriers in these cases have different reporting deadlines. In many cases, the insurance carriers involved will require that the injury be reported within a day or two after the incident occurs. If a truck crash victim in Philadelphia fails to notify the insurance carrier quickly, it could result in their claim being delayed or even denied by the carrier.
Types Of Compensation Available For An Underride Accident In Philadelphia
There may be various types of compensation available to victims of underride accidents in Philadelphia. The reality is that no two commercial truck accidents are exactly alike, but they do often result in severe injuries for those involved. The total amount of compensation available in these cases will vary depending on the facts of the case, but our attorneys are often able to recover the following types of economic and non-economic compensation on behalf of our clients:
- Complete coverage of all medical bills related to the crash
- Lost income if a victim cannot work while they recover
- Compensation for physical therapy or rehabilitation
- Coverage of prescription medications or medical devices
- General household out-of-pocket expenses
- Property damage expenses
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of quality of life damages
In some cases, we may be able to secure punitive damages on behalf of our clients. Punitive damages are reserved for instances where the actions of the at-fault party were grossly negligent or intentional, and they are not awarded in every case.
Contact Our Philadelphia Underride Accident Attorneys Immediately
If you or somebody you love has been injured in an underride truck accident in Philadelphia, you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. At the Dan Doyle Law Group, our compassionate attorneys have extensive experience handling complex commercial truck accident claims in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania. We understand what it takes to investigate these cases, determine liability, and negotiate with all parties to reach a fair settlement on behalf of our clients. We will not back down from aggressive insurance carriers or trucking companies. When you need a Philadelphia underride accident attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation of your case.