What Is An Underride Accident?

Truck Accidents | February 5, 2021

Crashes involving large commercial trucks often result in severe injuries for drivers and passengers in traditional vehicles. Semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles are higher off the ground than most other vehicles on the roadway. This can lead to devastating accidents if a vehicle lower to the ground impacts the larger truck. Unfortunately, smaller vehicles tend to “ride” underneath these larger trucks as a result of the momentum of the crash. These incidents are called underride accidents. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, contact our Chicago truck accident lawyers today.

Understanding an Underride Accident in Illinois

Underride accidents can be catastrophic due to the mechanics of the crashes themselves. While the state of Illinois does not publish exactly how many underride accidents occur each year, a recent NBC report shows that around 200 people lose their lives annually due to underride accidents across the country. Thousands of others are injured in these incidents.

Underride accidents can lead to devastating injuries, regardless of whether or not a large truck is moving or stationary at the time a crash occurs. When the force of a crash causes another vehicle to slide underneath the truck, we regularly see that the impact causes the upper portions of a passenger vehicle to be severely damaged or even completely sheared away. This will usually have devastating consequences for those inside the vehicle.

It is not uncommon for victims of underride accidents to sustain the following injuries:

  • Spinal cord injuries with paralysis
  • Other severe back or neck injury
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Open head wounds
  • Amputations
  • Crush injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Internal organ damage
  • Severe lacerations or puncture wounds

Unfortunately, survivors of underride accidents often end up being trapped inside their vehicles for long periods of time while awaiting extrication by emergency crews. This can compound an already traumatic situation by delaying necessary medical care for victims. Additionally, underride accident victims are likely to suffer from significant emotional and psychological trauma as a result of the crash. This can include feelings of fear, anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Most Common Causes of Underride accidents in Illinois

Underride accidents occur in a variety of ways. In some cases, the fault lies squarely on the shoulders of the drivers of passenger vehicles. However, there are times when truck drivers or trucking companies are liable for these incidents. Some of the most common causes of underride accidents in Illinois include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Large trucks stopping suddenly, leading to rear-end accidents
  • Truck drivers failing to pull off the roadway completely, leaving the tail end of the truck partially in the roadway
  • Truck drivers making illegal lane changes
  • Truck drivers failing to travel with the flow of traffic
  • Truck drivers failing to use emergency flashers when stopped on the side of the road
  • Truck drivers failing to use reflective triangles around the truck when stopped on the roadside
  • Vehicle failure causing a truck to break down in the middle of the roadway
  • Trucks with defective or faulty rear or side safety lighting
  • Trucks with dim, dirty, or faulty tail lights

Drivers of traditional vehicles can contribute to these incidents as well. This is particularly true if a driver is operating while impaired by alcohol or drugs, is operating while distracted or fatigued, is following a truck too closely, or is driving in the blind spot of a truck.

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