What Is a Side Underride Crash?

What Is a Side Underride Crash?A side underride crash is a common type of truck accident. A side underride crash is when a passenger car and an 18-wheeler truck collide, and the passenger car goes underneath the large truck. This happens because semi-trucks are more elevated than passenger vehicles, making it easier for passenger cars to partially fit directly underneath them. When a crash occurs, there is always a risk that a passenger vehicle may slide underneath the trailer portion of the semi-truck.

These types of truck accidents often result in severe and traumatic injuries, as well as fatalities among automobile drivers. Side underride accidents are one of the deadliest accidents between passenger vehicles and big rigs.

What causes side underride crashes?

Side underride collisions are generally the result of someone’s negligence. They are most likely to occur when one (or potential both drivers) are:

  • Running red lights/stop signs
  • Making a U-turn
  • Turning at a busy intersections
  • Speeding
  • Failing to follow or obey traffic laws
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Failing to use turn signals
  • Coming around a blind curve too quickly
  • Driving while distracted
  • Driving while under the influence
  • Falling asleep at the wheel
  • Driving aggressively

In some cases, defective parts or poor road conditions (such as roadways slick with rain or ice, or ones with low visibility) may contribute to a side underride crash.

Truckers should always proceed carefully when they are making a turn or crossing a busy intersection. In addition, truck drivers should always use their turn signals to notify other drivers about their next move. This ensures that everyone is aware of what the truck driver plans to do, and should reduce the chances of an underride crash.

Catastrophic injuries that result from side underride crashes

Side underride crashes are extremely dangerous. When a smaller automobile goes underneath any part of a big rig, the top part of their vehicle may be cut completely off. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), there were more than 200 deaths reported each year from 2008 to 2017 due to underride crashes. While this number of accidents is already alarming, the GAO also mentions that the number of fatalities recorded from these accidents are most likely unreported. Meaning, there is a good chance that there are actually way more fatalities and injuries from underride crashes than we think. Here are some of the catastrophic injuries that result from side underride accidents:

  • Skull fractures
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Brain bleeding
  • Internal organ damage
  • Crush injuries
  • Broken and fractured bones
  • Abdominal and chest injuries
  • Disfigurement
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Amputations
  • Coma
  • Paralysis
  • Neck fractures
  • Dental, facial, and eye injuries
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Decapitations
  • Death

Who is liable for a side underride accident?

Determining liability for a side underride accident is very important. Negligence usually plays a key factor in this type of accident, which can fall on various parties. While many people assume that the truck driver is automatically at fault, this is not always the case. Multiple parties may be liable for a side underride accident, including:

  • The truck driver
  • Manufacturer
  • Maintenance crew/ mechanic
  • Trailer loading crew
  • Road owner/ government agency
  • Trucking company/ employer
  • Other passenger vehicle drivers

Your Maryland truck accident lawyer will thoroughly investigate and determine what happened during your accident, who is responsible, and collect evidence to support your side of the story.

Are side underride guards required?

As of June 2023, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported that “federal regulations require tractor-trailers to have underride guards on their rears, but not on their sides.” In April 2023, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released the results of their study regarding the benefits of installing side underride guards on large trucks. However, the IIHS believes that the NHTSA underestimated the benefits and should reconsider their results. Unfortunately, until there is proof of better results showing how side underride guards can prevent catastrophic injuries and save lives, there may be no requirement for side underride guards.

If you or a loved one suffers severe injuries from a side underride crash, please contact Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A. at your earliest opportunity. Our Maryland truck accident attorneys are experienced, skilled, and knowledgeable when it comes to all types of truck accidents. Therefore, we know how to stand up and fight for the compensation you need and deserve to turn your life back around. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule your free case evaluation today at one of our many offices situated throughout the state of Maryland.