If you or your loved one were injured in an underride truck accident in Washington DC, you need an experienced truck accident attorney at Regan Zambri Long to fight for your rights. Recovering compensation in an underride truck accident is a complex process. The trucking company may fight your claim and even deny responsibility. Insurance companies, who have legal teams of their own, are notorious for paying as little as possible to truck accident victims. You need a truck underride accident lawyer from Regan Zambri Long. Our personal injury attorneys have handled countless cases and are experts in federal trucking laws. Call today for a free consultation with our truck accident lawyers.
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Let our DC underride truck accident lawyers help you navigate the complexities of a legal claim following a truck collision. The experienced truck accident lawyers at Regan Zambri Long PLLC have decades of experience in personal injury law in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Recently, the firm obtained a settlement totaling in excess of $15.2 million for the death of a 35-year-old carpenter who was crushed by a dump truck.
A truck underride accident starts by a smaller vehicle crashing into the side or back of a large commercial truck, such as a tractor trailer. Since the trailer sits much higher off the ground than the passenger car (a car may only reach the wheels of a large truck), an empty space is created for the car to slide underneath the trailer. As the car moves underneath, the top of the car can be completely sheared off, resulting in catastrophic or fatal injuries.
With an uptick in online shopping and home deliveries of food, clothing, and household goods, truck accidents are on the rise. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) 4,119 people died in truck accidents in 2019 alone – a 31% increase from 2009. Because of legal and legislative implications, underride truck accidents are severely under reported. The Fatal Accident Reports (FARS) uncovered that the total number of underride truck accidents between 1994 and 2010 was reported to be 610. The real number in that 17-year period was 1894 underride accidents.
To understand why truck underride accidents are so dangerous, we must first look at the safety components of a car. Most cars are manufactured with crumple zones, also known as crush zones. Crumple zones are typically located in the front and rear of a vehicle and are designed to quite literally crumple in a collision. The goals of crumple zones are to reduce the initial impact of the crash and then redistribute the force of the crash before it reaches the passengers in the vehicle. This safety feature has saved hundreds of thousands of lives in motor vehicle accidents.
This is where the dangers of underride accidents come in. When an underride accident happens, the first point of contact the car has with the truck is usually the windshield. This means the crumple zones in the front and back of the car are not activated on impact, rendering them ineffective in protecting the passengers. With little to protect them, the underride crash is extremely dangerous and, oftentimes causes fatal accidents.
Both motorists and truck drivers have a responsibility to drive as safely as possible while sharing the road. Below are safety measures for both parties that will help all motorists get to their destinations as safely as possible:
Underride guards can be the difference between life or death in a truck accident. Underride guards are steel bars that hang from the backs and sides of large trucks to prevent a passenger vehicle from sliding underneath in a crash. Currently, there is little regulation in the trucking industry when it comes to underride guard protection. The Stop Underrides! Act of 2019 is legislation that would force trucking companies to manufacture trucks with rear underride guards. This video demonstrates the different outcomes of an accident with a truck that does not have underride protection versus an accident with a truck that does have underride protection.
Currently, many guards on tractor trailers, semis, and other commercial trucks are either improperly fitted on the truck or outdated. Underride guards can be installed too high on the truck, rendering them ineffective in stopping a car from sliding underneath the truck. Because of the lack of regulation, trucking companies may have outdated guards on their trucks, which lack the strength to stop a car from getting lodged underneath. Several congressional members believe that if trucking companies are not forced to install and upkeep underride protection guards, they will continue to try to cut costs and resist investing money in underride protection.
There are two types of underride truck accidents, which killed more than 850 people in 2019 alone:
This type of accident is when a car hits and slides under the rear of a commercial truck or tractor trailer. Rear underride crashes usually happen when the truck driver makes a sudden stop and the smaller vehicle cannot slow down in time. There are cases of passenger vehicles crashing into the rear of a parked truck, especially when the truck is parked on the side of a highway and isn’t displaying hazard or warning lights.
Inclement weather plays a huge role in rear underride truck accidents. Wet and icy roadways make it difficult for cars to come to a complete stop when trying to slow down. They can also cause passenger vehicles to slide and skid into the truck in front of them.
A side underride crash is when a car slides into the side of a large truck, like a tractor trailer or 18-wheeler. Side underride crashes can cause the car to be partially lodged underneath the truck, or fully engulfed and they account for the death of up to 200 people per year.
These types of crashes can happen with the low visibility of night time driving. In many cases, truck drivers will make a U-turn on a road they think is clear. Low visibility during the night doesn’t allow an oncoming motorist to see what the truck is doing and unfortunately, they often cannot stop in time. Side underride accidents also occur when truck drivers are turning or crossing in front of a car, assuming the driver sees them. Finally, merging onto highways can cause underride truck accidents. Trucks have large blind spots and may not see the driver in the lane next to them.
Other common causes of accidents that can lead to underride crashes are:
A: There are several parties who can be held liable for an underride truck accident, which is why having a Regan Zambri Long experienced truck accident attorney by your side will be extremely beneficial. We will investigate the following parties to determine who is at fault for the accident:
A: Your Regan Zambri Long underride truck collision lawyer will help secure damages for the following:
A: Truck drivers and trucking companies must follow both Washington DC trucking laws and federal regulations enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Washington DC trucking laws include:
Federal regulations for commercial trucks and drivers are:
A: An override truck accident is when a car is run over by a commercial truck. Common causes of override accidents are tailgating (when the truck is tailgating the car), brake failure, failure to yield, speeding, bad weather, and improper lane changing.
A: After determining which party or parties are liable for the collision, our truck accident lawyers will get to work on securing the highest compensation possible for your injuries and suffering. Before a claim is filed, we will work with medical personnel to determine the medical costs associated with your injuries from the accident. We will also evaluate the emotional distress you and your family had to go through as a result of the crash. Finally, we will focus on investigating the scene of the accident, including debris and statements from other drivers who witnessed the crash. We will obtain the police report, the truck driver’s employment history, and the trucking company’s records.
We will take care of any and all correspondence with insurance companies and the trucking company so you can focus on your recovery. Results matter to the personal injury lawyers at Regan Zambri Long and we will work tirelessly to secure you the compensation you deserve.
Call us today at 202-960-4596 for a free initial consultation.