An underride truck accident occurs when a passenger car collides with a large truck and the car gets wedged beneath the truck due to the height of the trailer. The mechanics of these truck accidents often result in severe, catastrophic and fatal injuries to the occupants of the smaller vehicle.
Injuries Frequently Suffered in Underride Truck Accidents
Underride accidents can occur if a large truck runs over a smaller vehicle or a passenger car crashes into the rear or side of a truck’s trailer. If the smaller vehicle slides or becomes wedged beneath the trailer, it is an underride accident. These collisions can be especially devastating for the occupants of the smaller car due to the truck or trailer penetrating the cab of the vehicle.
A trailer crashing through the windshield or the top of a smaller car could cause injuries that are life-threatening to the vehicle’s occupants, such as:
- Head and brain injuries: the bottom of a tractor-trailer is often at the same height as a passenger vehicle occupant’s head. An impact between the two could result in severe traumatic brain injuries. These injuries can lead to long-term or permanent brain damage, along with physical, emotional and cognitive issues.
- Spinal cord injuries: a car occupant’s neck, back or spine could be impacted in an underride crash if the accident inflicts blunt force trauma against these areas of the body. Common injuries include whiplash, lower back injuries, disk injuries, spinal cord compression, crush injuries and paralysis.
- Chest and abdominal injuries: if a victim’s chest or midsection gets impacted in the accident, he or she could suffer chest, abdominal or internal injuries. This includes a punctured lung, broken ribs, thoracic injuries, organ damage and internal bleeding.
- Amputations: catastrophic underride truck accidents can result in amputations or losses of limbs. This could result from trauma incurred in the crash or an amputation that was medically required later due to the extent of the injury or health complications.
- Fatalities: sadly, fatal injuries and wrongful death are common in underride trucking accidents. These crashes have a high mortality rate due to the severe circumstances. For example, decapitations are a possibility due to the bed of the truck cutting through the smaller car at head level.
Underride truck accidents can inflict significant emotional and psychological injuries, as well. Mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic anxiety are common after such a severe crash. Injuries suffered by victims in an underride accident can vary depending on the speed and angle of impact, the vehicle safety features used, and other factors.
Recovering Compensation for an Underride Truck Accident in New Mexico
An underride accident is one of the most dangerous truck accident scenarios possible. For this reason, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted laws requiring all large trucks to have rear-impact guards or other devices that protect the rear end of a trailer and prevent smaller cars from riding underneath them. Missing rear-impact guards increase the risk of deadly underride accidents.
If a trucking company or truck owner negligently failed to install the required safety equipment, this party could be held liable for a subsequent underride accident. A truck company may also be held vicariously responsible for the actions and behaviors of a negligent truck driver, such as a drunk or distracted driver. Holding one or more parties liable can help you pay for the expenses associated with a catastrophic injury.
If you or a loved one was injured in a recent underride truck accident, seek help from the New Mexico semi-truck accident lawyers at The Fine Law Firm. We are available 24/7 and offer free case consultations.