Getting into an accident with a semi-truck or tractor-trailer can be extremely dangerous, regardless of the type of crash that you may be involved in. Underride accidents are one type of accident that you may be involved in and they can be devastating, or even fatal. You can learn more about these types of accidents below, but more importantly, you can schedule a free consultation with an experienced truck accident attorney directly from our website. If you have been hurt in any type of accident that someone else caused, then partnering with a legal professional is one of the most important strategic decisions that you can make in the early days or weeks following the incident in question.
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Trying to determine how to move forward after an underride accident can be overwhelming for anyone, and this is especially true as you are trying to come to terms with the reality of your injuries that you sustained in the crash. Filing an insurance claim is straightforward enough, but getting the money that you are rightfully owed is a different story entirely – insurance companies make money by paying as little on a claim as possible, and your claim will be no different, no matter how pleasant or compassionate the insurance adjuster assigned to your case may be.
Working with an attorney is the most effective way to get the money that you truly deserve, and since we operate on a contingency fee basis, you will not need to pay for our services if you do not win. Otherwise, you will not pay until we conclude our work together, and then as a percentage of your final award. We will gladly discuss these details, and many more, with you during our free initial consultation.
What Is an Underride Accident?
Simply put, an underride accident is when a smaller vehicle crashes into a tractor-trailer or 18-wheeler and is wedged underneath the vehicle. This can happen at a stop, or can happen while the truck is in motion. Regardless, the situation is extremely dangerous and can result in the bottom of the trailer shearing the roof of the vehicle off, or crushing the cab.
According to AskTheTrucker.com, “a total of 3,986 people died in large truck crashes in 2016. 17% of these deaths were truck occupants, 66 % were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, and 16 % were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists.97% of vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck in 2016 were occupants of the passenger vehicles.” Of these, an estimated half of these accidents resulted in an underride.
Stop Underrides Act
These types of accidents are so dangerous that it led to the introduction of the Stop Underride Act, with the hopes “To reduce the number of preventable deaths and injuries caused by underride crashes, to improve motor carrier and passenger motor vehicle safety, and for other purposes.” The bill was co-written by two mothers who have lost children in these dangerous types of accidents. The act hopes to enforce the installation of underride guards for many trucks and trailers, which can lead to significantly safer outcomes in the event of a collision with a truck or trailer.
However, whether or not this bill is passed, there will still be a threat of these types of accidents with vehicles that either do not fall under the required type of vehicle, or the driver chose to ignore the bill and continue to operate a trailer with a dangerous setup.
Filing an Insurance Claim After an Underride Accident
Filing an insurance claim after an underride accident is the same process and with any other accident claim, meaning that from the moment you contact the insurance company you can be certain that a team of people will be examining your case, looking for every possible reason to limit the amount that you receive as a settlement. They will spend the coming weeks investigating the details of the accident and the outcomes, ostensibly to determine how much to pay you, but in reality, they are looking for ways to poke holes in your claim.
Many people choose not to hire an attorney until after the claims investigation is concluded and the insurance company has made their initial offer, but at this point, your attorney will have missed out on valuable time that could have been used performing their own investigation and building a strong counter-offer and argument. In fact, we recommend hiring an attorney before you have even contacted the insurance company for the first time so that you can avoid having to handle ANY of the communications, and can instead use this important and valuable time to focus on your own personal needs, such as your work and your recovery.