Guardrail Standards May Be Inadequate to Prevent Semi-Truck Underride AccidentsDowntown L.A. Law Group is a personal injury law firm with many years of experience handling a variety of personal injury claims, including truck accident claims. Our lawyers are ready to evaluate your underride truck accident claim and provide you with the information to start or continue your claim. If you would like to learn more about your right to pursue a claim and fight for your right to be compensated after you or your family were affected by an underride truck accident, do not hesitate to contact our law firm as soon as possible. Our experts at Downtown L.A. Law Group are ready to provide you with the legal assistance that you need to pursue a claim.
What is Truck Underguard rails?What is truck underguard? Underride occurs when vehicles get lodged underneath trucks after colliding with them. Why does this happen? When directly comparing trucks to normal passenger vehicles, you will find that the vehicles are completely mismatched – the bottom of the truck is not at the same as the bottom of the vehicle. This means that the first point of impact in a collision is not the vehicle’s crush/crumple zone – which is supposed to soften the impact of the accident.
What is the purpose of a truck underride guard?On the contrary, in most truck accidents, the impact occurs on the windshield of the car, which also impacts the head and upper body of the occupants of the vehicle crashing into the truck. This is called Passenger Compartment Intrusion (PCI). The impact to the head and upper body of the vehicle occupants can result in both deaths and permanent debilitating injuries.
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Statistics on Underride Truck AccidentsDuring a twenty-year period (1994 to 2014), approximately 1,500 people have been killed in side underride crashes. This number does not include rear underride crashes or any other type of truck accident. In 2015, more than 4,000 people died in accidents that involved commercial trucks. In 2017, there were almost 1,600 fatal truck accidents in which the initial impact occurred on the sides (left or right) and rear of the truck – the places where underguard is most common.
Rear Underride Guards Required by Federal LawIn 1996, the National Highway Safety Administration implemented regulations on the federal level that required underride guards to be installed on commercial trucks. Just a short two years later, in 1998, these regulations were significantly strengthened. The new regulations significantly increased the number of commercial trucks that are required to have rear underride guards. The regulations also set requirements on the weight, height, and strength of the rear underride guards. Even with these regulations, underride accidents continue to be dangerously common.
The Problem with Rear Underride GuardsAlthough rear underride guards are required by federal law, there are many problems with them. Most rear underride guards are completely ineffective at high speeds. There have also been instances where these rear guides simply fall off during a collision. In many cases, these guards are not installed properly. In other cases, responsible parties (such as truck owners and trucking companies) fail to address deteriorating guards. When any of this happens, truck accidents have an even higher risk of being fatal.
The Need for Side-Guards on TrucksA few years ago, there was an attempt at introducing legislation that would make side-guards a requirement for trucks. The Stop Underrides Act (2017) would have required guards on both the sides and fronts of trucks/trailers weighing more than 10,000 pounds. The act would have also updated the standards for rear underride guards. Unfortunately, the Stop Underrides Act never passed, leaving commercial vehicles without sideguard rails. Considering that so many guardrail truck accidents are side under ride accidents (that usually result from a t-bone collision), side underride guards seem to be essential in preventing underride injuries and deaths during truck accidents. a truck underride guard
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The Common Causes of Truck AccidentsWhy do truck accidents occur? Truck accidents can occur for a number of reasons, most of which are caused by negligence. For instance, the negligent actions of truck drivers (weaving in and out of traffic, slamming on the brakes, drunk driving, and fatigued driving, for example) could quickly cause truck accidents. The negligent actions of auto drivers (the ones more likely to suffer injuries) can also contribute to truck accidents. Without a doubt, truck d rivers and auto drivers can negligently contribute to dangerous truck accidents; however, other parties could also be found liable based on the ways that their negligent actions (and lack of actions) contributed to the accident or making the accident worse. When truck owners or trucking companies fail to ensure that that underride guards are properly installed, they are creating the risk of truck accidents resulting in underride. If you would like to learn more about the common causes of truck accidents and the different ways that parties could be held accountable, do not hesitate to contact the truck accident lawyers at Downtown L.A. Law Group.
Your Right to Pursue a Truck Accident ClaimDo you have the right to pursue a truck accident claim after being involved or affected by a truck accident? Your right to pursue a truck accident claims depends on the specific details surrounding your accident. If the truck accident that affected you and your family was a direct result of negligence, you will likely have grounds to pursue a claim. Was the truck accident caused by the negligent actions of the truck driver? Did the accident lead to underride due to the negligent actions of the truck owner or trucking company? If the underride truck accident that you and your family experienced was caused by negligence in any way, you likely have grounds to pursue a claim. You also likely have grounds to receive compensation. For more information about your right to sue after being affected by an underride truck accident, do not hesitate to contact our law firm at your earliest convenience.
Your Right to Recover CompensationDepending on the specific details of your claim, you might be eligible to recover compensation for all the damages resulting from the underride truck accident. The specific type and amount of compensation that you are eligible to receive is based on the details surrounding the accident; however, victims and their families could recover some of the following categories of compensation:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Property damage
- Punitive damages
What Should You Do after a Truck Accident?What should you do after being affected by a truck accident? There are a number of things that you should focus on immediately after being affected by a truck accident. For truck accident claims, evidence is essential to eventually reach a successful outcome. Because of that, it is absolutely important that you do everything within your reach to collect viable evidence. You should do all of the following:
- Take photographs of the scene of the accident
- Take photographs of any injuries sustained
- Seek medical attention
- Gather insurance information for all parties involved in the accident
- File a police report
- Report the accident to the insurance company
- Gather witness information
- Take note of surveillance cameras that might have captured the accident