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What is an underride accident?

On Behalf of | Nov 19, 2023 | Car Accidents

An underride accident occurs when a smaller vehicle, such as a car or a motorcycle, collides with a larger vehicle, typically a tractor-trailer or a semi-truck, and ends up sliding underneath it.

This type of accident often involves the smaller vehicle becoming lodged beneath the rear or side of the larger vehicle. This may cause significant damage to the vehicle, along with major injuries for the people in that smaller vehicle. Underride accidents can happen in various scenarios, such as when a smaller vehicle rear-ends a larger truck, or when a smaller vehicle slides underneath the side of a truck during a collision.

Why are these accidents so likely to cause severe injuries?

These accidents are particularly dangerous due to the lack of protection for occupants in the smaller vehicle, as the structure of a larger vehicle often shears off the top of the smaller vehicle during an underride crash, causing catastrophic injuries or fatalities. Additionally, some safety systems are missed entirely. Small cars have crumple zones and bumpers to absorb some of the energy in a crash, for instance, but they have no effect if the impact point is in the middle of the windshield.

Another problem with a high impact point during underride collisions is that those in smaller vehicles are more likely to suffer head, neck, brain, spinal cord and chest injuries. If the impact point was lower, they’d be more likely to have leg and core injuries. But these higher injuries are more likely to be fatal.

Can these accidents be prevented?

To mitigate the risk of underride accidents, safety measures such as installing rear underride guards (also known as rear impact guards or underride guards) on trucks have been implemented to some degree. These guards are designed to keep smaller cars from sliding under the rear of a semi-truck during a collision, potentially preventing the underride or at least making injuries less severe. Some trucks even have guards along the side of the trailer, as well, although these are not yet mandatory.

However, there’s always the chance that someone could be seriously injured in a crash. Those who are need to know how to seek compensation for medical bills and other costs incurred by an at-fault party. Seeking legal guidance promptly after a crash is important, as a result.