Who's at Fault in Underride Accidents in Missouri? Get the Compensation You Deserve
A person qualifies for compensation when they get injured or lose a family member in an underride truck accident due to another person's negligence.
Underride accidents are dangerous and often fatal. This is why drivers should always be alert when nearing large commercial vehicles such as trucks and tractor-trailers. Trucking companies and truck drivers are responsible for other road users since they face minimal danger in such an accident.
At Powell Law Firm, our truck accident attorneys have years of experience helping victims get the financial compensation they deserve after surviving truck accidents. Contact us at (314) 470-1374 for a free consultation.
How Do Underride Accidents Happen?
Several situations lead to underride truck accidents. Here are a few of them:
Freeway Entry or Exit
Large trucks don't immediately speed up or slow down. This is the reason why they generally move slower than other cars when entering or exiting a freeway.
The ability of the driver of a smaller vehicle to see a large truck influences underride truck accidents. This is why it is dangerous for anyone to drive in the dark, especially if the truck has dim brake lights or if they are dirty or positioned closely together.
Broken-down trucks should pull into the right shoulder or lane of the road to avoid accidents. A truck driver that fails to put up reflective triangles, use a flare, or switch on hazard lights after their trucks break down, makes it difficult for other drivers to see it on the road. Avoiding a truck accident may be too late by the time another driver finally sees the stationary truck.
Adjusting to Bright Lights
The bright lights of a night business or gas station can blind drivers of other vehicles for a moment. This is why it is a mistake for a truck driver to assume that others will see them on the road, especially when near these establishments. A smaller vehicle that fails to see a truck slow down, stop, make a turn, or back up across the road might end up in an underride collision with it.
Seeing a truck ahead in adverse weather conditions can be a challenge. This is worse if the person has to drive when it is snowing or on ice. Failing to adjust driving behavior accordingly can lead to a truck accident. Truck drivers and drivers of passenger vehicles should be more responsible on the road in such conditions.
Types of Underride Truck Accidents
There are two types of underride truck accidents. These are rear and side underride accidents.
A rear underride truck accident describes when a typical car hits a large truck from behind.
Since a semi-truck is taller than the average passenger vehicle, the car ends up underneath the trailer, ripping off its top.
A side underside accident happens when a smaller car goes under a truck from the side instead of the back. These are common at intersections when trucks are turning.
Common Injuries Sustained in an Underride Truck Accident
Statistics show that most occupants in the smaller vehicle don't survive an underride truck accident. Those who survive sustain catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord damage, paralysis, brain trauma, damage to internal organs, loss of limbs, broken bones, etc.
These survivors often require rehabilitation and long-term care to help them return to their daily activities. However, most end up with a permanent disability or disfiguring that will alter their daily activities.
Additionally, they develop different types of post-traumatic stress that may lead to anxiety or depression. Such victims require counseling together with physical treatment to help them fully recover from the truck accident.
Apart from current medical bills, victims should also consider the impact these injuries will have on their future finances when seeking fair compensation for their injuries.
Why Should You Let a Lawyer Handle Your Truck Accident Case?
Trying to handle paperwork and insurance claims immediately after a car accident is challenging, especially if you sustained injuries and need to recover. Victims of underride accidents shouldn't attempt to complete these activities themselves. Many legal and insurance complexities can frustrate amateurs. Even if the victim successfully files a claim, they may not be able to get full and fair compensation.
Always let an experienced lawyer handle everything concerning compensation for serious injuries sustained in truck accidents. They have an expansive knowledge of the laws surrounding such cases and have the necessary experience to avoid mistakes when filing claims.
Why Choose Powell Law Firm?
Powell Law has several highly skilled attorneys who help victims with their underride trucking accident cases. Powell Law Firm can also help with questions such as, "Who's at fault in Wide Turn Accidents in Missouri?" and "Who's at fault in Blind Spot Truck Accidents in Missouri?"
The firm understands the overwhelming nature of the case-building process and helps clients overcome them. This is why anyone can contact our St Louis car accident lawyers for a free case review.
Our lawyers have helped individuals and families recover millions in compensation after sustaining near-fatal injuries in trucking accidents.
Laws and Regulations that Help Prevent Underride Accidents
Authorities in Missouri created the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 49 Part 393 to check drivers' actions. The laws hold trucking companies to a high safety standard trying to prevent underride accidents as much as possible. It includes the following:
Missouri law requires trucks to have working brakes and tail lights. The color of these lights should be red and not amber. Additionally, the truck's license plate must light up to enable other drivers to see them. Commercial vehicles with extra-long loads sticking out behind need markings with a red light at the end.
Aside from the red lights, trucks are supposed to have markings along the side. The markings should also be on the upper and lower rear areas.
Rear and Side Underride Guards
The CFR gives detailed specifications for rear guards, including the width, height, and many other requirements. However, the side guards are not compulsory.
Safety markings and device requirements vary according to the manufacturing year of the truck. All trucking companies and their employees are supposed to know these laws like the back of their hands. Additionally, these companies might have safety protocols that they enforce together with the federal codes.
Types of Compensation Available for Victims of Underride Crashes
How much a victim gets as compensation after they survive a crash involving a truck varies primarily by the severity of their injuries. There are additional factors that also influence this payment. All this is with the assumption that the victim is indeed eligible for compensation.
Compensation is often to help take care of the following:
Current and future medical bills for treating injuries
Pain and emotional trauma developed from the accident
Cost of long-term care
Physical and psychological rehabilitation
Lost wages and disrupted potential for future earnings
Relatives of a victim that dies in an underride truck accident can also file a lawsuit for wrongful death. The compensation will help cover expenses for their funeral and burial, including the loss of earning potential and companionship.
Building Your Truck Accident Case
Attorneys at Powell Law Firm use every resource available to help victims build a strong compensation case.
The process involves checking the following factors:
Investigating the trucking company to see if they violate any laws concerning lights, markings, or rear guards.
Contacting the trucker's vehicle maintenance company to review maintenance records.
Check the trucking company's internal policies.
Analyze medical records of the drivers to determine the nature of injuries during accident reconstruction.
Confirm the damage to all vehicles to help in determining liability.
Our attorneys use a detailed approach to understand your situation and build strong cases for full compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about filing compensation claims from an underride truck accident:
How Much Time Do I Have for Filing a Claim?
According to the Missouri Code Section 516.120, a truck accident victim has five years to file a personal injury claim. However, the best thing is to begin the process as soon as possible to keep details fresh. This also supports better evidence-gathering.
What If I Don't Have Money to Hire an Attorney?
Attorneys at our firm take up cases on a contingency fee. This means clients don't pay anything until we secure their compensation. The fee is often a percentage of whatever they receive.
Do I Still Have a Case If I Am at Fault for the Accident?
Laws in Missouri follow the rule of pure comparative negligence. It means that an individual can still get compensation for a driver's negligence even if they are partially at fault for the accident.
However, the payment will reduce according to the percentage of their fault determined. Powell Law attorneys can help you build a strong case in most scenarios to help you get the highest compensation available.
Contact a Powell Law Firm Accident Attorney After a St. Louis Underride Accident
Injuries from an underride accident are often life-changing. This is why taking up such cases means more to our firm. The goal is to establish a relationship with the client. This helps the attorney understand your pain and how we can help alleviate it as much as possible.
Call us at (314) 470-1374 to schedule a free consultation today.