Austin Underride Accident Attorneys
An underride accident occurs when a car slides under the trailer of a large truck, often sheering off the entire top of the car, and seriously injuring, if not killing, the occupants inside. These accidents can occur in seconds and are usually catastrophic. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), there is an average of 219 reported underride fatalities each year, though GAO believes these accidents are likely underreported.
If you or a loved one has been in an underride accident, the skilled truck accident attorneys at Gibson Hill Personal Injury are here to help you. You may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If your loved one has tragically died as the result of an underride truck accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Don’t wait a moment longer to get the help you need. To learn more about your legal options, you can call us at (737) 249-6300 to schedule a 100% free consultation.
Why Do I Need an Underride Truck Accident Attorney?
Trucks are commercial vehicles that are subject to complicated state and federal regulations. Some of these regulations include maintenance schedules, driver training requirements, and special truck speed limits. Trucks present a serious danger on the road due to their size and weight, and these regulations largely exist to minimize the risk of truck accidents.
If a truck driver or company broke any rules or regulations that can be linked to your underride truck accident, you may be able to successfully recover compensation. However, it may not be immediately apparent that a regulation was not followed. A skilled truck accident attorney will have detailed knowledge of trucking industry regulations, and will have the resources to conduct a full investigation into your accident.
You should never accept any money from a trucking company without consulting an attorney. Trucking companies and their insurance providers sometimes offer accident victims a settlement in exchange for the victim dropping their insurance claim or lawsuit. Accepting a settlement may ultimately be the right choice for you, but an experienced truck accident attorney will know whether or not you’re getting a good deal. Your attorney may be able to negotiate the settlement higher, or recommend that you take your case to trial.
Why Should I Choose Gibson Hill Personal Injury?
At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, we understand the serious impact an underride truck accident can have on you and your family. Our attorneys are a team of highly experienced truck accident attorneys who are ready to fight for you. We have helped many accident victims recover compensation that helps them recover and heal, and we are ready to help you. Our firm prioritizes attorney-client relationships that are built on trust, honesty, and respect, and we treat our clients like family.
In order to make legal representation financially accessible, we work on a contingency-fee basis. This means that we only get paid if you win your case. At the end of your case, we will take a percentage of your overall settlement or verdict. If you don’t win, then you don’t owe us any money at all. We also offer a 100% free consultation in which you can tell us about your accident, ask questions, and we’ll give you an idea of your legal options.
Underride Truck Accidents
An underride collision occurs when a smaller vehicle, such as a passenger vehicle, pick-up, or van collides with a truck and slides underneath the rear or side of the truck’s undercarriage. The truck’s undercarriage will often actually enter the smaller vehicle through its windshield. Underride truck accidents can cause severe injury, and are often fatal accidents.
In order to help prevent underride accidents, trucks are required to have rear underride rail guards. Side and front underride rail guards are not technically required by federal law, although there have been recent efforts in Congress to pass a law requiring underride guards on the sides and fronts of trucks.
Common Causes of Underride Accidents
An underride accident can happen in any situation in which a truck collides with a passenger vehicle that is small enough to travel under the truck’s undercarriage. These are a few of the factors that can make an underride accident more likely:
- Poorly maintained underride rail guards. All trucks are required to have rear underride rail guards, and trucking companies are required to conduct regular inspections and maintenance to ensure that the rail guards are working properly. If a rail guard fails, the rail guard may have been unmaintained or defective.
- Illegal stopping or parking. If a truck is parked or stopped illegally, other drivers on the road may not be able to stop quickly enough to avoid hitting them. While all drivers have a responsibility to leave appropriate stopping distance between them and the car in front, drivers are not expected to anticipate an illegally stopped or parked truck.
- A truck driving below the speed limit. Sometimes, trucks are forced to drive significantly under the speed limit due to engine or mechanical trouble. Although drivers should leave enough stopping distance to be able to react if a vehicle in front suddenly slows down, there are situations in which this is impossible. For example, if a truck is driving very slowly on a blind curve, a driver who is driving an appropriate speed may not be able to stop in time.
- Truck’s lack of working tail/brake lights. Like all vehicles on the road, trucks are required to have working tail and brake lights. However, the mechanisms that link a trailer’s tail lights to the truck cab’s braking systems are more complicated than those of a passenger vehicle and may be more likely to fail. If driving in the dark, rain, fog, or other inclement conditions, a driver’s inability to detect a truck’s tail lights can cause an accident.
- When a truck backs into a car behind them. Truck drivers have limited visibility of their surroundings, especially those that are directly behind them. Because of this, truck drivers should avoid backing up unless they are 100% sure there is no one behind them. However, some truck drivers back up unsafely and cause underride accidents. This may happen, for example, if a truck accidentally travels into an intersection and needs to back up so that cars can pass through the intersection.
These are some other factors that can lead to any kind of truck accident, including underride accidents:
- Driver fatigue
- Distracted driving
- Intoxicated driving
- Insufficient training
- Mechanical failures
- Driver error
How Much Money Is My Case Worth?
Your ultimate amount of compensation depends on the circumstances of your accident. In general, those with higher medical bills and more severe injuries will be eligible for higher compensation. Truck accident victims are usually able to ask for compensation for two kinds of damages: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are your medical bills, property damage, and lost wages if your injuries have made you unable to work. In order to prove that you have suffered these damages, it is important to keep good records of medical bills, as well as any other accident-related expenses. Your attorney will help you organize these documents and will help you obtain any missing materials.
After your accident, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Some injuries commonly caused by underride accidents, especially traumatic brain injuries, may not have symptoms that are immediately apparent to you. It’s also very important that you strictly follow your doctor’s recommendations and attend any necessary follow-up appointments. If you fail to do so, the opposing party may argue that you exacerbated your condition by not following medical advice.
Non-economic damages are any pain, suffering, and emotional distress you have as a result of your accident. It can be difficult to put an exact dollar amount on non-economic damages, and the two parties in a truck accident case often disagree about the proper amount of non-economic damages. One method of estimating non-economic damages is multiplying the total cost of your medical bills by a number from 1-5. A number “1” would reflect a less severe injury while number “5” would be the most severe injury.
Consider this example: you broke multiple bones in your accident. You needed surgery and will require extensive rehabilitation, and your medical bills will be around $50,000. If this injury was considered a “4”, you could be eligible for around $200,000 of non-economic damage compensation.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If your loved one has tragically died after an underride truck accident, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The spouse, parent, or child of the deceased is usually eligible to file these lawsuits. You can ask for compensation for these damages:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Your loved one’s medical bills
- Your loved one’s lost wages/lost future income, especially if you were financially dependent on your loved one
- Your loved one’s pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium (loss of benefits of relationship with loved one)
Contact an Underride Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has been involved in an underride truck accident, you may be feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and unsure of next steps. Gibson Hill Personal Injury is here to handle all aspects of your legal case while you rest and recover. We will use every legal tool available to fight for you.
To schedule your free consultation, call our truck accident attorneys today at (737) 249-6300.