How Common Are Vehicle Underride Accidents?

Motor vehicle accidents ranging from minor to catastrophic are a daily event on Virginia’s roadways. One of the most devastating and fatal types of collisions is a vehicle underride accident. An underride accident takes place when the front of a car becomes wedged underneath the back or side of a tractor-trailer. From 2008 to 2017, 219 people were killed in underride accidents. While they account for just 1% of all fatal traffic accidents, they almost always lead to the severe injury or death of those in the smaller vehicle. If you were injured or lost a loved one in an underride accident, the Virginia Beach truck accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help. Call us today to schedule a free case review.  

What Causes Underride Accidents?

An underride accident occurs when a smaller passenger vehicle, like a standard-size car or a pick-up truck, crashes into a tractor-trailer and becomes trapped or lodged under it. This gut-wrenching scenario can take place for multiple reasons, including:

  • Unexpected Stops: When an emergency situation or traffic conditions cause a truck driver to brake unexpectedly, the vehicle directly behind it might not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision, causing the smaller vehicle to slide underneath the back of the truck. 
  • Limited Visibility: Inclement weather, darkness, and other periods of limited visibility can make it difficult for drivers to see one another, increasing the chances of vehicle underride accidents.   
  • Driver Fatigue or Distraction: Fatigued drivers who are zoned out or nodding off at the wheel and distracted drivers who are eating or looking at their cell phones are a leading cause of serious traffic accidents. If a driver is too tired or too distracted to notice a tractor-trailer changing lanes or slowing down, a potentially fatal underride accident can occur.
  • Brake Failure: A brake failure in a tractor-trailer or a passenger vehicle could cause either to be unable to stop in time to prevent an accident. 
  • Following Too Closely: When a driver follows too close to a tractor-trailer, their reaction time is considerably reduced. If the leading truck should slow down or stop unexpectedly, the car directly behind is unlikely to have enough time to come to a complete stop.  

What Injuries Are Caused by Underride Accidents?

Underride accidents often leave victims with severe, life-changing injuries. Some injuries commonly sustained in underride accidents are:

  • Brain and Head Trauma: The violent impact force generated by a vehicle underride accident can result in a concussion and other traumatic brain injuries. TBIs can lead to memory loss, cognitive impairments, and even lifelong disabilities.
  • Internal Injuries: Blunt force injuries caused by an underride accident often include ruptured, lacerated, or otherwise damaged internal organs, broken or fractured ribs, and internal bleeding 
  • Crush Injuries: Passengers in the smaller vehicle could endure serious crush injuries, which could, in turn, lead to the loss of the affected limb’s function or a traumatic or surgical amputation
  • Spinal Cord Damage: The force of an underride accident can cause irreparable damage to the spinal cord, which could result in permanent mobility problems or paralysis  
  • Emotional Trauma: Underride accident victims commonly experience depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and other psychological conditions arising from the traumatic event

How Can a Virginia Beach Truck Accident Attorney Help Me?

If you were injured in an underride accident through no fault of your own, you deserve quality legal representation. Underride accident victims are often left with significant medical bills, extensive lost earnings, as well as damages arising from their pain and suffering. Our skilled Virginia Beach truck accident attorneys can assist you with:  

  • Liability Issues: Establishing liability for an underride accident can be difficult. Our attorneys will thoroughly investigate your accident in order to identify all liable parties, which may include the truck operator, their employer, or a parts manufacturer.  
  • Negotiate with the Insurance Company: Since underride accidents tend to be high-value claims, the insurance company is going to try very hard to settle your claim for less than what it is worth. Our attorneys will negotiate with them on your behalf to ensure you receive an equitable settlement.
  • Expert Witnesses: We will consult with expert witnesses, like medical professionals and accident reconstruction experts, to build strong cases and prove the severity of your injuries.
  • Legal Expertise: Numerous federal and state trucking regulations play a critical role in underride cases. With more than 70 combined years of experience handling truck accident cases, we know which laws will have a bearing on the outcome and how to use them to your advantage.  
  • The Compensation You Deserve: Underride accidents typically involve long-term care and exorbitant medical expenses. Our attorneys know the most effective methods of pursuing maximum financial compensation that will fully cover your accident-related damages and ensure your future financial security. 

Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

If you are considering taking legal action after being injured in a vehicle underride accident caused by someone else’s negligence, reach out to the qualified Virginia Beach truck accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp as soon as possible. We can review the facts of the accident, explain your rights, address your concerns, and help you build a compelling claim for damages. Our experience and diligence are what helped us achieve a $3.5 million settlement for the wrongful death of a man who was killed when a flatbed truck slammed into his vehicle. You can schedule a free case evaluation by calling (833) 997-1774 or through our online contact form. To better serve our clients, we have offices in Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Norfolk, and Hampton.