When it comes to motor vehicle accidents, few are as horrifying as underrides. An underride accident occurs when a car or motorcycle slides partially or completely beneath the trailer attached to a semi-tuck during a collision. These accidents are devastating, often fatal. Safety features like airbags are completely ineffective in underrides due to the trailers shearing off the tops of passenger vehicles.
Underride accidents frequently result in catastrophic injuries, head and spine trauma, and wrongful deaths. Because of the size and weight of big rigs, it's uncommon for victims to walk away unharmed. The experienced NYC underride accident lawyers at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, have helped many injured clients and their families get just compensation for their losses. Call our team at (212) 986-7353 to find out how we can help you.
Underrides occur from one of three directions: from the back, the side, or the front of the semi-truck. Nearly half of fatal underride accidents occur when the passenger vehicle travels under the rear corner of the truck. These accidents typically happen because the car makes a sudden stop or merge, and the driver behind can’t slow down quickly enough. Other factors for underride accidents include:
- The truck lacked a rear bumper or protective guard (this is illegal in the entire U.S.).
- The underride guards were poorly designed or ineffective.
- The trailer lacked proper lights or reflective tape and was difficult to see.
- The truck driver failed to use warning cones when pulled over on the shoulder of a road.
Rear-end accidents. Many factors can contribute to a rear-end underride accident. One common cause is following too close to the vehicle in front, which gives the driver less time to react. Other causes include poor road conditions, heavy traffic, and driver distraction—anything that prevents a driver from being able to brake in time.
Rear-end underride accidents can have serious consequences, including severe injuries or even death. That's why it's essential to be aware of the potential causes and take steps to avoid them. If you're ever involved in an underride accident, seek medical attention immediately and contact an experienced personal injury attorney to help you protect your rights.
Side-end accidents. These underride accidents are caused when a vehicle collides with the side of a large truck, causing the smaller vehicle to slide underneath the trailer. These accidents are often deadly, as the truck's weight crushes the smaller vehicle. Side-ended back underride accidents are most likely to occur when a car makes a left turn at an intersection, and a smaller vehicle collides with the side of the truck. However, these accidents can also occur when a truck is changing lanes recklessly.
Federal law requires trucks to have rear underride guards. This has been a key regulation to prevent underrides as a result of rear-end collisions. However, not all rear guards are effective in preventing underrides.
Many trucks utilize older rear guards, which may be rusted or damaged. To get their rear guards approved, trucking companies must merely show that the guards can withstand a stationary pressure test. These tests do not do enough to show whether a guard can withstand the force of a motor vehicle hitting it full-on. There are many times when a rear guard fails in a crash at even moderate speeds.
Though rear guards can be helpful in preventing underrides at the rear of a semi-truck, there is no law mandating side guards to prevent underrides from taking place on the sides of a trailer. Though some trucking companies voluntarily put guards on the sides of their trailers, many do not. This can lead to a deadly accident if a motor vehicle ends up striking the side of a trailer.
The lifted nature of semi-trailers makes them a deadly hazard for any driver who happens to strike them. Victims of underride accidents are at risk of suffering horrific trauma, including:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Paralysis due to spinal cord trauma
- Broken bones
- Crush injuries and lacerations
- Back and neck injuries
In a serious underride crash, victims are lucky to come away with their lives. The harm caused by underrides is emotional, costly, and can be lifelong. Most injured victims will need long-term medical treatment, physical therapy, and assistive devices, placing an unwanted economic burden on the victim and loved ones. In catastrophic injury cases like these, it can be difficult to foresee the long-term medical and financial consequences.
An experienced underride accident attorney is well-equipped to do everything necessary to prove that the truck driver was at fault for your accident, which will open the door to financial compensation for you, the victim. Determining liability in underride accidents can be complex, as multiple factors are often at play, but a lot of the time, truck drivers are found to have made a mistake by merging on top of a car or driving while impaired or fatigued.
After an underride accident, it can be helpful to collect evidence as soon as possible. If you or a friend/family member are able to, take photos of the scene including of skid marks, vehicle damage, road signs, and poor road conditions in the area. Taking down witness contact information could also be useful. Skid marks can help determine the speed and braking of the vehicles involved, while vehicle damage can help determine the impact force and the direction that both vehicles were travelling when the collision occurred. Your lawyer can help you collect evidence, too, if need be.
When it is proven that the truck or trucking company as a whole was at fault in your accident, the victim becomes entitled to compensation for their injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. An experienced personal injury attorney can help the victim of an underride accident obtain the compensation they deserve whether that settlement comes swiftly after meditation or has to be pursued in court.
Even though these accidents can destroy a family’s emotional and financial well-being, big insurance providers often dispute these claims on behalf of their powerful trucking company clients. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident in New York, it is important to take immediate steps to protect your rights.
The experienced legal team at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, is here to help you get justice. We have recovered millions of dollars for truck accident victims and their families. Let us fight the trucking and insurance companies to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us at (212) 986-7353 to schedule a free consultation.
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The plaintiff asserted that the injuries suffered in the collision with the truck will permanently prevent her from working.
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Cliff Shapiro and another WRSMH attorney were able to settle a truck accident case for the amount of $3,000,000 on behalf of a 45 year old delivery man from Queens.
Victor Goldblum successfully represented a client who underwent three surgeries as the result of injuries sustained in a truck collision.
Plaintiff sustained multiple injuries when he was rear-ended by a tractor trailer while he was stopped at a traffic light.
Luigi Izzo obtained $2 million for a client who was injured after being rear-ended by a semi-tractor trailer.
Cliff Shapiro obtained a recovery for a 32-year-old male who was in the course of his employment with Access-A-Ride when his vehicle was struck by a flatbed tractor trailer.
WRSMH attorneys obtained a $1,800,000 settlement a year before trial for two plaintiffs who were injured after they were struck by a garbage truck.
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This motor vehicle accident involved a 43 year old woman who was rear-ended by a New York City Department of Sanitation truck.
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WRSMH attorneys Clifford Shapiro, Robert Bellinson, and another WRSMH attorney were able to obtain a settlement in the amount of $1,500,000 on behalf of a fifty-one year old librarian from Bronx County.
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The plaintiff, a 29 year old male, was injured when he was a back seat passenger of a car that was sideswiped by a commercial truck which caused the car to be pushed off of the road into a tree.
Our client, was stopped at red light when she was rear-ended by a truck. Victor Goldblum was able to obtain $1,500,000 for our client, who required surgery as a result of the crash.
Plaintiff sustained injuries to his knee and spine after his vehicle was rear-ended by a truck.
Our client in this case was a 37-year old man who was injured when his parked school bus was sideswiped by the defendants' commercial truck.
Philip Russotti and Brielle C. Goldfaden obtained a $1.3 million settlement after jury selection on a trial against the City of New York, the New York City Fire Department and an FDNY employee.
Philip Russotti, Brielle Goldfaden,William Hepner
Bryce Moses and another WRSMH attorney were able to obtain a settlement in the amount of $1,150,000 on behalf of our client, a 35-year-old man from Kings County.
Our client was a 60 year old man who was stopped at a red light when defendant, who was driving a mack truck while performing garbage collection in Brooklyn, struck him in the rear.
Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP attorney settled the case of our client being rear ended by an electrical contractor truck on the Van Wyck expressway.
Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP was able to obtain a settlement in the amount of $750,000 on behalf of our client, a forty year old man from Queens County.
The firm was able to obtain a settlement in the amount of $205,000 on behalf of our client, a thirty year old man from Kings County, NY.