Sharing our roads with giant commercial vehicles can be daunting even without knowing the statistics and risks. Simply seeing how large and imposing they are can make anyone nervous to drive next to them. While a healthy dose of respect for their size certainly won’t go amiss, it is still important to understand every possible way a truck accident can affect you and your loved ones. As morbid as it is, it is the best way to stay aware, which is the best way to avoid an accident as much as anyone can control.
When we think about truck accidents, we might picture roll-overs, explosions, or cars crushed like soda cans against medians. While these are all real risks to be aware of, underride accidents are some of the deadliest involving trucks – so deadly, in fact, that the federal government has even taken steps to prevent them. The bipartisan, bicameral Stop Underrides Act will require “the installation of rear, side, and front underride guards on certain trucks and trailers,” and the recent infrastructure bill put money towards research on the effectiveness of side guards. Ideally, this will help curb the number of deadly underride crashes each year.
What are the causes of underride accidents?
The most tragic aspect of an accident is its unpredictability. There is no way to guarantee immunity, even if you drive safely every single day. Another driver’s negligence or otherwise reckless behavior can still lead to a life-altering – or life-ending – event for all involved. When the other driver is operating a giant commercial vehicle, those dangers only increase.
An underride accident refers to collisions where a smaller passenger vehicle ends up literally underneath the commercial truck. More often than not, this happens because the truck is too close to the other car, either in the front or the back, and there isn’t enough time to stop. For example, when a truck runs a red light or a step sign, the passenger car can slide directly under the side of the tractor-trailer. In cases involving multi-car crashes, one vehicle can literally knock another vehicle into the side, rear, or front of a truck, leading to an underride collision.
Another cause of underride crashes is inclement weather. If a car is following too closely, or if poor weather (like rain or ice) causes a car to slide or hydroplane, it can easily end up under the truck.
What kinds of injuries are caused by underride accidents?
Hundreds of people die each year in underride crashes. Those who survive this kind of truck accident can suffer injuries that are catastrophic and life-altering, such as:
- Limb loss and/or traumatic amputation
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Burn injuries
- Nerve, tissue, and/or ligament damage
- Internal organ damage
- Broken or crushed bones
If you’re one of the many Kansas City residents who drive every day, you do not need to live in fear. However, you should still be aware of how the other drivers on the road pose a risk to you, in the hopes that you may be able to avoid a crash completely.
Protecting yourself before and after an underride truck accident in Missouri
When you have never been involved in a car or truck accident, it can be easy to gain an overinflated sense of bravado. Collisions become something that happens to others, not you. It may not even be a conscious thought process, but all it takes is one lapse of judgment for dire consequences.
Traffic fatalities are on the rise in Missouri, and have been for some time. Like other states, the pandemic hitting in 2020 meant fewer drivers on the road – and those drivers, unfortunately, took advantage. Speeding and recklessness increased country-wide, and our long, tempting strips of highway are no different. 2021 was even worse, simply because it was so difficult for officers to catch every single reckless driver out there.
So, as frightening as it may be, do not let yourself fall into the trap of assuming it cannot happen to you, because it very much can. Make sure your driving is as cautious as possible – especially around large commercial vehicles like trucks and tractor trailers. If you notice a truck riding too closely behind you, try to change lanes. If you see one driving toward a light that’s about to turn red, wait an extra beat to make sure it’s safe to move. Trucks need ample time and distance to stop.
If you end up injured in a catastrophic truck accident anyways, you may be reeling as you try to figure out what to do next. You are lucky to survive, but that does not mean you are lucky. Not only do you have to cope with the pain of any injuries from the collision, but the costs are certainly piling up as time goes on. Medical bills, missed work, and car repairs can be expensive enough without the other costs of life (like rent or mortgage), and you should not have to lose all your savings due to the reckless driving of someone else.
The best way to protect yourself is to hire a skilled, experienced Kansas City truck accident attorney who knows how complicated a truck accident case can be, and exactly how to un-complicate it to your advantage. All those aforementioned costs can be compensated and paid by the entity responsible for the collision, as long as you have representation on your side who can fight for it. Because trucks can be owned by corporations, private entities, and even the federal government, it’s important to choose an attorney carefully. Remember that, regardless of the pain they caused, no company wants to pay, and they will be fighting as hard as they can with their own attorneys to try and make sure they don’t. Do not let them take advantage of you while you’ve already lost so much.
Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys has been protecting the rights and finances of truck accident victims for years. We know how to build a strong case that sticks while keeping you informed every step of the way. Serving clients throughout Kansas and Missouri, we have offices in Kansas City, Olathe, Parkville, Overland Park, St. Joseph, and Lee’s Summit to help you wherever and whenever we can. Get started today, and call us at 816-471-5111 or use our contact form for help you can believe in.
We know that it can feel as if there’s no end in sight when you’re living with a serious injury. At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, we’re on your side from day one. We’ll not only fight for your best interests, but we’ll help you process and deal with your injury along the way. Our personal injury lawyers handle the insurance company for you, and make sure that you find the tools and resources you need to move forward. When you need an experienced, compassionate Kansas City personal injury lawyer, we answer the call.