New York City Truck Underride Accidents
Due to massive size and weight of tractor-trailers, any accidents that involve these large vehicles can be extremely deadly and severe for those who are involved. One common type of truck accident is an underride accident. This occurs when a vehicle is forced beneath the trailer of an 18-wheeler.
If you have been injured in an underride accident involving semitruck with trailer in tow, then it is vitally important for you to be aware of your options and to take the necessary steps to pursue money damages for the injuries you have suffered.
What Is An Underride Accident?
Semitrailers a metal underride guard that hangs down beneath the back of the trailer in order to prevent smaller vehicles from traveling beneath the trailer in the case of a rear-end accident. This bar is designed to withstand a certain amount of pressure upon impact in order to prevent serious damage and even death to drivers and passengers of other vehicles. When a rear-end accident occurs and the bar fails (or is missing), then the smaller vehicle may travel beneath the trailer, and depending on the speed of impact, it could travel all the way forward until it hits the truck’s rear wheels.
This is an extremely serious accident because the bottom of the trailer is generally the same height from the ground as the hood of the car. This means that the bottom of the trailer will scrape the top of the small vehicle all the way back until the vehicle stops. Sometimes, it can take off the entire top of a small car, which may prove fatal for the car driver and any passengers.
Underride accidents can also occur when a passenger vehicle goes under the semitrailer from the side, for example when the 18-wheeler switches lanes aggressively or when a car careens under the trailer while avoiding a collision with a different vehicle. Some tractor-trailers are equipped with side underride guards to prevent such accidents, but they are not mandatory. The trucking industry has resisted legislation to require side underride rails.
Why These Accidents Occur And What You Can Do
There have been studies conducted regarding why these guards fail, even when they are “built to specification,” and the results of some of these studies are shocking. One element that was discovered is the guard bars often fail even at very low speeds — far less than what the specifications designate in terms of their ability to withstand such circumstances.
Second, these bars often fail because the standards in place allow individual parts to be tested according to specification rather than as a part of a functioning system. Individual pieces may test well, yet as a system, the guard cannot withstand a fraction of what it is supposed to withstand. Finally, it has been determined that most trucks which are built to Canadian specifications as well as U.S. standards will withstand more than those which are built to U.S. standards only.
If you or your loved one has been severely injured or killed in an underride accident, then it is vitally important for you to speak with a skilled representative regarding the injuries that you have suffered as well as your options for the future. At Sakkas, Cahn & Weiss, LLP, we genuinely care about our clients, and you can be sure that we will stand by you and work with you to pursue the results that you need for the future. To schedule a free initial consultation, call 212-571-7171 or contact us online.