Santa Barbara Underride Accident Lawyers
Few vehicle accidents are more horrific or destructive than underrides. In these crashes, a smaller vehicle, like a sedan, strikes the side or rear of a commercial tractor-trailer with such force that it goes under the trailer. This can sheer off the windshield and roof of the car, or collapse it and crush the people inside. The driver and passengers in the smaller vehicle often suffer serious or fatal injuries.
If commercial trucks and trailers are not properly maintained, or are incorrectly loaded, the risk of an underride accident increases. In these situations, the trucking company or driver may be to blame. If you or a loved one has been involved in an underride collision in the Santa Barbara area, make sure your rights are protected. Call NordstrandBlack PC at (805) 962-2022 today.
There are two primary types of underride accidents:
- Side Underride: In a side underride, a car strikes the side of a trailer. These accidents can happen in different ways, though they often occur when a large truck is making a wide turn or making a U-turn into the path of a smaller vehicle.
- Rear Underride: In a rear underride, a passenger vehicle slams into the back of a trailer. Since the rear bumper and backside of a big rig are much higher than other vehicles, the front of the passenger vehicle will slide underneath, especially if traveling at high speeds.
Though the federal government requires all trucks in the United States to have rear underride guards (ICC bars), they may not be strong enough to protect a car’s occupants in the event of a collision. Side guards are not yet required.
Some of the most common causes of these wrecks include:
- Trucker error: While it is easy to blame the driver of the passenger vehicle, truck drivers can cause underride accidents. For example, a side underride can occur as a result of the truck driver not seeing a car next to the truck and merging into it.
- Poor truck maintenance: Rear underride accidents often occur because a driver behind a commercial truck does not realize the truck is coming to a stop. Poor maintenance of brake lights and other warning indicators can directly contribute to such accidents.
- Poor visibility: Some underrides are caused because a car driver cannot see a semi-truck ahead of him has slowed or come to a stop until it is too late. Trailers that are moving slowly and painted with neutral colors can blend into the environment and may be difficult to see. Semis are required to have reflectors or lights to make sure other drivers can see them, but when these are missing, tragedy can strike.
- Lack of underside guards: The rear of a trailer is supposed to have an ICC bar that keeps smaller vehicles from sliding under it in the event of a collision. If a truck is missing this guard, or the guard is too weak, then a rear underride is more likely to occur.
Underride accidents can be the direct result of improper vehicle maintenance and negligent truckers. If you or a loved one has been injured in an underride in Southern California, call NordstrandBlack PC at (805) 962-2022 for a free consultation with a dedicated Santa Barbara truck accident attorney.