One of the most catastrophic accidents involving a large commercial truck is when another motorist becomes lodged underneath the truck.
Commercial trucks sit substantially higher than passenger vehicles. If the two vehicles collide, there is a chance that the passenger vehicle will go either partially or completely under the commercial truck, causing severe injury or death.
If you suffered injuries, or if a loved one died due to lodging underneath a large commercial truck, learn how a Los Angeles carriage underride lawyer can help you receive justice and understand your legal rights. Contact our team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 for a free consultation.
Many large commercial trucks must comply with federal regulations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding underride guards. Underride guards, also called rear impact guards, are typically large steel bars that extend or hang from the back of a commercial truck to prevent passenger vehicles from becoming lodged underneath the truck in the unfortunate event of an accident. Certain trucks are not required under federal regulations to have these types of underride safety measures, such as garbage trucks and other smaller trucks.
Accidents Involving Carriage Underride
Even in collisions that occur at lower rates of speed between a passenger vehicle and a large commercial truck, a motorist may somehow become lodged under the tractor-trailer or 18-wheeler. If the underride guards are not properly installed, inadequate according to safety standards, or are not installed at all, a motorist may slide directly under the truck, resulting in severe injuries or death. In these cases, the top of the passenger vehicle is typically severely crushed or even ripped off.
Additionally, it is important to note that pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists can also suffer injuries and become trapped under a commercial truck following a collision. Many of these collisions occur when a truck driver attempts to turn in an intersection, attempts a U-turn, or backs the commercial truck across lanes of traffic. In other instances, the motorist traveling behind the commercial truck was simply unable to stop quickly enough to prevent a collision.
For a free legal consultation with a carriage underride accidents lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (800) 794-0444
The NHTSA issues standards for carriage underride for large commercial trucks that are not required on older trucks. This means that older commercial trucks may have inadequate protection, if any at all, for motorists in accidents.
Additionally, while some motorists will suffer serious injuries or death due to side crashes with commercial vehicles, the NHTSA does not require any side guards to prevent a passenger vehicle from sliding under or impacting the side of a large truck. Commercial trucking safety advocates continue to petition the NHTSA to add new standards for underride guards. In the meantime, motorists involved in accidents with commercial trucks may continue to suffer serious injuries or death.
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Injuries Suffered in Carriage Underride Accidents
As anyone can imagine, any accident that results in a motorist getting trapped under a large commercial tractor-trailer truck with part of their vehicle crushed or torn off will include severe injuries or even death. Some of the types of injuries suffered in carriage underride accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Aortic dissection
- Spinal cord injury, including either temporary or permanent paralysis
- Nerve damage
- Internal organ damage or internal bleeding
- Broken or fractured bones
- Burns (if the accident leads to any fires or explosions)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Insurance Company Negotiations
If you are in the process of determining whether or not to pursue a civil regarding your injuries, you will probably need to negotiate with an insurance company. Insurance companies work for the truck driver, the trucking company, or the manufacturer, and will attempt to find ways to have victims take the lowest settlement amounts possible for their injuries and losses.
Never allow an insurance company to record your phone calls. Be very careful with the words you use when you discuss anything with a representative from an insurance company. If you say you feel “fine” after a representative asks how you are feeling, this can provide evidence for the insurance company to attempt to decrease the amount of compensation that they offer you for your injuries.
Never provide a full medical history to an insurance company. They only have the legal right to see the medical documents that directly relate to your carriage underride case. A Los Angeles carriage underride lawyer can negotiate with insurance companies for you and try to reach a favorable settlement.
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Unfortunately, in many accidents that result in passenger vehicles trapped under a commercial truck, victims may ultimately die due to their severe injuries. Through a wrongful death claim, you might be able to recover compensation for funeral costs, hospice expenses, and medical bills from before you loved one’s death. Several family members of a loved one may file a claim against the negligent party for their loved one’s untimely death.
Truck Driver or Trucking Company
If a truck driver or trucking company failed to place required parts and components on their trucks that would prevent such an occurrence, the family of the victim could bring a wrongful death suit on their behalf.
If an underride part or component had defects, a victim’s family can file a claim against the manufacturer. While a wrongful death lawsuit will never bring back a loved one, it can help with expenses family members are facing. Types of compensation you might be entitled to can include:
- Funeral costs
- Remaining medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of future wages
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
These family members have a legal right to file a claim on behalf of their loved one to seek justice for these losses for up to two years after their death, according to California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1.
Call a Los Angeles Carriage Underride Lawyer
Consider calling a member of our team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 for a free consultation. We can help you understand how a Los Angeles carriage underride lawyer can protect your legal rights and help you with your next steps.