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Michigan Truck Underride Accidents: Why Are They Dangerous?

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May 15th, 2024

Written by Maurice Davis

Michigan roads witness numerous traffic accidents every year, but among the most horrific are underride accidents involving commercial trucks.

These specific types of crashes, where a passenger vehicle slides under the body of a larger truck, are particularly dangerous. They are often fatal. If you or a loved one have been injured in an underride crash, or you’ve lost a family member in a crash, you deserve compensation.

Learn more about underride accidents, why they happen, and how to recover compensation after someone’s negligence hurts you or your family.

What is an Underride Accident?

As the name implies, an underride accident occurs when a smaller vehicle collides with a truck or trailer and ends up going underneath it.

This catastrophic scenario can happen from the rear, side, or even the front of the large vehicle. Due to the high base of the truck’s body, the top or front of the passenger vehicle often suffers severe damage, leading to critical injuries or fatalities to the occupants.

What Kind of Injuries Happen in Underride Accidents?

Underride accidents typically result in severe injuries due to the nature of the collision. Some of the most common injuries include:

  • Head and Neck Injuries: These are among the most catastrophic outcomes, often due to the car’s roof colliding directly with the bottom edge of the truck’s trailer.
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): High-impact forces can cause TBIs, ranging from mild concussions to severe brain damage.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: These injuries can lead to temporary or permanent paralysis, significantly affecting a victim’s quality of life.
  • Facial and Dental Injuries: As the truck shears into the cabin of the car, facial injuries are common, including severe lacerations, jaw injuries, and loss of teeth.
  • Amputations: In severe cases, the force and mechanics of the accident may lead to traumatic amputation of limbs.

Some injuries aren’t noticeable right away, so getting medical care is especially critical.

These injuries underscore the devastating and often irreversible damage that underride accidents can cause, making it vital for victims to seek immediate medical and legal help.

Causes of Underride Accidents

Underride accidents can be caused by a combination of factors.

Poor visibility

If a driver cannot see the truck ahead of their vehicle, they may not have enough time to stop. Additionally, if a truck driver cannot see a smaller vehicle as they go to merge, the passenger car can become trapped under the larger one.

Sudden stops in traffic

If a truck driver is speeding and has a drastic drop in speed, a passenger car can easily get stuck under the trailer.

Defective equipment

Trailers and large trucks are designed with safety gear in mind, like underride guards. However, when that equipment doesn’t function as planned, there can be significant injuries.

Driver fatigue or error

Drivers have slower reaction times when they’re drowsy. This can have devastating consequences when a truck driver needs to react quickly. Smaller vehicles can suffer when a drowsy driver makes an impaired judgment.

Why Underride Accidents are So Dangerous

The unique danger of underride accidents lies in their brutal impact on passenger vehicles.

Most cars are designed to withstand impacts through crumple zones and safety features like airbags and seat belts, which are mostly effective in front and rear collisions.

However, in an underride accident, these safety mechanisms are often bypassed, exposing vehicle occupants directly to the lower edge of the truck’s trailer.

The injuries sustained are generally severe head and neck injuries, often resulting in instantaneous fatalities.

Impact of Underride Accidents

Underride accidents are among the deadliest on Michigan roads.

According to traffic safety data, these accidents often result in significant injuries or fatalities due to the severe trauma inflicted above the passenger vehicle’s safety features.

The loss of life and the extent of injuries not only cause immense suffering to the victims and their families but also lead to substantial economic and social impacts.

What Compensation is Available After an Underride Accident in MI?

Victims of underride accidents, or their families, have the right to seek legal compensation through personal injury claims

In Michigan, determining liability in such accidents involves proving negligence on the part of the truck driver or the trucking company.

This could be due to failing to maintain proper safety measures, such as underride guards, or any other negligence that contributed to the accident.

Navigating Michigan’s No-Fault Insurance Claims

Michigan operates under a no-fault insurance system, which means that victims of auto accidents, including underride collisions, can receive medical expenses, wage loss benefits, and replacement services regardless of who caused the accident.

This coverage is immediate and critical for initial recovery, but it may not fully address long-term needs and other damages.

Securing Compensation Beyond No-Fault Claims

In cases of serious injury or wrongful death, victims may seek additional compensation through third-party claims.

These claims can address pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other non-economic damages that are not covered under no-fault benefits.

Establishing the truck driver or company’s liability is crucial in these claims, especially when negligence or safety violations are involved.

Why You Should Call a Michigan Truck Accident Lawyer

Accidents with large commercial vehicles is especially challenging. Most of the evidence will be owned by the trucking company, and a lawyer may be needed to compel them to share it.

Plus, navigating Michigan’s no-fault insurance and exploring third-party claims can be complex, particularly in severe accidents like underride collisions.

A skilled Detroit personal injury lawyer can:

  • Help interpret and manage no-fault claims efficiently.
  • Evaluate the potential for third-party claims.
  • Ensure all filing deadlines are met, and documentation is complete.
  • Advocate for the maximum compensation possible.

Calling a lawyer ensures that you understand all available legal options and receive comprehensive support through your recovery and claim process.

Call Davis Injury Lawyers, PLLC for Help Today

When someone else’s negligent or reckless conduct caused you harm, you have every right to hold them responsible. The financial burden of an underride accident should not rest on your shoulders.

Our Detroit truck accident attorneys are here to represent you in a trucking underride accident claim. We will protect your rights, negotiate with the insurer, and if necessary, fight for your compensation in court.

Let us help you after a trucking accident. Call us at 313-462-7979” or use our online form to contact us about an initial consultation.