Underride truck accidents in Maryland occur when a smaller vehicle collides with a large commercial truck and gets wedged beneath the truck’s trailer. The car’s roof is generally crushed or ripped completely off in an underride accident, exposing the driver and any passengers to the risk of severe injury or death.
The Different Types of Underride Truck Accidents in Maryland
Truck underride crashes account for more than 200 traffic fatalities per year in the U.S. Typically, there are two types of underride crashes: rear and side.
Rear Underride Accidents in Maryland
Although the U.S. Department of Transportation requires commercial trucks to have noticeable markings on their trailers to make them visible to other motorists at night, not all trucking companies comply. The lack of clearly visible markings on a trailer can make it difficult for other motorists to see the truck at night when it’s moving slowly before a turn or slowing down at an intersection. Truckers who don’t use emergency flashers or place reflective triangles on the road when pulled over on the shoulder also make it hard for other drivers to see their trucks. In any of these scenarios, a passenger car can run into and under the rear of a commercial truck’s trailer before realizing the truck is even there.
Side Underride Accidents in Maryland
Side underride crashes typically take place at night when a large truck is driving through an intersection, making a turn, or reversing. Other vehicles approaching the truck broadside might not see it until it’s too late if there are no visible markings on the side; its lights or reflectors are dirty, broken, or missing; it’s dark in color; or it’s moving slowly.
While commercial trucks are required to have rear guards below their trailers to prevent rear underride wrecks, side underride guards are not yet mandatory, so the risk of a side underride is higher than that of a rear underride crash. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the chances of surviving an underride crash without guards in place are low for the occupants of the smaller car that gets compressed and possibly dragged by the 18-wheeler.
Underride Crash Injuries
When a smaller car is trapped beneath a large truck’s trailer, the roof that protects the car’s occupants can be destroyed or torn off, leaving those occupants vulnerable to severe or catastrophic injuries, including:
- Dislocation or hyperextension of joints
- Spinal cord damage or paralysis
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Fractured ribs or pelvis
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
If you lose a loved one to an underride crash, our experienced Frederick truck accident lawyer can help you file a wrongful death claim against the appropriate defendant(s).
Negligence Leading to Maryland Underride Truck Crashes
Both truckers and trucking companies are held to high standards of safety and truck maintenance by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Nonetheless, truck underride accidents in Maryland often result from the driver and/or employer's negligence.
A trucker has a duty to obey all traffic laws and operate safely at all times. An accident can result any time a trucker engages in negligent driving habits:
- Failing to yield
- Not checking blind spots
- Stopping suddenly
- Failing to use turn signals or flashers
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving when fatigued, drowsy, or distracted
- Parking or backing up on the shoulder of the road
Trucking Company’s Negligence
A trucking company is required to maintain its vehicles properly and put only trucks in safe operating condition on the road. Allowing a truck with any of the following equipment issues to be driven would constitute negligence on the part of the company that owns and operates it:
- Burnt-out taillights or brake lights
- Worn-out or improperly inflated tires
- Damaged steering or braking systems
- Improper lighting
- Dirty or missing reflectors/reflective tape
- Problems with coupling equipment
If you’re injured or lose a loved one in an underride accident caused by negligence on the part of a trucker or trucking company, you’re entitled to compensation from that party’s insurer for medical bills, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering resulting from the crash.
Have You Been Hurt in an Underride Truck Accident in Frederick, MD?
There could be more than one insurer responsible for your damages, and either or both of them could try to dispute, delay, devalue, or deny your damage claim. Our experienced truck accident attorney in Frederick, MD, can evaluate your case, demand fair compensation, negotiate with multiple insurers, and take your case to trial if necessary. Please contact us online, start a chat, or call us at 301-790-3600 to schedule a free consultation. You pay no attorney fees unless we win your case.