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What happens when a car winds up under a commercial truck?

On Behalf of | Feb 12, 2020 | Car Crashes

Different kinds of collisions can cause different damage to vehicles and different injuries to their occupants. For example, rear-end collisions are notoriously associated with soft tissue injuries like whiplash. These injuries can result from a vehicle jerking forward quickly or stopping abruptly. The nature of the crash influences the damage to the vehicles and the injuries to the people inside.

When it comes to truck collisions, the crashes known as underride collisions are potentially the most catastrophic kind. With both jackknife accidents and rollovers, it is possible for only the commercial vehicle to wind up impacted by the crash. However, the very nature of an underride collision implies the involvement of a smaller passenger vehicle.

Underride crashes typically compress or cut off the top of the vehicle

An underride collision can happen in a number of different ways. It is possible for a passenger vehicle to strike the rear end of a commercial truck, resulting in the smaller vehicle going under the end of the trailer or even under the wheels of the truck from behind. The crumbling or shearing off of the top part of the vehicle is common in this sort of accident, known as a rear underride collision. Though there is a guard required to prevent these crashes, it is often too small, thin or poorly maintained to work.

In a side underride collision, a passenger vehicle winds up moving underneath the trailer, typically between the axles, often completely shearing off or crumpling the top part of the vehicle. There are guards that can prevent these kinds of crashes, but many truck companies don’t install them due to their cost and negative impact on gas mileage.

In front underride crashes, a truck that cannot stop in time will go up onto a passenger vehicle in front of it, completely crushing whatever part of the vehicle winds up under the cab of the commercial truck.

Human injuries in underride collisions are typically catastrophic

When you imagine the kind of damage that an underride collision can cause to the smaller passenger vehicle, it’s easy to understand that a large number of these crashes wind up proving fatal. Disturbingly, decapitations and extreme trauma are common.

People who survive often suffer severe lacerations, amputations, brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. Additionally, surviving such an accident can often leave someone with severe psychological trauma that may also require treatment in the future.

The most tragic thing about underride collisions is that in most cases, they are preventable with proper guards installed on trucks. Family members of those killed in an underride collision may have grounds to bring an action against the company that did not install adequate guards to protect other people on the road.