Were you or a family member injured or killed in an underride trucking accident due to someone else’s negligence? If so, you may be owed significant compensation.

Underride accidents are one of the most dangerous types of vehicle accidents because the roof of the car is often ripped off, and the results are often fatal. Trucking companies and truck drivers should be aware of this extreme danger and must be held accountable if they are in any way responsible for the accident.

The St. Louis underride accident lawyers at OnderLaw have decades of experience fighting for financial compensation for the victims of catastrophic truck accidents. Contact them today for a free consultation.

Why You Need a Lawyer

When you are involved in any kind of vehicle accident, it can be difficult to deal with paperwork and insurance claims while you are trying to focus on recovering from your injuries. In the case of an underride accident, you should not attempt to complete this process on your own. The legal process is complex, and when you have suffered serious injuries or your family member has been killed, the amount of compensation you are owed may be significant.

An experienced attorney will be able to help you navigate the legal complexities and fight for the full compensation you need to recover physically and financially from your accident.

Why Choose Us?

When you choose us to handle your underride trucking accident case, you have experience on your side. OnderLaw was founded in 2002 and has been serving the St. Louis community ever since.

Our attorneys have helped families and individuals recover millions of dollars of compensation after being involved in catastrophic trucking accidents. OnderLaw has been recognized by many national groups, including the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Super Lawyers.

Types of Underride Accidents

There are two types of underride accidents. A rear underride accident is when a car hits a semi-truck from behind. Since semis are so much taller than an average passenger car, the car can go underneath the trailer, often ripping off the top of the car. A side underride accident is very similar, but the car goes under the side of the semi instead of the back. Side underride accidents are most common at an intersection when a truck is making a left turn.

How Do Underride Accidents Happen?

Here are several common scenarios that can lead to an underride accident:

Entering or Exiting the Freeway – It takes a considerable amount of time for large trucks to speed up or slow down, so they often travel at a slower speed than other vehicles as they enter or prepare to exit the freeway.

Low Visibility – There are several factors that can affect a driver’s ability to see a large truck. Driving in the dark is already more dangerous, and when a truck’s brake lights are dim, dirty, or positioned close together, it can be even more difficult for another driver to see the truck. If the truck has broken down and pulled into the right lane or shoulder, failure to use reflective triangles, hazard lights, or a flare can make it impossible to see until it is too late to stop.

Adjusting to Bright Lights – Truck drivers may mistakenly assume that if they are driving at night near a brightly lit gas station or other business that other drivers will easily see them coming. This is a dangerous assumption to make because these bright lights may temporarily blind other drivers, making it difficult to see a truck that has slowed down or stopped ahead or that is making a left turn or backing across the road.

Weather Conditions – Adverse weather conditions, such as fog or rain, can make it hard to see a truck ahead. Driving in snow or ice can make it difficult to stop in time to avoid an accident. Truck drivers, as well as the drivers of passenger vehicles, are responsible for adjusting their driving behaviors according to weather conditions.

Common Injuries

Unfortunately, most people who are involved in an underride accident do not survive. According to a report from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 68% of occupants of vehicles who struck the rear of a truck were killed. Another 23% of occupants sustained serious injuries. Underride occurred in most of these accidents. For the occupants who do survive an underride accident, the injuries are typically very severe including:

Many of these injuries will require rehabilitation and long-term care in order to regain day-to-day function. Many victims will face permanent disability that prohibits them from doing daily activities. Additionally, victims of traumatic accidents often develop anxiety or depression as a result of their experience and may require counseling or other treatment. It is essential that you consider the future financial impact in addition to your present expenses when seeking compensation for your injuries.

Laws to Prevent Underride Accidents

Since underride accidents are so dangerous, there are many laws that were created to require trucking companies to follow a high standard of safety to prevent these accidents. The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 49 Part 393 spells out these specific requirements. Some key points include:

  • Lights –Taillights and brake lights must be red, not amber-colored. The license plate must be lit up. Extra-long loads that stick out behind the truck must be marked with a red light at the end.
  • Markings – Trucks must have reflective markings along the side of the truck as well as the upper and lower rear area of the truck.
  • Rear guard – The CFR gives specifications for when a rear guard is required as well as the height, width, and other requirements. Side guards are not currently required by law.

The requirements for safety markings and devices on trucks is very detailed, and they vary based on the year the truck was manufactured. This section of the CFR requires that all trucking companies and their employees are familiar with these laws. Additionally, trucking companies may have their own written safety protocol in addition to following the minimum federal requirements.

Types of Compensation Available

The amount of compensation you are owed will vary depending on the nature and severity of your injuries and other factors. In general, you may be eligible for compensation for:

  • Current and future medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Long-term care and rehabilitation
  • Lost wages and future earning potential

If your loved one was killed in an underride truck accident, you may also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This could cover funeral and burial expenses, loss of earning potential, and loss of companionship.

Building Your Case

The attorneys at OnderLaw will use every resource available to help build a strong case. Here are some of the factors we will look at:

  • Investigate if the trucking company violated any laws regarding lighting, markings, or rear guards
  • Review maintenance records and internal policies from the trucking company
  • Obtain a copy of the original police report
  • Analyze medical records that characterize the nature of injuries, which can help with accident reconstruction
  • Examine the damage to all vehicles involved and work with an accident reconstruction team to understand exactly what happened

Our innovative and hard-working attorneys take a detailed approach to understanding your case. They will explore additional ways as needed to build the strongest case possible and help you recover full compensation.

Frequently Asked Questions

You probably have a lot of questions about pursuing compensation from an underride truck accident. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions:

How long do I have to file a claim?

You have five years to file a personal injury claim, according to the Missouri Code Section 516.120. However, it is recommended that you start the process as soon as possible since it gets more difficult to remember details and gather evidence as time passes.

How much will an attorney cost?

Our attorneys work based on a contingency fee. This means you won’t pay anything unless we secure compensation for you.

If I am at fault, do I still have a case?

Missouri follows the law of pure comparative negligence. This means that if you are partially at fault, you may still be owed compensation for the negligence of the other driver, but your compensation will be reduced based on the percentage you were at fault. Our attorneys will help you build a strong case so you can get the highest amount of compensation available.

Contact a St. Louis Underride Accident Attorney

Being injured or losing a loved one in an underride truck accident is devastating. At OnderLaw , we care about more than just winning cases. We make it a priority to develop personal relationships with our clients to understand the pain you are going through and help you in any way we can. Contact us today or start an online chat to schedule a free consultation with a St. Louis underride accident lawyer.