Underride and Override Accidents
Commercial trucking accidents are unfortunately quite common and can pose serious dangers to victims of collisions, their vehicles and nearby pedestrians. Because 18-wheelers and “big rigs” are so significantly larger than passenger vehicles, motorcycles and other standard types of cars, they are often involved in two specific types of collisions known to accident investigators as “override accidents” and “underride accidents.” These types of accidents occur when a tractor-trailer collides so severely with a passenger vehicle that the structures of both vehicles become enmeshed. Because the damage is so severe, occupants involved in an override or underride accident typically end up severely injured. In the worst cases involving underride or override collisions, the driver and/or passengers in the passenger car are killed as a result.
Defining Underride and Override Collisions
In their most basic definitions, an “underride truck accident” occurs when a collision happens between a commercial tractor-trailer and a smaller, more standard-sized passenger vehicle. These kinds of crash result in the smaller vehicle actually coming to rest inside the truck. An “override truck accident” occurs when a smaller vehicle is run over by a commercial truck, typically shearing off the top of the car.
Underride truck accidents are habitually deadly for victims in regular-sized cars because the point of impact happens right at head level. This massively increases the risk that victims will suffer acute or fatal head trauma at the moment of collision, despite the fact that airbags and other safety equipment probably deployed appropriately. Unfortunately, these types of accidents are also very common. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics reveal that half of all fatal car-versus-truck accidents are classified as underride truck accidents. Annually, big rigs are also tied to the most fatal underride truck accidents on U.S. roads.
Override crashes are equally deadly, resulting in severe injuries at best and mass casualties at worst. These accidents happen when a tractor-trailer runs over another vehicle or sometimes even several other vehicles, as happens in multi-car pile-ups during inclement weather. The damages are much more severe because the smaller vehicle gets stuck underneath the truck and the smaller vehicles are sometimes dragged by the bigger truck for a considerable distance. This exposes drivers and passengers involved in an override crash to additional damage such as fire or exposure to fuel or hazardous payloads. Because of the severity of the collision, it can also be challenging for first responders to get victims out of the car and administer medical attention.
Underride and override accidents are always serious and fatalities often occur as a result of these types of collision. Wrongful death lawsuits are not uncommon and the damages awarded as a result are often significant due to the trauma, grief, and life-changing injuries involved.
Negligent Actions that Lead to Override & Underride Truck Accidents
An override or underride crash generally occurs because a driver has made a mistake. In these types of accidents, a truck driver is often unable to decelerate quickly enough or stop their truck in time to avoid smashing into other vehicles. A wide variety of negligent acts can trigger an override or underride accident including:
- Diverted or unfocused driving
- Driving while tired or driving too many hours
- Compromised driving due to drugs, alcohol, tiredness or other factors
- Faulty or neglected brakes or tires
- Driving faster than posted speed limits
- Driving too close to other vehicles
- Poor road or weather conditions
- Trucks encumbered by too much cargo
Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. Can Help
Being involved in an underride or override accident can be devastating. That is why you need the help of a Chicago truck accident lawyer. At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., we have handled numerous underride and override accident cases and have helped our clients receive the compensation they deserve and need to move on with their lives after an accident.