Underride Truck Accidents in Houston

grey big rig semi truck in Texas

One danger that is unique to large commercial vehicles is what’s known as an underride accident. These crashes happen when a smaller passenger vehicle becomes wedged beneath the truck’s trailer, often with devastating consequences.

Such accidents can result in devastating injuries and leave victims with significant losses. However, if you or a loved one have been in an underride accident in Houston or elsewhere in Texas, you could have the right to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, impairment, and more.

The personal injury attorneys at The Callahan Law Firm can help you pursue the compensation you need and the accountability you deserve. For over 25 years, we have fought for the rights of injured people like you in Houston and throughout Texas, with truck accident cases being a particular focus of our firm. Let our experienced legal team represent you and handle your case so you can focus on your health.

Contact us today for a free case review with an underride truck accident lawyer in Houston.

Why You Need Our Law Firm for Your Underride Accident Claim

The Callahan Law Firm has advocated for injured people in Houston and surrounding areas for over a quarter-century. Our firm provides legal representation for individuals and their families in personal injury cases, and we are committed to providing our clients with the compassionate, personalized legal representation they need.

We can help you after an underride accident by:

  • Answering your legal questions during a free case review and consultation
  • Determining whether you have a case 
  • Investigating the crash and gathering evidence, both of which must be done as soon after the crash as possible to ensure your rights are protected
  • Researching which parties could be liable for your losses and all available insurance coverage
  • Hiring appropriate experts including accident reconstructionists and trucking experts
  • Calculating the total value of your claim based on the losses you’ve suffered
  • Negotiating with insurance companies and other parties on your behalf
  • Seeing that all necessary paperwork is timely filed
  • Filing a lawsuit and taking the case to trial when the responsible parties and their insurance companies refuse to offer a settlement that is acceptable to you
  • Never being paid any fees for the work we do until a recovery is made on your behalf

What Is a Truck Underride Accident?

An underride accident occurs when a passenger vehicle collides with the side or rear of a large commercial truck, typically an 18-wheeler, and slides underneath the truck’s trailer. When this happens, the top of the car is often crushed or torn off completely.

These crashes are extremely hazardous to the driver and occupants of the passenger vehicle, often resulting in catastrophic injuries and even death. Although some large trucks have safety features intended to prevent underride accidents, this equipment is not always present or dependable.

What Causes Truck Underride Accidents in Houston?

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires tractor-trailers to be equipped with a rear safety bar, also known as a rear underride guard, in an attempt to prevent underride collisions at the rear of a trailer.  Currently, side underride guards are not required by law in the United States even though it is well known to trucking companies and manufacturers that side underride guards could prevent catastrophic injuries and fatalities to people in passenger vehicles. In addition, the DOT does not currently require annual inspections of underride guards, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). The DOT does require all large commercial trucks to be equipped with reflective tape – also known as conspicuity tape – or similar reflectors to make these vehicles more apparent and conspicuous on the road.

However, even with safeguards in place, underride accidents can and do occur, often because:

  • A truck driver fails to yield the right of way at an intersection
  • A truck driver fails to stop at a red light or stop sign
  • A truck driver attempts to make a turn when it is not safe to do so
  • A truck driver attempts to back up onto the main road
  • Truck driver fatigue
  • Any instance where a passenger vehicle strikes the side or a trailer or rear of a trailer

In addition, underride accidents happen because truck drivers or trucking companies fail to equip their vehicles with protective gear or properly maintain their trucks, or because drivers operate their trucks unsafely. Some examples of these issues include:

  • The trailer does not have adequate or clean reflectors
  • The trailer does not have adequate or clean conspicuity tape
  • Faulty or broken brakes, brake lights, or taillights
  • A tractor-trailer stopped on the shoulder of a road without cones, markers or flares in place to warn oncoming drivers
  • Lack of visibility when pulled over on the side of the road due to a curve in the road or other obstruction
  • Inadequately designed underride guards
  • Failure to have side underride guards in place even though the technology is available and the cost is nominal compared to injuries and fatalities caused by underride crashes

Injuries That Can Result from Truck Underride Accidents

Because commercial trucks are so much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, occupants of the smaller vehicles are the ones who suffer serious injuries and fatalities in underride accidents. Some of the most common injuries resulting from truck underride accidents include:

  • Crush injuries
  • Amputations
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Fatalities
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  • Spinal fractures
  • Bone fractures
  • Internal bleeding
  • Organ damage
  • Disfigurement

Many of these injuries can require intensive medical treatments, lengthy hospital stays, ongoing rehabilitation and physical therapy, and lifelong care. All too often injuries from underride accidents result in permanent disability which prevents a person from ever returning to gainful employment. Victims of these accidents may also suffer from anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other psychological issues.

What Should I Do If I Have Been Injured in an Underride Truck Accident?

If you’ve been involved in an underride truck accident, you can take the following steps to protect yourself and your right to secure compensation:

  1. Seek medical care – You should immediately get medical attention, even if you do not have any visible injuries or are not immediately in serious pain. The adrenaline released in an accident can mask or dull the pain of injuries, including bone fractures, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and internal bleeding. Seeing a medical professional as soon as possible improves your prognosis. Furthermore, the diagnosis and treatment of these injuries will become part of your medical record to document the extent and severity of your injuries.
  2. Document what happened – If you can, take photos and videos of the accident scene including vehicle damage. You should also consider making periodic notes to track how your injuries affect your daily life.
  3. Speak to an attorney, not insurers – History shows it is best to not speak with insurance companies or anyone else other than the police without first contacting an experienced personal injury trial attorney who handles truck accident cases. Insurance adjusters are trained to ask questions and elicit responses in a way that will help them, not you. Their goal is to protect their insured – the truck driver and trucking company – and save themselves money. Statements you make to an insurance company without a lawyer on your side will likely reduce any settlement amount they may offer you or will result in the insurance company denying your claim outright. A truck accident lawyer at The Callahan Law firm will communicate with the insurance companies and other parties on your behalf and protect your rights.

Contact Our Experienced Houston Underride Truck Accident Attorneys Today

If you were injured in an underride truck accident in Houston, you should not be alone to deal with costly medical bills, lost wages, and uncertainty about your future. The Callahan Law Firm can help you demand the compensation you need during this difficult time. Contact us today for a free case review with one of our Houston underride truck accident attorneys.