Carriage underride accidents, which typically involve a car that strikes a truck or tractor-trailer from the rear or the side and ends up at least partially underneath the truck, are nothing short of catastrophic and can lead to substantial vehicle damage, bodily injuries, and death.
If you or someone you know was involved in a carriage underride accident, we may be able to help. A Lafayette carriage underride lawyer at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers has the legal knowledge and expertise needed to handle a wide range of car and truck accidents, including carriage underride accidents. You should not have to suffer because of the carelessness, distraction, or negligence of another road user. Call us today at (337) 777-7777 for a no-obligation consultation with our truck accident team.
Understanding Carriage Underride Accidents
An accident in which one vehicle, usually a passenger car, slides under the rear or side of a large truck or semi-trailer is called a carriage underride or an undercarriage crash. These types of accidents are not only potentially deadly, but they can also lead to significant property and vehicle damage, as well as a variety of legal issues depending on who was at fault for the accident.
According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one set of rules that govern underride guards on trucks was issued almost 70 years ago in 1952. It was not updated until 1998 when guard sizes were increased, wheel setback dimensions were shortened, and guard strength requirements were formally specified. These guards have saved countless lives since they were introduced, but underride accidents still occur at an alarming rate, and every accident, every death, and every bodily injury can affect an entire family in painful ways for months or even years.
To reduce the fallout of undercarriage accidents, the NHTSA actively researches better safety requirements to reduce their incidence. One safety feature commonly seen on the rear ends of trucks is impact guards. These are designed to provide enough strength and energy absorption to protect the occupants of passenger vehicles that strike the rear of a trailer in crashes that occur at up to 35 miles per hour, but there is still much that needs to be done to protect the victims of these crashes.
For a free legal consultation with a carriage underride accident lawyer serving Lafayette, call (337) 777-7777
How Carriage Underride Accidents Occur
The difference in sizes and shapes of cars and trucks is the main factor that contributes to underride accidents between passenger vehicles and medium- to large-size trucks and tractor-trailers.
Modern cars are replete with safety features such as airbags and collision detection and avoidance systems, but should a car strike a truck from the rear or side even at a modest speed, even with crumple zones designed to protect passengers in an accident, the windshield and more may become wedged under the truck.
Sedans and low-profile cars that have what is called lower front geometry than SUVs and other larger vehicles tend to experience more damage than larger vehicles, and it is not uncommon for other issues to come into play when it comes to carriage underride accidents. Some of these are:
- Faulty brakes
- Driving under the influence
- Unsafe lane changes
- Unexpected developments on the road
- Traffic congestion
Anything that contributes to driver inattention—such as eating, phone use, or interacting with other passengers—can increase the likelihood of an accident occurring. Also, anything that increases driver response times such as drowsiness or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can contribute to an accident.
The list, however, does not stop there, and equipment malfunctions, worn brakes, faulty truck brake lights, damaged roads, unclear signage, sudden stops, and other factors can come into play in causing a carriage underride accident.
Contact Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers today by calling (337) 777-7777 to find out which factors may apply to your case and how a Lafayette carriage underride lawyer may be able to assist you.
Lafayette Carriage Underride Accident Lawyer Near Me (337) 777-7777
Carriage Underride Injuries
Because of their nature, underride accidents often result in fatalities. These accident deaths are almost always the death of the driver or a passenger of the vehicle that struck the truck. If this happened to you pr a loved one and the fault for the accident rests with another party, you can file a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Even if an underride accident is not fatal, the surviving passengers can be left with serious injuries, including:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal Cord Injuries (SCIs)
- Fractures and broken bones
- Internal bleeding
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has provided clear guidelines on how to prevent many of these injuries from occurring, but research and policy changes are still underway, and it may be some time before all of the GAO’s recommendations are in full effect on our roads.
How We Can Help
There are many ways that our team of experienced attorneys can help you in the aftermath of a tragic carriage underride accident. As soon as an accident occurs, once you have received medical attention, call our team and we will:
- Investigate the scene of the crash and gather evidence, including eyewitness testimony
- Contact your insurance company and representatives or owners of the truck or the truck company whose vehicle you struck
- Issue a letter of intent to sue and put together a claim on your behalf
- Obtain the official police crash report, your medical records, and the maintenance and service logs of all the vehicles involved in the crash
Time is of the essence, and you must act quickly. Vehicle repair bills and medical expenses can quickly add up, and according to Louisiana State Legislature Article 3492, the statute of limitations within which you must bring forward a claim for damages is typically one year from the date of the accident. Delays can make it harder to obtain evidence critical to your claim, and other issues such as aggravated health problems can make it harder to win a case for the injuries and damages that you want to directly link to your accident.
Also, it is important to understand how difficult it can be to gather accident evidence and deal with insurance agents and law enforcement, especially if you were recently involved in an accident. You may have suffered bodily injuries or other issues such as mental trauma or PTSD. It can be difficult to file and follow up with an accident claim under such circumstances, so let a Lafayette carriage underride lawyer from our team help you. Please call Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers at (337) 777-7777 to get started.