Grand Junction Underride Accident Lawyers
Underride accidents, when a car fits partway underneath an 18-wheeler truck, are among the most dangerous type of trucking accident there are. Those in the passenger vehicle will likely be severely injured, or even killed, by the collision. Unfortunately, they are also incredibly common.
If you or a loved one were injured in an underride accident that wasn’t your fault, contact the Grand Junction underride accident attorneys at Peters & Nolan, LLC. Our legal team can thoroughly investigate your case, including the driver and trucking company involved, to determine liability and negligence in a trucking accident claim. Reach out to us at (970) 243-4357 to ensure you are not left paying for someone else’s reckless decisions.
An underride accident most commonly happens when a car and truck collide, causing the car to slide beneath the truck. How this collision happens can be due to several factors, many of which are not the car driver’s fault. Underride accidents can occur due to:
Improper signaling: The lights on the truck either fail to work, or the truck driver neglects to use them. This means the truck driver may suddenly slow down or switch lanes without giving the car drivers around them enough time to react safely.
Blind spots: Trucks have very large blind spots, and they can be difficult to check properly while still paying attention to the road. However, it is a truck driver’s responsibility to do so. Not checking their blind spots means that they could easily make a turn or switch lanes while another driver is still in the way, causing an accident.
Not given enough reaction time: Trucks are large and heavy, which means they usually need a lot of time to slow down safely. If a truck driver slams on their breaks, however, it can cause the truck to stop suddenly, which in turn will not allow for any vehicles behind them enough time to stop before colliding with the back of the truck. The same goes for when a truck changes lanes. The cars driving next to the truck need to have enough time to move out of the way, otherwise, they can end up stuck beneath the 18-wheeler.
Truck accidents are often destructive and catastrophic, resulting in severe injuries and emotional trauma for those in the passenger vehicle, but underrides are particularly dangerous. Because cars are so much smaller than trucks, they can fit underneath trucks up to the windshield. The windshield and roof of the car are not able to protect from the level of force that an underride accident normally has, meaning that it often gets shorn off, leading to intense injuries for those inside the car.
Some of the most common underride injuries that we’ve seen are:
- Loss of limb or amputation
- Internal damage
- Fractured, broken, or crushed bones
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spine injuries
- Skull fractures
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
None of these injuries are easy to recover from. Many will take weeks or even months to heal, while others may leave you with lasting scars or disabilities. In many cases, the victims end up passing away immediately upon collision or at the hospital afterward, causing unimaginable heartbreak to their family.
The end results of these accidents are incredibly high medical debt, an inability to work for a period of time, emotional wounds that will take time to go away, and, in the case of a wrongful death, funeral expenses.
Getting into an accident that isn’t your fault may leave you with a sense that you have lost control of your life. It can be difficult to get back on the road or even leave your house. That level of anxiety has the potential to be compensated for by recoverable damages.
In personal injury claims, you will usually file for two types of damages: non-economic and economic. Non-economic will usually include things like that anxiety that may leave you unable to live your day to day life. Essentially, it covers any impacts that the accident had that aren’t financial. Our clients often receive non-economic damages for:
- Loss of enjoyment
- Lowered quality of life
- Emotional trauma
- Pain and suffer
- Loss of consortium, if you lost a loved one in the accident
You may also be awarded compensation for economic damages, which usually covers any financial hardships you suffered as a result of the accident. Financial damages are often the easiest to prove, as your bills and expenditures will leave behind a paper trail that can be used as evidence. You may be awarded economic damages for:
- Medical bills
- Lost job opportunities
- Lost wages
- Funeral expenses, if a loved one passed away
While knowing what you plan to claim for, and getting together the necessary evidence, is incredibly important when filing an underride accident claim, the first thing you need to do is determine who the at-fault party is and who is liable for your injuries.
Liability can only be determined by examining the facts of your case. Every accident is different, and the exact scenario matters a great deal when determining the at-fault party. However, when it comes to underride accidents, three groups are the most common ones at fault:
Truck driver: The driver of the truck is expected to obey all the rules of the road and to follow all trucking regulations. If they drive negligently, like not using their signals when switching lanes, and that negligence results in an accident, then they are the ones who should be held liable.
Trucking company: The truck driver isn’t always the one at fault, however. The companies these drivers work for are motivated by profits. Trucking companies can make more money if their drivers meet deadlines, and so they may pressure their drivers to skip rest periods or even speed. A fatigued driver is sure to make mistakes while on the road, and speeding in a truck can make it almost impossible to stop in time if traffic suddenly comes to a standstill. If the underride accident only happened because the truck driver was forced to act negligently by their employers, then the company may be the ones ultimately found to be liable.
Mechanic/manufacturer: Underride accidents can happen due to an equipment failure. For example, if the brake lights on a truck don’t work, then the car behind the truck won’t know when to slow down. In cases of accidents due to malfunction, then the maker of the equipment might be at fault for any damages. Similarly, if the truck’s mechanic should have noticed and fixed the error that caused the accident, then they may be the ones liable for the damages you suffered.
No one should be left paying for an accident that wasn’t their fault. Sadly, when it comes to underride accidents, that is a real possibility for victims who do not pursue a claim. You deserve compensation for your injuries. You deserve justice. Contact our Grand Junction truck accident attorneys at Peters & Nolan, LLC at (970) 243-4357. Don’t settle for anything less than what you deserve. Call us today.
Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.
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