What is an Underride Accident?

June 30, 2021

We have all driven around larger commercial trucks on the roadway. Even though the vast majority of these vehicles are safe, there are times when horrific accidents occur. One of the most dangerous and deadly types of crashes that can occur involving a large truck is called an “underride accident.”

Underride truck accidents occur when vehicles slam into the rear or side of a truck and slide underneath the vehicle.

Understanding Underride Truck Accidents

Anytime a smaller vehicle collides with a larger commercial truck, there is a potential for extreme devastation. Larger commercial trucks have a significant height difference from other vehicles on the roadway around them. Unfortunately, this height difference means that smaller vehicles could end up slamming into the truck and riding right underneath.

When this type of crash occurs, it often results in a shearing off of part or all of the smaller vehicle. The force of these collisions and the traumatic nature of the incident often means that those inside the traditional passenger car sustain severe injuries or even fatalities.

According to a recent NBC report, we can see that around 200 people lose their lives each year due to underride accidents across the country. Thousands of others sustain injuries as a result of these incidents.

Common Causes of Underride Accidents in West Virginia

Underride accidents occur in a variety of ways in West Virginia. In many cases, the fault for these incidents will fall squarely to the drivers of the passenger vehicles involved. This could include drivers failing to obey traffic laws, operating while impaired by alcohol or drugs, or operating while distracted by phones or other devices.

However, there are times when truck drivers or trucking companies could hold liability for underride accidents. Some of the most common causes of underride accidents that could lead to a trucking company being at fault include the following:

  • Large trucks coming to a sudden stop, leading to rear-end underride accidents
  • Truck drivers failing to completely pull off the roadway, leaving the tail end of the truck in the path of oncoming traffic
  • Truck drivers failing to travel with the flow of traffic
  • Truck drivers failing to use reflective triangles or lights around their truck when stopped on the roadside
  • Truck drivers failing to deploy emergency flashers on the vehicle when stopped on the roadside
  • Vehicle failures that caused the truck to break down in the middle of the road
  • Trucks with defective or faulty side safety lights
  • Trucks with dim, dirty, or faulty tail lights or brake lights

In some states across the country, trucks are required to have underride guards along the side of the vehicle. However, West Virginia currently does not have a law that requires underride guards.

When to Contact a Lawyer

If you or somebody you care about has been injured in an underride accident with a larger commercial truck, you may need assistance from a truck collision attorney to help secure compensation. If you believe that the underride accident was caused by the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company, a Martinsburg accident lawyer can help you recover the compensation you are entitled to. An attorney can fully investigate the claim, determine liability, and negotiate with all parties involved to help you get through this.


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