The size difference between a commercial truck and a passenger vehicle tends to make crashes between these two types of vehicles quite devastating. Smaller vehicles can easily end up trapped under a commercial truck during a collision, particularly in a scenario where the smaller vehicle strikes the trailer of the semi-truck.
People call this severe type of crash an underride collision. Underride crashes often leave smaller vehicles unsafe to drive and can cause permanent or even deadly injuries for the occupants of those vehicles. The costs inspired by such crashes could easily reach hundreds of thousands of dollars or even more.
Trucking companies are often responsible for underride wrecks
Two primary considerations tend to inform liability for an accident. The first is which vehicle operator (if either) caused the wreck. A commercial trucking company usually has responsibility for the actions of its employees. If a semi-truck driver did something negligent at the wheel that resulted in an underride crash, then the company that employs that driver will likely have at least some legal and financial liability for the collision.
The second factor to consider is whether the condition of the semi-truck worsened the crash. Even if the semi-truck driver was not at fault for the collision, the trucking company’s decisions concerning maintenance, etc. may have made the outcome of the crash worse.
Some commercial transportation companies refuse to invest in side underride guards because the federal government does not yet mandate their installation on vehicles. Many others cut corners when it comes to rear underride guards. They only purchase what the government requires instead of buying the guards that are most effective based on current collision research. If someone hurt by a crash or their surviving family members can show that the trucker caused the wreck or that a better underride guard may have significantly diminished the severity of the crash, there may be some degree of liability for the commercial transportation company involved in the incident.
As a result, there could be a sizable insurance claim to negotiate or grounds to file a lawsuit. Ultimately, carefully evaluating the circumstances of a commercial wreck may help people better determine how to respond to a recent crash, especially if they may be rightfully owed compensation.