Omaha Truck Underride Accident Attorney
There may be no more dangerous vehicles in Nebraska than tractor-trailers. These immense trucks have up to 18 wheels and can weigh as much as 40 tons. That’s 80,000 pounds of metal and rubber moving at high speeds, so when cars and semi-trucks collide, the people in the car are the ones who get hurt.
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Bottlinger Law L.L.C. is dedicated to protecting victims of serious car accidents in Nebraska. If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision with a tractor-trailer, you’ll be faced with a powerful insurance company that will do everything it can to destroy your claim. Call (402) 505-8234 to schedule a free consultation with an Omaha personal injury attorney and learn how you can receive the compensation you deserve.
The way tractor-trailers are built, the trailer sits several feet off the ground thanks to its large tires. When a collision occurs between a car and a semi-truck, especially at high speeds, the car can go under the back, side, or even the front of the semi. This is called an underride, and it often smashes the roof of the car and seriously injures or kills the occupants.
The brutality of these accidents led lawmakers to call for a bipartisan law, requiring all semis nationwide to install guardrails to prevent cars from sliding under the trailer during a collision. However, the current federally-mandated underride guards (called ICC bars) have been shown to be ineffective in crashes that involve moderate to high speeds.
Common contributing factors to truck underride wrecks include lack of underride guards, improper underride guards, and defective or missing tail lights and reflective tape. Poor truck brake maintenance and truck driver negligence can also cause this type of crash. Tragic truck underride collisions can occur in several different ways:
- Rear-end underride crashes can occur when a trucker suddenly slams on the brakes, and the driver behind does not have enough time to stop. When rear impact guards fail, the smaller vehicle can slide under the trailer.
- Side impact underride collisions can occur when a trucker fails to check blind spots and merges into the path of another vehicle. The truck can shear off the roof of the smaller car as it slides under the trailer.
- Offset underride crashes can happen when a car following a big rig strikes the back of the trailer at a corner. The trailer's corner can enter the smaller vehicle on the driver or passenger side, causing fatal injuries.
Rear impact guards are required on all commercial trucks in the U.S. to reduce the risk of underride collisions. Fatal crashes can still occur when rear underride guards fail. This can happen when a vehicle collides with a truck at a higher speed. When the guard fails to stop the vehicle from colliding with the tailgate of the truck, the tailgate can crush the windshield of the vehicle, causing catastrophic or fatal injuries to passenger vehicle occupants.
When a passenger car slides under the trailer of a large commercial truck, it can be deadly for vehicle occupants. When the vehicle becomes wedged under the truck, the upper part of the passenger compartment can collapse inward, often causing traumatic head injuries, decapitation, and death. When victims survive, this type of collision can cause severe fractures, crush injuries, and damage to the spinal cord leading to paralysis.
Truck accident claims are notorious for being complex. Trucks are commercial vehicles, often from out of state. Trucking insurers have been known to get to the scene before emergency response teams, and “doctor” the evidence. Your typical case will involve federal regulations, several responsible parties, and multiple legal teams. For instance, the at-fault party in a truck wreck might be the trucker, the trucking company, the company responsible for maintaining the truck, the company that loaded the truck - or all of them.
After an accident, you should consult with an experienced Omaha truck crash attorney right away. You have enough to worry about with your catastrophic injuries and medical bills. You can bet that the trucking company’s insurer will offer you less than what you’re entitled to, and you need a professional to fight back.
The legal team at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. understands the tactics insurance companies like to employ. In fact, our founder, Jason Bottlinger, started his career taking on the big insurance companies. Our experience and commitment to representing injury victims have been the key ingredients in our winning track record.
If you or a family member has been seriously hurt in an underride collision with a tractor-trailer, contact us today at (402) 505-8234 to schedule a free consultation.
- Recognizing Good Rear Underride Protection - IIHS HLDI
- Road to Zero Safety Priority Statement | Truck Underride - NSC
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