Underride Collision Attorney in Colorado Springs
Underride collisions are among the deadliest types of truck accidents. They occur when a passenger vehicle collides with a large truck or tractor-trailer and runs under the truck. This can shear off the roof of a passenger vehicle, killing the occupants. Victims of underride accidents are usually better off if the impact occurs near a truck axel, which can help prevent the vehicle from going completely under the truck.
Even at lower speeds, underrides can be deadly for passenger vehicle occupants. These catastrophic truck accidents occur in one of two ways:
Rear Underride Collisions
A rear underride collision happens when a passenger vehicle runs under the rear of a tractor-trailer or a straight truck. This can result from a poorly-marked truck or trailer either parked on the side of the road or moving slowly. Dirty, dim, or inoperative taillights and failure to use reflective triangles or emergency flashers can contribute to rear underride collisions.
Commercial trucks or semis may take a long time to slow down or accelerate when exiting or entering roadways. Drivers of passenger vehicles traveling at highway speeds of 55 mph to 75 mph are not expecting to encounter a truck moving at 10 mph. At night, drivers have difficulty accurately determining distance and closing speed. Trailers are required to be marked with retroreflective tape capable of reflecting light at great distances. The tape must be two inches tall with a red and white alternating pattern and placed on the sides and rear of the trailer. However, if the tape is dirty or badly worn, or the truck is at a steep angle to traffic, oncoming drivers may not be alerted that the trailer is there.
Side Underride Collisions
This type of wreck usually occurs at night or when the sun is at a low angle. It typically happens when a truck driver is attempting to:
- Cross or turn onto a highway or street;
- Execute a U-turn; or
- Back across traffic.
Oncoming drivers may not see a large truck crossing their path until an accident is unavoidable. A major factor in drivers' inability to see a crossing truck is how well it stands out from its background. Objects that are moving slowly or sitting still will be less obvious.
The size of a trailer in itself will not make it conspicuous at night. Approaching drivers must rely on side marker lights as their only clue to the presence of the trailer. Marker lights are small and can be placed as far apart as 26 feet. Trailers may not be identified by drivers until they are illuminated by the headlights of the oncoming vehicle, which will not occur until the vehicle is approximately 100 to 200 feet away - too close to stop at highway speeds.
Underride truck accidents can cause catastrophic or fatal injuries to passenger vehicle occupants. Commercial truck accidents can be complicated to resolve, particularly when there is more than one liable party. Your best course of action, to help ensure you recover the compensation you deserve, is to get an experienced lawyer on your side.
At The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., our Colorado Springs personal injury attorneys are dedicated to helping you recover full and fair compensation after a serious truck accident. Founding lawyer Timothy R. Bussey has been named one of the American Institute of Personal Injury's Top Ten Attorneys in Colorado. Contact us today at (719) 475-2555 if you or your loved one has been seriously injured in an underride collision.