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18-Wheeler Underride Accident

18-Wheeler Underride Accidents in Texas & How to Recover Damages

Aug 4, 2023 | 18-Wheeler Accident

The article was Last Updated on

18-Wheeler underride accidents are among the most severe truck accidents, often resulting in catastrophic injuries or fatalities. If you have been involved in a truck underride accident in Texas, seeking legal representation from a skilled attorney who can assist you in recovering damages is crucial. Here is how Walker Texas Lawyer can help you understand truck underride accidents in Texas and how to recover damages.

What is A Truck Underride Accident, and How Do They Occur?

A truck underride accident occurs when a smaller vehicle crashes into the rear or sides of a large truck and becomes wedged underneath the truck’s trailer. These accidents can result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities due to the significant force and lack of protection for the smaller vehicle’s occupants.

To understand why truck underride accidents occur, it’s important to consider the size and dimensions of 18-wheelers or tractor-trailers. These commercial vehicles can be up to 70 feet long and weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. Due to their massive size and weight, they have higher ground clearance than passenger vehicles. Consequently, when a smaller car collides with the rear or sides of a truck, the vehicle can slide under the truck’s trailer, leading to devastating consequences.

18-Wheeler Underride Accidents Can Happen For Various Reasons:

  1. Poor Visibility: Inadequate lighting on the rear or sides of the truck can make it difficult for drivers to see the car at night or during adverse weather conditions. This lack of visibility increases the risk of a smaller vehicle crashing into the truck and trapped underneath.
  2. Inadequate Truck Safety Features: Some trucks may need more safety features, such as rear guards or side skirts. These safety features are designed to prevent or reduce the severity of underride accidents. They create a barrier between the truck’s trailer and the oncoming vehicle.
  3. Distracted Driving: Truck and passenger vehicle drivers can be distracted while on the road. Distractions such as cell phone use, eating, or other activities can lead to a loss of focus and increase the likelihood of a collision.
  4. Inadequate Maintenance: Poorly maintained trucks may have malfunctioning brake lights, reflective tape, or other safety systems, making them less visible to other drivers, especially in low-light conditions.

It’s important to note that truck underride accidents can occur in various scenarios. However, the most common ones involve a rear-end collision or a side-swipe collision.

Side-Swipe Collisions

Side-swipe truck underride accidents can occur due to a combination of factors. One of the main reasons is the lack of visibility for both the truck driver and the driver of the smaller vehicle. The large size of 18-wheelers can create blind spots along the truck’s sides. This makes it challenging for the driver to see vehicles traveling alongside them. Additionally, the smaller vehicle’s driver may also have difficulty seeing the truck due to its height and positioning. This limited visibility increases the risk of a side-swipe collision, especially when both vehicles change lanes or maneuver in proximity.

Another contributing factor is driver error or negligence, such as failing to properly check blind spots. Additionally, making sudden lane changes without signaling, or misjudging distance and speed can cause accidents. These errors can lead to the smaller vehicle colliding with the side of the truck, potentially resulting in the vehicle becoming trapped underneath the trailer.

Rear Collisions

Rear-end 18-wheeler underride accidents can occur due to several factors. One significant factor is the difference in braking capabilities between large trucks and smaller vehicles. Due to their size and weight, trucks require a longer stopping distance than passenger cars. If a smaller vehicle follows too closely behind a truck, the driver may not have sufficient time to react and brake to avoid a collision. This can result in the smaller vehicle crashing into the back of the truck. Thus, sliding underneath the trailer, leading to a rear-end truck underride accident. Another contributing factor is the lack of visibility and awareness. The size and height of trucks can obstruct the view of the smaller vehicle driver, making it challenging to see any sudden braking or changes in traffic conditions ahead.

In some cases, distracted driving, such as texting or adjusting the radio, can further reduce a driver’s ability to anticipate and react to a truck’s sudden stop. To prevent rear-end truck underride accidents, drivers must maintain a safe following distance. Furthermore, drivers need to remain alert, and always be prepared to react to sudden changes in traffic conditions. Additionally, truck safety measures such as rear guards and advanced warning systems can help mitigate the severity of these accidents by providing additional protection and alerting drivers to potential hazards on the road.

Common Injuries That Can Occur In Truck Accidents

Truck accidents can result in severe injuries due to the massive size and weight disparity between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles. The force of the impact can cause life-changing injuries for those involved. Here are some common injuries that can occur in truck accidents:

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

The jarring impact of a truck accident can cause head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries. TBIs can vary in severity, ranging from mild to severe, and may result in long-term cognitive impairments and disabilities.

Spinal Cord Injuries

The abrupt jolt or force of a truck collision can damage the spinal cord, leading to paralysis or loss of control and sensation below the injury site. Spinal cord injuries can have a profound impact on a person’s quality of life, requiring significant medical and rehabilitative interventions.

Neck and Back Injuries

Whiplash is a common neck injury when the head is abruptly jerked forward and backward. It can cause neck pain, stiffness, and limited mobility. Back injuries, such as herniated discs or fractured vertebrae, can also occur and may result in chronic pain and impairment.

Fractures and Broken Bones

The impact of a truck accident can cause fractures and broken bones throughout the body, including the arms, legs, ribs, and pelvis. These injuries often require immediate medical attention, surgeries, and extensive rehabilitation.

Internal Organ Damage

The force from a truck accident can cause internal injuries, such as ruptured organs, internal bleeding, or damage to vital organs like the liver, spleen, or kidneys. Internal injuries can be life-threatening and require immediate medical intervention.

Burn Injuries

In some truck accidents, fuel leaks or fires can occur, leading to severe burn injuries. Burns can cause significant pain, scarring, and long-term complications that may require extensive medical treatment and reconstructive procedures.

Psychological Trauma

Truck accidents can also cause significant psychological trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression. These psychological injuries can profoundly impact a person’s mental health and overall well-being.

It is important to note that the severity and extent of injuries in a truck accident can vary depending on various factors, including the speed of the vehicles involved, the angle of impact, and the safety measures in place. If you have been injured in a truck accident, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention. Additionally, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your rights and seek compensation for your injuries and damages.

Recovering Damages From A 18-Wheeler Underride Accidents

If you have been involved in a truck underride accident, you may be entitled to recover damages for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering. Recovering damages in a truck underride accident can be challenging. Trucking companies often have powerful legal teams and insurance companies who will vigorously defend their interests. That’s where Walker Texas Lawyer comes in. With over 40 years of experience handling truck accident cases, Walker Texas Lawyer profoundly understands the complexities of 18-wheeler underride accidents. James Walker can help you build a solid case to recover damages. He will investigate the accident’s circumstances, gather necessary evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and, if necessary, take your case to trial to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages.

Additionally, Walker Texas Lawyer understands the importance of identifying all liable parties in a truck underride accident. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, liability may lie with the truck driver, the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, or other parties. Walker Texas Lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation to determine who was responsible for the accident. Our goal is to hold the responsiable party to ensure you receive compensation for your injuries and damages.

Schedule a Consultation With A Houston Truck Accident Lawyer

Truck underride accidents can be devastating, leaving victims with severe injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you are in a 18-wheeler underride accident in Texas, it is critical to seek legal representation. You need a skilled personal injury attorney who understands the complexities of 18-wheeler accidents and can help you recover damages. As a leading personal injury attorney, Walker Texas Lawyer has years of experience handling truck accident cases. He is dedicated to fighting for your rights. He will provide compassionate and personalized representation, helping you navigate the legal process and obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact Walker Texas Lawyer today to discuss your truck underride accident and obtain the legal representation you need to recover damages.

Other Truck Accident Resources

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Understanding The Causes Of Serious Commercial Truck Accidents

What to Avoid After a Truck Accident in Texas

What to Do After a Stalled 18-Wheeler Accident

What To Do If You Are In An 18-Wheeler Accident


For more information, contact Houston’s accident law firm of Walker Texas Lawyer by calling (713) 552-1117.

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James Walker - Walker Texas Lawyer James Walker is a Personal Injury Attorney in Houston, Texas. He has over 40 years of legal experience and has helped over 25,000 clients. This means he has demonstrated his extensive knowledge of legal procedures. He knows how to handle insurance companies. If insurance companies refuse to give you a fair shake, they will take the insurance companies to court. He knows the law inside and out. He knows what he’s doing.

Walker will try to settle your case without going to court. But if that doesn’t work, he is ready and prepared to take your case before a judge. He is Houston’s Personal Injury Lawyer for a reason; he will fight for you, seek the maximum compensation on your behalf, and make sure you get what you deserve after an accident.