Des Moines Underride Accident Lawyers
Some of the most terrifying and deadly truck accidents are known as underride collisions. These accidents occur when a passenger vehicle hits a truck or trailer and slides beneath the larger vehicle, sometimes crushing or shearing off the roof of the smaller car. Often, these crashes result from the negligence of the truck driver.
If you’ve been through an accident of this nature, you’ve survived a devastating ordeal. You deserve to have top-notch legal representation on your side to make sure you don’t pay for someone else’s mistake.
The award-winning Des Moines truck accident attorneys at LaMarca Law Group, P.C. have the knowledge and experience to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Call us at (515) 225-2600 right away to set up a free consultation. We won’t charge any fees until we win compensation for you.
Why You Need A Lawyer
An underride accident is a particularly catastrophic event, and it can permanently impact your life. Hospital and rehabilitation costs are more than one person can afford. If another party was responsible for your injuries, you need high-quality legal representation so that your medical costs, lost wages, damaged property, and other needs are addressed.
A good accident attorney will conduct a thorough investigation of the crash site to determine who was responsible for the accident. They can analyze the evidence, organize medical records, and hire experts to present a solid case for your compensation.
Your lawyer will negotiate aggressively with the insurance company on your behalf so that you can feel confident you’re getting the best possible deal. Insurance companies aren’t eager to pay settlements to accident victims, and a good attorney knows all the legal tricks that big insurers use to avoid paying what they owe.
Why Hire LaMarca Law Group, P.C. To Handle Your Case?
The accident attorneys at LaMarca Law Group, P.C. have been helping Iowans recover compensation for their accident injuries for decades.
We take pride in our ability to go up against big companies in service to our clients — regular people who need an advocate on their side. We have been recognized by numerous legal organizations and received many accolades for our level of service. U.S. News & World Report has listed our firm among the best personal injury litigators.
The most important thing for our firm is helping people like you. You can read about some of our past victories here. We work hard to make sure you get the best possible results.
Causes of Underride Accidents
Truck underride collisions happen when a smaller vehicle, such as a passenger car or motorcycle, crashes into a much larger truck or semi-trailer, sliding underneath the larger vehicle.
The top of the smaller vehicle may tear or shear off, and occupants can be seriously injured or killed.
There are two primary types of underride accidents:
Side underrides occur when another vehicle slides or is forced underneath a truck from either side. It may happen when a truck is turning or changing lanes and the driver doesn’t see the smaller vehicle in their path. Side underrides kill 200 people a year.
Rear underrides usually happen when a vehicle following a truck goes underneath the trailer from behind. This may occur because the driver of the smaller vehicle is following too closely and/or they are moving too fast, or they don’t see the truck because its warning lights are malfunctioning, or reflective strips are missing or dirty. It might even happen while the truck is parked, and the car’s driver doesn’t realize the truck is stopped. Inclement weather and low visibility at night contribute to the chances of such a collision.
Big-rig trucks are mandated by federal law to have rear underride guards installed. But if they’re not properly maintained, these safety devices may fail, falling away in a collision. Some trucks also feature side guards to prevent side underrides. These devices are not required, however, and may not be present when they are needed.
Many factors can lead to an underride accident, including:
- Aggressive or negligent driving
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Lack of adequate training on the part of the truck driver
- Slick roads
- Poor brakes
- Lack of side guards
- Poorly maintained or missing rear guard
- Low visibility
- Drivers misjudging the speed/maneuverability of surrounding trucks
It will require a detailed analysis of every aspect of the crash to determine exactly what happened and who is at fault for the accident.
Injuries Typical in Underride Accidents
Underride collisions are often catastrophic accidents, extremely damaging to the vehicles and people involved. The most vulnerable victims are often the ones inside the smaller vehicle, as it’s much lighter and provides less protection to its passengers.
The upper part of the passenger compartment collapses inward as it collides with the underside of the truck. Some of the safety features, such as airbags and seatbelts, are not helpful in an underride accident.
As a result, occupants can suffer severe injuries, some of which may include:
- Deep lacerations causing massive blood loss
- Organ or lung punctures from jagged metal or bone
- Broken and fractured bones
- Severed limbs
- Crushed torso and ribs
- Spinal cord damage and resulting paralysis
- Head and brain trauma from blunt impacts
- Decapitation and death
Even if your injuries in an accident like this seem minor or non-existent, it’s incredibly important that you get medical attention immediately. The human body is fragile, and you may have hidden damage or internal wounds that won’t manifest until much later. These invisible problems could become life-threatening if not properly treated right away, and any insurance compensation will partly depend on your doctor’s diagnosis.
Frequently Asked Questions About Underride Accidents
If you’ve just been through an accident of this nature, you undoubtedly have questions about your case. Underride accidents are complex and can involve confusing questions of liability and accident physics. While your attorney is the best source for answers about your case, here are a few answers to common questions.
Who Is Liable in An Underride Accident?
Liability in a case like this depends on who was primarily at fault for causing the crash. This can be tricky to determine, as a number of factors may have been involved. If a car was following a truck too closely when the accident occurred, the driver of the car could be at fault. If the truck had faulty warning lights or was missing underride safety features, or the accident occurred due to equipment failure, the manufacturer or trucking company may be responsible. If the truck made a sudden maneuver into the lane of another vehicle, the driver may be at fault.
If Both Parties Were at Fault, Who Gets Compensated?
Iowa’s comparative fault law helps the court determine how much compensation to award each party in an accident. The court assigns a percentage of fault to each side, and their compensation is reduced by the amount that they contributed to the accident. For example, if you are found 25 percent at fault for the collision and you are awarded $100,000 in compensation, you would only receive $75,000. If one party is more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, they are unable to recover any damages.
What Can I Be Compensated For?
Each case is different, and the compensation in your own case is dependent on how badly you were injured and other factors in the accident. Compensation can help you recover from this terrible situation and move forward with your life.
Depending on your needs, your compensation could cover:
- Medical and hospitalization bills
- Painkillers and prescription drugs
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Home rehabilitation and care
- Damages related to pain and suffering
- Psychological and emotional treatment
- Replacement of damaged or destroyed property
- Future medical bills and expenses
- Loss of income or spousal consortium due to disability or death
- Burial and funeral expenses, as well as wrongful death
When you meet with your attorney, you will explore all the ways the accident has affected your life and consider how much money you’ll need to heal. It can be difficult to put a price on your recovery, but these categories provide a starting point to determine how much compensation you could seek.
Speak with An Underride Accident Legal Specialist Today
If you or a loved one is a survivor of an underride accident, you need high-quality legal representation right away. This is an extremely difficult and painful ordeal. You shouldn’t have to face it alone.
We understand what you’re going through because we help many other clients every day facing the same circumstances. Our seasoned accident law specialists will make sure that the system works in your favor while you recover from your injuries and get back to living a normal life.
Give us a call today at (515) 225-2600 or fill out our contact form to get started on your case.