Override and Underride Accidents: Causes and Unique Issues in Accident Claims

Truck crashes can cause a great deal of destruction for victims in Denver. But some of the most deadly are override and underride accidents. Those who do survive oftentimes sustain severe injuries. It’s critical to understand the legal options that may be available if you or a loved one is a victim.

What are override and underride accidents?

In an override, the truck literally rides over a vehicle either partially or completely. These accidents can happen as the front of a truck – especially those with higher bumpers – passes over top of the back of another vehicle. It might also occur in head-on collisions.

Underride accidents are the result of a vehicle crashing into a truck and sliding underneath it. This more commonly happens on the side or back of a trailer. In both types of accidents, occupants of a vehicle can be pinned or crushed. But with an underride, it can lead to serious or fatal head injuries. It may even cause decapitation in severe cases.

What causes override and underride accidents?

The cause of the accident depends on which driver had acted negligently. For instance, when a passenger car slides underneath the back of a truck it could be a result of tailgating. But if it was a multi-vehicle accident, it may have been someone from behind who struck the passenger car and pushed it into the back of the truck.

Override accidents may be the result of a large truck tailgating the smaller vehicle and failing to stop in time. It may also be related to a truck traveling at a high rate of speed.

Each accident would need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine the cause and liability. If the truck driver was at fault, victims can file a claim against the trucker and the trucking company.

What issues might there be if filing an injury claim after an override or underride accident?

The careless or reckless actions that led to the accident is one issue to consider when it comes to establishing fault and liability for an accident and resultant damages. But another very important consideration is the fact that trucks are supposed to be equipped with guards that stop a vehicle from sliding underneath.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that rear guards not be higher than 22 inches from the ground across the entire width of the back of the truck. There shouldn’t be a gap large enough that would allow a smaller vehicle to slide underneath.

If the guard was higher than it should be, it may factor into a claim. An argument could be made that the occupants of the motor vehicle wouldn’t have sustained severe or fatal injuries had the truck met federal regulations.

Another issue that can come up is when the guard fails. Some aren’t designed properly and so a vehicle can end up sliding underneath anyway; and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a high-impact crash. Even a low impact collision may cause the guard to not work appropriately. This could impact a claim when assessing the victim’s injuries.

Should I seek legal advice after the accident?

It’s very important to seek legal advice whenever a truck accident causes serious or fatal injuries. These types of accidents often do. There are many factors to consider—such as fault, trucking laws and guard failure—and in many cases it would be in the best interest of a victim or the family of a victim to consult with an attorney. Contact D.J. Banovitz in the Denver area at 303-300-5060 to explore the details of your case and your legal options.

D.J. Banovitz’ career has always concentrated on trial practice and he has litigated hundreds of cases. His passion and sole career focus has been to seek justice for people suffering from personal injuries as the result of someone else’s negligence. The hallmark of the Law Office of D.J. Banovitz, is the total commitment to professionalism, quality, and personalized care of your injury case. D.J. has dedicated his professional life to helping those most in need and is a proud and active member of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association. His experience includes volunteering for Colorado Rural Legal Services in Montrose, the Colorado Aids Project, consumer law, family law, criminal defense, and Alternative Defense Counsel for juveniles in Denver.