Serious Injuries from Tractor-Trailer Underide Accidents in Georgia


December 18, 2010

The trucking industry generates an estimated revenue of 255.2 billion annually. Tractor-trailers can be a valuable tool allowing companies to transport merchandise and supplies to stores and businesses. Most truck drivers are well-trained and professional. It has been estimated that we share the roadways with as many as 3.3 million tractor-trailers. But the vast reach of the trucking industry also has a darker side.

Tractor-trailers (also known as "Big Rigs" and "18 Wheelers") are often involved in serious trucking accidents with horrific results. The sheer size and weight of tractor-trailers means that when they are involved in a collision the results are often serious injuries and fatalities. Few types of tractor-trailer accidents are more gruesome and fatal than underride accidents where a passenger vehicle literally becomes lodged under the body of the tractor-trailer. The attorneys at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, have been representing people seriously injured or killed in commercial trucking accidents throughout Georgia for over 25 years. This article will provide an explanation and overview of tractor-trailer underride accidents.

Tractor-Trailer underride accidents occur when the front end of an automobile collides with the rear or side of a commercial truck. The engine block and hood of a car are often less than 30 inches above the ground whereas the underside of a big rig is usually more than 45 inches off the ground. A collision can lead to the passenger car traveling under the underside of the commercial truck so that it almost immediately penetrates into the passenger compartment of a car. While many newer tractor-trailers have been equipped with safety equipment such as reflective yellow tape or rear bumpers that are only 22 inches off the ground, many tractor-trailers on the road do not have these important safety features. The failure of the trucking industry to provide these safety measures to many commercial trucks on the road mean more horrific underride trucking accidents, which often result in the passenger vehicle having its top literally ripped off of the vehicle. Serious injuries including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, crush injuries and decapitations are common in underride accidents.

Some common causes of negligence by others that may contribute to an underride accident include:

• Defective Car: A car may malfunction because of such issues as faulty brakes or improperly constructed tires

• Another Vehicle Driver: A multi-car accident can result in another vehicle literally pushing a car under the commercial truck

• Bad Weather: Bad weather can lead to slippery road conditions or difficulty seeing yellow warning tape

• Poor Road Maintenance: Sometimes public entities fail to properly maintain roadways

Regardless of the cause, an underride commercial trucking accident often means tragic results for the occupants of a passenger car. The injuries sustained in these types of accidents often mean serious injuries that entail a lifetime of future rehabilitation, nursing care and permanent loss of the ability to work. A person who is seriously injured in an underride big rig accident may seek compensation including lost wages, pain and suffering, vehicle damage, lost earning capacity, disfigurement and loss of companionship. If the accident leads to the death of the accident victim, the family of the accident victim may also recover for wrongful death.

Trucking accident lawsuits pose particular challenges because of the often nebulous relationship between tractor-trailer operators and commercial trucking companies. The relationship is often classified as an independent contractor relationship so that the trucking company can argue that they are not liable for injuries caused by the truck operator. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we have seen trucking accident lawyers use this ruse frequently. We are familiar with such trucking industry tactics and will carefully investigate so that we can obtain the evidence to show employment relationships between the trucking company and the truck operator.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured or killed in a trucking accident, Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, can help you and your family seek just compensation. Our Georgia 18 wheeler truck accident lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333 or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com. No matter where you are located, we are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.

Category: Truck Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.