Underride and Override Truck Accidents in Florida

By Osborne & Francis
July 18, 2024

Although any truck accident can be catastrophic, underride and override accidents are almost always severe. The law firm of Osborne & Francis can help if you’ve suffered a severe injury due to someone else’s negligence. We have a great deal of experience in truck accident cases, and we’ll work passionately to ensure you obtain maximum compensation. Please use our online form or call 561-293-2600 for a free case review.

What is an Underride Accident?

An underride accident happens when a smaller vehicle, such as a car or motorcycle, collides with the side or rear of a large truck and slides underneath it. This can occur due to various reasons, such as sudden stops by the truck, inadequate warning signs, or poor visibility at night or during adverse weather conditions. 

Underride accidents can cause devastating injuries to the smaller vehicle's occupants, often leading to fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), underride accidents led to more than 400 deaths in 2021.

What is an Override Accident?

An override accident is the opposite of an underride accident but just as horrible. It occurs when a large truck collides with a smaller vehicle from behind or on the side and ends up riding over it. The height and weight of the truck can lead to catastrophic damage to the smaller vehicle and its occupants, resulting in serious injuries or death.

Common Causes of Underride and Override Accidents

As with all truck accidents, there are many reasons why underride and override accidents occur. These are some of the more common causes.

  • Driver negligence: Both underride and override accidents can occur due to driver negligence, such as distracted driving, speeding, and impaired driving. Another contributing factor is fatigue. Drivers must follow a federal regulation known as the Hours of Service Rule. The government enacted the rule to reduce truckers staying behind the wheel for too many consecutive hours. Driving a truck is dangerous enough when operators have plenty of rest. When they break this regulation, they can cause severe accidents.
  • Brake Failure: Inadequate brake maintenance or malfunction can cause trucks to stop suddenly, leading to underride accidents.
  • Poor Visibility: Trucks have large blind spots, and if a driver fails to check them properly, they may change lanes or merge, causing an underride or override accident.
  • Lack of Protective Equipment: If trucks don’t have side underride guards, which are designed to prevent underride accidents, that can significantly increase the chances of a tragedy. The NHTSA estimates that if all trucks had these guards, 17 lives could be saved annually, and 69 severe injuries could be prevented.
  • Weather Conditions: Adverse weather conditions like heavy rain or fog can reduce visibility and increase the likelihood of underride and override accidents.

Injuries Resulting from Truck Accidents

Truck accidents, particularly underride and override accidents, often result in severe injuries, such as:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): These can lead to long-term cognitive and physical impairments. Severe TBI can leave the victim unable to perform even the most basic daily tasks, such as making meals or bathing.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Victims of override or underride accidents can experience paralysis or permanent disability.
  • Multiple fractures: Due to the immense force of the impact, victims can suffer bones that are broken so badly they lose the use of the affected limb.
  • Internal injuries: Organ damage and internal bleeding may not always be apparent. But if a victim doesn’t receive immediate treatment, they may not survive. This is one of the many reasons a truck accident victim must see a doctor as soon as possible for a thorough investigation.

Who’s At-Fault for My Truck Accident?

Determining fault in a truck accident can be complex. It may involve investigating the actions of the truck driver and the victim. Common factors that contribute to fault include:

The Truck Driver

If an investigation shows the truck's driver contributed to or caused the accident, they can face liability. As you learned earlier, drivers are often impaired behind the wheel or violate Hours of Service rules and drive while fatigued.

The Trucking Company 

A victim could sue the trucking company for failing to maintain the truck properly, hiring unqualified drivers, or encouraging drivers to violate regulations. Many trucking companies are so obsessed with making a profit that they ignore the safety of their drivers and everyone else on the road. When they do, a truck accident lawsuit can hold them accountable.

Third-Party Liability for Underride and Override Truck Accidents in Florida

Apart from the truck driver and the trucking company, third parties may be liable for the accident. For example, if a part, such as a defective braking system, failed and caused the wreck, the manufacturer of that part could be liable. The company that loaded the truck could be to blame if the cargo came loose and the driver lost control. If a maintenance company failed to fix a problem, and that problem led to the wreck, that company might face liability as well. 

The Legal Process for a Truck Accident in Florida

Filing a truck accident claim in Florida typically involves the following steps:

  • Investigation: This includes gathering evidence and witness statements and reviewing police reports to establish liability. You must hire an attorney immediately so they can investigate and collect evidence before it disappears.
  • Filing the claim: Once the attorney’s investigation is complete, they’ll send a claim to the at-fault party's insurance company.
  • Negotiation: Your lawyer will work with the insurer to obtain a fair settlement.
  • Litigation: If the insurer refuses to settle, your attorney will file a lawsuit to pursue compensation through the court system.

Recovering Damages After an Underride or Override Accident

If you’ve suffered a severe injury or lost a loved one in a truck accident caused by the negligence of another person or company, you can take legal action to recover your financial losses. These losses are called “damages.” Here are a few examples.

Medical Expenses

You may need extensive treatment to recover physically. This treatment may include surgery, rehabilitation, medicine, doctor’s visits, etc. The resulting costs could be astronomical.

Lost Wages

You deserve compensation for time missed from work due to injuries. You can recover the wages you’ve already lost and the money you will likely lose in the future. Some people suffer injuries that are so severe they can’t work again. If they can, they might not be able to return to the same profession. They may have to take a job that pays much less. A skilled attorney will work to help you recover all of your lost future earnings as well.

Pain and Suffering

Not only do accident victims experience physical pain, they will often endure emotional distress as well. If this has happened to you, an attorney can help you obtain compensation for those “non-economic” damages. 

Wrongful Death Damages

Surviving family members may seek damages through a wrongful death claim if a loved one was killed in the accident.

Contact Osborne & Francis to Work With an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been involved in an underride or override truck accident in Florida, it's essential to seek legal representation. An experienced truck accident attorney, like those at Osborne & Francis, will do everything possible to help you get the money you deserve. Give us a call at 561-293-2600 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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