Underride accidents are horrifying and often fatal. They occur when a passenger car hits a truck from the rear or side and slides under it. This can take the roof off the car and kill the people inside the car. Even when this type of accident occurs at low speeds, it can kill the driver and passengers in the car. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in an underride accident, you may have a basis to bring a civil lawsuit for damages. The experienced Chicago truck accident attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca may be able to help you.Holding a Trucker Accountable for an Underride Accident
Truck underride accidents occur when a passenger car runs under a tractor-trailer or similar truck, taking the roof off the car and possibly decapitating the people inside it.
If the people inside the car are luckier, the impact occurs near an axle, stopping the car from riding completely under the truck. Sometimes the underride occurs from the side of the truck, while at other times, it may occur from the rear. Injuries that can result include brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, back trauma, neck trauma, limb loss, nerve damage, paralysis, and lacerations.
Underride accidents can be caused by different factors, including a lack of safety guard rails along the sides and to the rear of the truck, a lack of reflector lights or tape on the sides or back of the truck, a truck's non-functioning brake lights, a truck driver who fails to use signals while making turns, running red lights, or disobeying traffic laws.
In some cases, a truck driver's negligence causes an underride accident. For example, a truck driver who fails to use indicators of a turn or who runs red lights or otherwise disobeys a traffic law may cause an underride accident. To hold the truck driver liable, our attorneys will need to establish negligence by a preponderance of the evidence, showing that the truck driver owed you a duty, the truck driver breached this duty, actual and proximate causation connected the breach to the accident, and you suffered actual damages.
When there is a problem with the truck that is maintenance-related, such as a lack of reflector lights, non-functioning brake lights, or a failure to maintain the guardrails, it is possible that the trucking company's negligence contributed to the accident. In that case, we would also need to establish that the company breached a duty to use reasonable care, thereby causing injuries.
In some cases, a defective guardrail causes an underride accident. In that case, it may be possible to hold the truck manufacturer liable for a defective design. There are various theories that may be appropriate to assert in an Illinois product liability action against the manufacturer, including strict liability.
The types of damages that we may be able to recover depend on whether the underride accident caused injuries or death. A personal injury plaintiff may be able to recover damages such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost wages, lost earning capacity, out-of-pocket costs, replacement services, and loss of consortium.
The loved ones of somebody who was killed in an underride accident may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Damages recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit are for the benefit of a surviving spouse or next of kin of the decedent. Damages are distributed to the surviving spouse and others based on the extent of their dependency on the decedent. Damages recovered by the surviving spouse and next of kin may include grief, sorrow, and mental suffering, as well as loss of care and companionship. If the estate incurred the costs of the funeral, it can recoup those expenses from the damages award.Seek Guidance for Your Truck Accident Case from a Chicago Attorney
If you were injured or a loved one was killed in an underride accident in Chicago, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we also represent accident victims in Aurora, Springfield, Champaign, Rockford, and Quincy, as well as other areas of Cook, Kane, Sangamon, Champaign, Winnebago, and Adams Counties. You can call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525 for a free consultation. We can help you determine whom to sue and bring a claim against all of the parties that may be liable.