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Override and Underride Truck Accidents

There are many large semi-trucks and 18-wheelers on the highways and interstates of Seattle, Kirkland, and Olympia. Drivers mostly see them on I-5 and 405 heading north and south, but they are also on other highways across Washington State.

Most of the time there is no problem with these large semi-trucks, but on occasion there are accidents with them that can be deadly to those who come in contact them. The most deadly, by far, of accidents involving semi-trucks and 18-wheelers are called “override” or “underride” accidents.

What is an override accident? This is when a car, though it could also be a truck or SUV, but most times when a car is run over by a 18-wheeler or semi-truck. These accidents are often very serious because if the car is not run over by an 18-wheeler, at the very least the car is stuck under the truck.

These accidents occur when the truck cannot stop and runs over the smaller car. Override accidents normally occur when one of the following, or all of the following potentially, happen to a driver:

  • A truck driver follows another car too closely
  • Weather conditions, such as rain and fog, make it hard to see how close a car is in front of the trucker
  • The trucker is distracted
  • The trucker is drowsy from driving too much
  • A tire blows out
  • The truck has brake issues
  • The trucker changes suddenly without checking his rearview mirror
  • There are mechanical issues with the truck

There are also instances when an “underride” accident occurs. An underride accident happens when a car or truck, normally a small car or a sports car, gets stuck under a truck. This can happen because of weather conditions or because a truck suddenly changes lanes without checking to make sure there isn’t a car in the lane.

Washington State Override and Underride Trucking Accident Laws

Semi-trucks and 18-wheelers are normally considered commercial vehicles, which means more government regulation and larger insurance policies insuring the vehicle. The government imposes stricter regulations on commercial vehicles. 18 wheeler vehicles that are not considered commercial vehicles, such as 18-wheelers, are much freer to enter residential neighborhoods and streets, because 18-wheelers and more traditional commercial vehicles are prohibited from entering such streets and neighborhoods.

There are two sources of fault when there is an accident with a utility truck that is not your fault. It is either the driver’s fault or the truck company’s fault. On some rare occasions, there can be a combination of both.

Common reasons for underride or override truck accidents when the driver is at fault:

  • Driver fatigue
  • Driver inexperience
  • Driver inattention
  • Driver distraction

In order for a commercial driver to be on the road in Washington State, they need to have what is called a CDL or a commercial driver’s license. This kind of license is not easy to obtain. A driver must pass a background check and pass several fitness tests as well. In addition, responsible companies should also have internal background and fitness checks with which they screen their applicants. However, as you can imagine, companies do not always do their due diligence in hiring a trucker for their company.

While the majority of truck accidents are the result of driver error, there can also be instances when the truck company is at fault. Common reasons for truck accidents when the company is at fault:

  • Tire blowouts
  • Brake problems
  • Vehicle maintenance issues
  • Failing to properly screen or vet drivers

Sometimes truck companies fail to properly maintain their vehicles and they put their drivers in trucks that are not safe, for a variety of reasons, ranging from brakes that are aging and faulty, tires that are bald and need replacing, and other mechanical issues that need addressed and fixed. If this is the case, the company shares responsibility for the accident they caused.

There are times, however, the insurance company for the truck company will attempt to conceal internal company documents that show how neglectful the company has been in properly and safely maintaining their utility trucks, depending on how many they have in their fleet.

Common Override or Underride Truck Accident Injuries

If you have been in an accident with a large semi-truck or 18 wheeler, chances are you facing serious injuries. These vehicles are usually quite large, larger than normal cars or SUVs most commonly on the road. The most common injuries associated with large semi truck injuries are:

  • Whiplash
  • Concussion
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • ACL or MCL tears
  • Broken bones

If you have suffered any of these injuries, the likelihood is not good that these injuries will resolve on their own. In most instances, you will have to see a medical professional to help you recover. Aside from primary care doctors, the most common kinds of healthcare providers to treat people who have been in accidents with 18 wheeler trucks are osteopaths, physiatrists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and physical therapists.

Any of these healthcare providers can render quality care to you and they likely know the appropriate specialist who can treat you if you have been injured by a large truck.

How The Jackman Law Firm can Help

If you have been injured by an 18 wheeler truck, then you are likely in one of the more difficult times of your life. You are likely facing phone calls from insurance companies, medical appointments, you may be losing money from work since you are unable to work, and many phone calls from insurance companies. If this is the case, why go through this process alone? The Jackman Law Firm can help you recover:

  • Money for lost wages
  • Money for pain and suffering
  • Money for medical bills
  • Money for lost wages

The Jackman Law Firm can assist you with all of these things. In addition, we can stand between you and the insurance company for the truck. While it is not common, there are also instances when the truck company’s insurance company may allege that you were either partly or completely at fault for the accident. If this unfortunate and untrue allegation is brought against you, then you need an attorney who can help you.

The Jackman Law Firm can assist you by sending subpoenas for any video footage that may have captured the accident, interviewing witnesses and bystanders, and speaking to the police, assuming an investigation was done. If it is clear that the vehicle was not properly maintained, then the Jackman Law Firm has the resources and experience to investigate the company internally and find out if the company was failing to properly maintain their vehicle, such as not checking and fixing their brakes, making sure the tires are properly maintained and inflated, and making sure the vehicle is safe to be on the road.

If you have questions about your 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident, feel free to call for a free consultation to discuss your case.

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