Override accidents happen when a commercial truck rides over the back of a passenger car. If a passenger car rides under the rear of a large commercial truck, this is known as an underride accident. These truck accidents can be devastating due to the difference in size, weight, and height of the truck compared to the car. The truck may crush the people inside the passenger car, or the car may be unable to stop before going underneath the truck, causing serious or fatal injuries. Or the truck may cause the car’s gas tank to rupture, causing a horrific explosion. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has noted that about half of all truck-car accidents are override or underride accidents. If you were injured in an override or underride accident in Ohio, you should consult the Cleveland truck accident attorneys at Rubin Guttman & Associates, who have handled these cases for many years.Taking Legal Action After an Override Accident
Override accidents happen for various reasons. They may occur because a truck driver followed another car too closely, the truck driver failed to yield to traffic appropriately, the truck driver was speeding and was not able to stop quickly enough, there was a tire blowout, a trucker shifted lanes without checking on other traffic or signaling, or the driver was fatigued or simply not paying attention. Conversely, underride accidents can occur due to a truck not having operable brake lights underride guard rails, or because a truck driver was making a lane change without signaling or was backing up without checking for other vehicles.
If you are injured or a loved one is killed in an override accident, an injury attorney may be able to help you hold the truck driver liable for negligence. You will need to show that the truck driver’s unsafe driving caused the accident and your injuries. For example, you may be able to show that a truck driver was negligent if he or she was fatigued and failed to leave sufficient distance between the semi and the passenger vehicle in front of him, and then rode over the passenger car when the car needed to brake suddenly due to traffic.
Truck drivers are viewed as agents of the company that hires them. It may be possible to hold a trucking company indirectly liable under the doctrine of respondeat superior. This doctrine provides that a trucking company can be held responsible for damages caused by an employee who was negligent in the course and scope of employment.FMCSA Regulations
The FMCSA has implemented regulations that trucking companies must follow. Some of these regulations are put in place to try to prevent override accidents. Among other things, trucks that meet certain weight and size requirements must have reflective tape or reflector strips all around the trucks. Reflectors must be laid out in a certain way. Underride guards, which are steel bars, must be installed on tractor-trailers that weigh 10,000 pounds or more, precisely to stop passenger cars from slipping under a truck.
A trucking company may be held liable for its negligence with regard to disobeying the FMCSA regulations. For example, if it fails to install reflector strips appropriately, fails to maintain the protective steel bars or fails to keep brake lights on a truck properly maintained, and a car then slides under the truck because it wasn’t visible to the car’s driver, the trucking company may be liable, if that negligence was the cause of the accident..
The company may also be liable for failing to make sure that its driver was adequately rested before getting on the road or allowed him to stay on the road for too many hours without the FMCSA required rest period.
Sometimes override accidents result from defective truck parts. For example, if the brakes are defective, it may be possible to hold the truck manufacturer liable through a product liability lawsuit. And the trucking company may also be found at fault if it didn’t properly maintain the brakes or test them before the trip.Retain an Experienced Truck Crash Lawyer in the Cleveland Area
Override accidents as well as underride accidents can produce devastating injuries and deaths. They can also cause enormous medical expenses, lost wages and other financial losses for individuals and families affected by them. At Rubin Guttman & Associates, our experienced attorneys can investigate after an override accident in Ohio and hold the appropriate parties responsible in a civil lawsuit for damages. You can call us at (216) 696-4006 or (888) 488-8529, or contact us online to arrange a free initial consultation today. We will arrange a time and place to meet that is convenient for you, at your home, our office or even in the hospital. Russian, Hebrew, and Spanish language services are available by appointment. We assist victims in cities such as Cleveland, Parma, Lakewood, Euclid, Cleveland Heights, Strongsville, Akron, Columbus, Chardon, Toledo, Youngstown, Ravenna, Lorain, Mentor, Beachwood, and Elyria.