We read recently of a woman and two children involved in a violent crash south of Georgia. The 36-year-old Florida woman and two 8-year-old children had to be extricated from their Nissan Altima after it was in a crash with an 18-wheeler and became wedged under the big rig's trailer.
The woman was hospitalized with critical injuries and the two kids were taken to the hospital "as a precaution." A news photo of the Altima shows a crush, mangled block of metal that is barely recognizable as a car. It is a wonder that rescuers pulled anyone came out of there alive.
According to the news report, the Nissan was changing lanes when it sideswiped a BMW to its right before striking the 18-wheeler to its left. The big rig's fuel tank was ruptured as the Nissan was wedged beneath the large commercial truck.
Neither of the other two drivers was injured.
Unfortunately, this type of crash - known as truck underride - is what happens when a large truck and passenger car collide and the smaller vehicle goes under the bigger one. The results are typically catastrophic for the driver of the passenger vehicle: severe injuries and death are common.
The two vehicles in these collisions are mismatched: the bottom of the 18-wheeler is higher than the passenger car's hood. That means the impact point is not between the truck and the parts of the car designed to absorb impact (the front and sides) but rather between the truck and the car's windshield. That impact point obviously puts car occupants (especially those in the front seat) in extreme danger.
Though safety features exist to prevent these underride nightmares, the features are not required by law, so many commercial trucks are simply not outfitted with them.
If you or a loved one has been harmed in a tractor-trailer wreck, contact a law firm experienced in personal injury litigation.