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Can I file a lawsuit after a rear-end semi crash if the truck underride guard failed?

Yes. A recent underride guard safety test completed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found while that underride guards can decrease serious injuries in a rear-end collision, they are only effective if the car strikes the guard head-on—and even then, the guard may fail.

The study raised concerns about the effectiveness of underride guards in relation to:

  • Overlap crashes. Instead of running crash tests that involve a car striking a trailer head-on, the Institute ran tests where a car struck the guard at an angle, causing the guard to overlap the front of the car. They found that when a car hits a trailer with only part of its front, the rear of the trailer was still able to cause severe underride, confirming that many guards only work as intended when a car strikes its center.
  • Testing procedures. Currently, underride guards do not have to be attached to the trailer to pass inspection. Typically, a trailer can be inspected before the underride guard is attached, as long as both are approved. Safety advocates suggest that this system is inefficient, as there is no way to tell how the guard will hold up unless the trailer and guard are bolted and welded together and tested as a complete unit.
  • Optional usage. While many companies choose to outfit their fleets with underride guards, some trucks are not required to have guards, leading owners to forgo their installation. Even if a company that uses trucks exempted from mandatory guards chooses to equip its fleet with guards, the guards it uses do not have to meet regulated safety standards. Until guards are both efficient and mandatory, it is unlikely that fleet owners will pay out of pocket for these safety improvements.

Your Settlement May Include Safety Improvements Along With Payment for Your Injuries

Thousands of drivers are injured each year as a result of colliding with the rear end of a semi. If you file a claim against the trucking company, you can help prevent someone else from suffering similar injuries in the future by forcing the company to maintain higher standards. If you wish to speak to an attorney about your accident, fill out the quick contact form on this page and an attorney at Wayne Wright LLP can come directly to you. Your contact with us is free, and you don’t owe us anything unless we win your case.