Oklahoma Override and Underride Trucking Accident Lawyers

Any time a large truck collides with a passenger vehicle, there is likely to be severe damage to the passenger vehicle and injury to its occupants. The size and weight of an 18-wheel truck or other large truck make the potential for harm in a truck accident far greater than what’s likely in a car accident.

The height of tractor-trailers, semi-trucks or other commercial vehicles also poses unique dangers to other motorists sharing the road. Two types of accidents involving large trucks, called “override” and “underride” accidents, create potentially fatal situations for passenger car occupants. Both types of accidents occur because commercial truck bodies sit so much higher off the ground than other vehicles.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident anywhere in the state of Oklahoma, the attorneys Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons can help. Our Oklahoma City law firm investigates truck accidents and helps those injured recover compensation for their medical expenses and other losses.

What is an Underride Truck Accident?

When cars, SUVs or pickup trucks collide, the vehicles’ bumpers and crumple zones are designed to absorb much of the impact. The crumple zones, along with airbags and other safety features, protect vehicle occupants. Because of their higher ground clearance, however, trucks often do not collide with passenger cars squarely.

When cars hit the back or sides of trucks, they sometimes slide underneath the truck trailer. This is an underride accident. Because a car’s hood can fit under a truck or trailer, the car’s passenger compartment may be the first thing to hit during an accident, leading to car occupants taking the full brunt of the impact. In high-speed collisions, the upper passenger compartment can partially sheer off with deadly results.

Rear underride guards—metal bars that hang from the backs of trailers—are supposed to prevent underride in rear-end collision. But many underride guards that meet federal standards can fail in relatively low-speed crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which conducts crash testing.

Underride accidents also can occur in a side-impact collision if a car passes under the side of a truck trailer. Underride guards are improving and are being developed for the sides of trailers, as well, the IIHS says.

A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that underride occurred in about 75 percent of rear-end accidents in which the striking vehicle was a light vehicle (passenger vehicle). The underride was to the windshield or beyond in 36 percent of light-vehicle impacts.

An Oklahoma underride accident attorney at Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simmons can review the details of your accident and discuss your legal options to seek compensation.

Override Truck Accidents

In an override accident, a truck drives over part of another vehicle.

If a large truck runs into an automobile or small pickup truck, the tractor-trailer, because it sits higher, can run up onto the smaller vehicle. In most override collisions, the truck is moving at a high speed. After its front strikes the passenger car, its momentum carries it up and over the smaller vehicle.

The NHTSA study cited above found that override occurs in almost 75 percent of crashes involving the front of the truck.

An Oklahoma override accident lawyer can discuss your rights to hold an at-fault driver financially liable after a crash.

How Do Underride and Override Accidents Happen?

There are two main situations in which a truck drives over another vehicle. In the first, the truck is following a car too closely (“tailgating”). This type of aggressive driving makes it impossible for the trucker to brake quickly enough to avoid a collision if the car in front stops or slows down unexpectedly. If following too closely, the truck will likely strike and ride up onto the car in front, crushing the occupants inside.

The second type of override occurs when a truck attempts a turn and, while doing so, the trailer smashes into the passenger compartment of a vehicle alongside the truck.


Truck driver errors that can contribute to an override or underride accident include:

  • Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
  • Aggressive driving, such as frequent lane changes
  • General negligence, such as not noticing that traffic is slowing or failing to look closely enough before making a turn
  • Fatigued driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Drugged driving.

Underride accidents may occur for similar reasons. Tailgating a truck or getting too close to the side of a trailer can lead to a car riding under a trailer in a rear-end accident.

When trucks do not have underride guards in violation of the law or their guards are outdated, or the truck’s warning lights or brake lights are not working, the truck itself may have contributed to any rear-end accident that occurred.

To avoid this type of vehicle accident, you should make sure to leave adequate distance between your vehicle and a truck in front of you or behind you. If possible, pull away from a truck or let it get farther down the road ahead of you.

Contact our law office in Oklahoma City now

What to Know About Dealing with Trucking Companies and Insurers After a Truck Crash

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident that the truck driver caused, you should be compensated for your losses. However, many commercial trucks on Oklahoma highways are owned by large corporations.

The trucking company will try to protect itself from accident claims. A trucking company may dispatch lawyers to the scene after a serious accident to head off legal claims. Independent truckers can simply disappear if there is no one to track them down for you.

After any vehicle accident that has caused serious injury, those who have been injured should understand their legal rights by consulting with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer. You should never accept a settlement or sign anything without the advice of an accident attorney whom you have engaged. You could easily sign away your legal rights to demand compensation for your losses.

The legal team at Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons investigates underride and override trucking accidents throughout Oklahoma on behalf of injured drivers and passengers. Our Oklahoma City truck accident attorneys have the in-depth knowledge, experience, and resources required to conduct a thorough accident investigation and develop solid legal claims for compensation for our clients.

Dealing with Trucking Companies and Insurers After a Crash


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