Any truck accident carries a high level of risk due to the massive size of the truck itself. It sits higher than a passenger car, and it can weigh up to 80,000 pounds — as compared to a 4,000-pound car. The crash between those two vehicles is much more dangerous for those in the smaller car, and the occupants face far higher chances of passing away.

One of the most dangerous types of truck crashes is the underride accident. As one traffic forensics expert put it: “Underride collisions are likely the most horrific and most deadly types of crashes.”

In these accidents, as the name implies, the car winds up under the truck’s trailer. It can happen when the car gets hit from behind and pushed under a semi that is sitting in traffic ahead of it, for instance. It can happen when a truck driver cuts off a car and the car hits the side of the trailer in a perpendicular fashion. It can also happen when a truck driver makes a turn while a car is sitting in the turning radius, swinging the trailer over the car.

The high-risk level comes from the fact that the trailer strikes the top of the passenger compartment, above the main protective structure of the car and at head level with those inside. The car’s safety systems do not help nearly as much, and people can suffer serious head, neck and brain injuries.

If you have been involved in one of these crashes and you have catastrophic injuries and high medical bills, make sure you are well aware of the legal options you have to seek compensation.