Common truck accident injuries include head and brain trauma, spinal cord or internal injuries, as well as broken bones and fractures. Due to the size and weight difference between trucks and standard passenger cars, the occupants of passenger cars usually suffer more severe injuries in a collision. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand the injuries you may sustain and the legal implications that follow, so you can seek fair compensation.
The Most Common Truck Accident Injuries
The aftermath of a truck accident can result in severe and sometimes life-threatening injuries. Some of the most common injuries include:
Head and Brain Injuries
Head and brain injuries are one of the most common consequences of crashes involving large trucks. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI), which include concussions, blunt head trauma, and lacerations to the face or scalp, are frequently reported. Symptoms of head and brain injuries include headaches, dizziness, confusion, and memory loss. Victims of head trauma may experience cognitive impairment, mood swings, and behavioral changes.
In severe cases, a brain injury can lead to a vegetative state or even death. The road to recovery can be long and demanding, and may require intensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and therapy. Even though head trauma injuries are invisible to the naked eye, they are serious and can significantly impact a person’s life.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Trucking accidents often result in catastrophic personal injuries, such as spinal cord injuries (SCI). The spinal cord is the messenger superhighway between the brain and the rest of the nerves in the body that sense and move. An SCI can affect this communication, leading to paralysis and some form of disability. The extent of disability depends on the level of paralysis, which is determined by the type of SCI. There are two types of SCIs: incomplete or partial SCI, where the spinal cord has suffered damage, but there is still some connection between the brain and the body, and complete or total SCI, where there is a complete severance between the brain and the body.
Truck accidents have the potential to cause internal injuries, such as organ damage, internal bleeding, and punctured lungs. These injuries occur when internal organs, blood vessels, or bones such as the ribs or pelvis are damaged due to blunt force trauma, penetration injuries, or sudden and severe twisting of the body. These types of injuries may not be immediately apparent and can be life-threatening, requiring urgent medical attention. If left untreated, they can have severe, long-term effects on a person’s health.
Broken Bones and Fractures
Truck accidents can cause serious injuries such as fractures. Simple fractures occur when the bone breaks but doesn’t shift, while complex fractures shatter the bone into multiple pieces or pierce the skin. These injuries may require surgery, physical therapy, and a lengthy recovery period, and can lead to permanent disability, chronic pain, or further complications.
Other injuries may include whiplash, back, crush or burn injuries.
Factors Contributing to Truck Accident Injuries
It is vital for truck drivers and other motorists to understand common causes of truck accidents in Illinois. This understanding promotes awareness and safer driving practices.
Weather Conditions and Road Hazards
Truck accidents are more likely in adverse weather conditions like rain, snow, fog, or high winds. These conditions reduce visibility and make it difficult to brake in time. Trucks have a longer stopping distance compared to passenger cars, and non-aerodynamic trailers are more prone to rolling over or jack-knifing due to wind force.
Road hazards, such as potholes, debris, construction, and uneven surfaces, make it difficult for truck drivers to control their trucks. Badly designed or maintained roads can worsen the situation, putting both truck drivers and other motorists at risk.
It is vital for truck drivers to be aware of road hazards and to adjust their driving accordingly. Reviewing weather conditions and providing training to drivers on handling adverse weather can help prevent weather-related accidents.
Preventing Truck Accident Injuries
As trucks are commercial vehicles, drivers are responsible for reducing risks for others by following federal regulations, including:
- When truckers encounter poor traction and visibility, they should slow down.
- Truck drivers should make use of lights to enhance their visibility to other drivers on the road.
- They should be prepared to apply brakes immediately when necessary.
- Even experienced truckers should drive defensively around other vehicles in adverse weather.
- If the weather makes it impossible to drive safely, truckers should stop and wait on the side of the road.
Causes of truck crashes that can be prevented include inexperience, fatigue, drug and alcohol use, and speeding.
Accidents can be caused or made worse by negligent passenger vehicle drivers. Therefore, you should be aware of circumstances where risks are the highest and avoid them. Doing so may prevent truck accident injuries and increase your chances of arriving at your destination safely and reliably.
Avoid Truck Blind Spots
When you ride within 20ft in front of a truck or 30ft behind it, the truck driver cannot see you at all. Therefore, it is essential to limit the amount of time spent in these spots. If you need to pass the truck, do it quickly and avoid “hanging out” in the areas where the truck driver can’t see you. Failure to do so can lead to the truck driver changing lanes or making sudden maneuvers, which can result in an accident.
Make Allowance for Wide Turns
Large semi-truck cabs have a wider turning radius, especially with a trailer attached. They require around 55 feet to make a complete turn and may need to cross over lanes. Give them enough room when turning to avoid accidents.
Be Aware That Trucks Take Longer to Speed Up and Slow Down
It is important to be smart and rational when driving near a truck that appears to be getting in the way. Trucks may require additional time to accelerate when going uphill or after a stop. Additionally, trucks may seem to brake earlier than necessary due to their weight. They can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and take as long as 525 feet to come to a complete stop from 65 mph.
When driving around trucks in traffic, keep in mind their long stopping distance. If you get too close to a truck, it may not be able to stop in time.
Compensation for Truck Accident Injuries
If you have been involved in an accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to compensation. This is a financial settlement awarded to cover the costs and impacts from the resulting injury, both now and in the future.
Types of Compensation Available
The main types of compensation after a truck accident are economic and non-economic damages. If you have lost a loved one, you may be able to pursue wrongful death damages.
Economic damages can be calculated with actual dollars, and may be relatively easy to assess. After a truck accident, you can recover damages for all medical costs resulting from the incident, such as emergency medical care, hospital bills, doctor visits, prescription medications, physical therapy, and any long-term or future medical care. You can claim lost wages if you are unable to work due to your injuries.
Unlike economic damages, there is no fixed amount for non-economic damages, as they aim to reimburse you for the physical or emotional pain that you may have suffered because of an accident. Non-economic damages may include compensation for physical and emotional pain, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, disfigurements, fear, anxiety, and humiliation. These damages are more challenging to quantify and establish without the assistance of a Chicago truck accident lawyer.
If a truck accident resulted in the death of a loved one, family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit. This enables a family member to claim compensation for various losses. These losses include lost wages and benefits, loss of care or companionship, medical expenses incurred due to the deceased’s last injury or illness, funeral and burial costs, and pain and suffering that the deceased may have experienced before passing.
Hire an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you can seek compensation. It is important to seek legal help as early as possible. The first 72 hours after an accident can impact your claim significantly. Working with a personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and obtain compensation for your accident-related losses. A semi truck accident lawyer can:
- Investigate to determine liability for the accident.
- Collect and present evidence that supports your claim.
- Handle negotiations with insurance companies on your behalf.
- Represent your rights and best interests in court, if required.
Recovering from a truck accident can be a difficult and overwhelming process. With the necessary legal assistance and a solid support network, those affected can overcome the challenges and begin to rebuild their lives.