Unfortunately, the types of injuries suffered in truck accidents are often severe. Broken bones, internal bleeding, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are among the common injuries resulting from truck accidents.
Significant injuries can cause severe economic and non-economic damages for victims and their families. If you want to know your options for seeking compensation for injuries caused by a truck accident, contact a truck accident lawyer in Chicago today.
Truck Accidents Are Associated with Serious Injuries; Here's Why
Large commercial trucks dwarf most other vehicles on the highway, especially passenger sedans and SUVs. Even larger pickup trucks are no match for a semi-truck weighing up to 80,000 pounds, as a Ford F-450 only weighs up to 8,500 pounds.
The weight gap between large trucks and other vehicles means that:
- When a truck strikes another vehicle, it has a far greater capacity to crush that vehicle and severely injure those inside.
- A truck’s weight requires longer to stop, meaning that drivers can strike other vehicles at a high speed when they don't pay attention.
- Truck drivers cannot easily redirect the momentum of such heavy vehicles, so trucks may strike other vehicles in dangerous ways (such as head-on).
The past decade has seen a steady upward trend in fatal truck accidents. Commercial trucks can weigh tens of thousands of pounds more than other vehicles, making them overrepresented in fatal accidents.
Trucks may also carry hazardous cargo. Flammable or corrosive chemicals can cause fires and explosions in a collision. Even non-hazardous cargo can fall into the roadway or onto vehicles, contributing to additional collisions.
You Can Pursue Justice for a Fatal Truck Accident
Injury lawyers generally represent two classes of truck accident victims:
- Those who suffer non-fatal injuries in a truck accident.
- Those who lost a loved one due to fatal injuries in a truck collision.
When a truck hits a smaller vehicle, those in the smaller vehicle face a greater likelihood of injury or death. Trucks are heavier, taller, and provide more protection for occupants than passenger vehicles.
Trucks' capacity to cause severe and fatal injuries is why many trucking accident victims hire lawyers after collisions. Victims often deserve significant compensation, and their lawyer fights for it on their behalf.
Specific Injuries That Can Occur During Truck Accidents
Virtually any injury can happen when a truck strikes another vehicle (or pedestrian), especially if the truck is traveling at high speed. Some of the most common types of injuries suffered in trucking accidents are:
Those involved in truck accidents may break one or more bones when:
- A vehicle rolls, causing immense pressure on your bones
- The airbag strikes your chest, causing broken ribs or other fractures
- The injured party is on the side of the vehicle the truck strikes, and the direct impact causes fracture injuries
- The injured party makes contact with the road, breaking bones due to a collision with the concrete
Truck accidents happen in many different ways, and there are many circumstances in which an accident survivor can break one or more bones. Fractures can require a lengthy recovery period, cause chronic pain, and lead to other health complications like infection.
Internal injuries may not present obvious symptoms. Even when internal injuries cause symptoms, the accident victim can dismiss those symptoms as general soreness.
A truck accident victim should see a doctor to rule out:
- Internal bleeding
- Tears of the gastrointestinal tract
- Broken ribs
- Ruptured spleen
The potential for internal injuries means that every accident victim should seek medical care immediately. X-rays, CT scans, and other imaging may detect injuries that are not visible to the naked eye.
Head and Brain Injuries
The brain is among the body's most important but most fragile organs. When someone experiences an unexpected impact with a vehicle weighing tens of thousands of pounds, brain injury is possible.
Brain injuries may occur along with other head injuries, such as a skull fracture.
If your brain suffers trauma during a truck accident, symptoms may include:
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Personality and mood changes
- Sleep problems
- Nausea and vomiting
- Memory and concentration problems
Brain injuries can interfere with your personal life, ability to work, and quality of life. You can suffer long-term brain damage if you do not receive the treatment you need as soon as possible.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord is another critical but fragile body part.
If you or a loved one suffer a spinal cord injury during a truck accident, you may experience:
- Severe pain
- Partial or total paralysis
- Temporary or permanent loss of sensation
- Tingling or burning sensations
- Involuntary spasms
- Changes in sexual function
- Breathing problems
Spinal cord injuries are among the most costly and devastating trucking accident victims suffer. Attorneys work hard to ensure that those with spinal cord injuries and other accident-related ailments get the care they need at no out-of-pocket cost.
Scarring and Disfigurement
Those involved in motor vehicle accidents can suffer scars, burns, amputation injuries, and other injuries that cause significant physical changes. Such injuries can cause pain and suffering even after other symptoms heal.
If you suffered these or any other injuries during a truck accident, your lawyer will seek compensation for medical treatment and all other injury-related damages.
How Do Injuries from a Truck Accident Affect the Victim’s Life?
Though each injury takes a unique toll, survivors of truck accidents may suffer:
- Financial hardship: Truck accident victims often face medical expenses, the cost of repairing or replacing their vehicle, and other direct costs causing financial pressure. The typical person does not plan for a motor vehicle accident and may need every dollar an insurance claim or lawsuit can provide after a truck accident.
- Pain and suffering: Truck accidents may leave victims in pain, replaying traumatic memories of the accident, suffering from insomnia, and struggling with conditions like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In severe cases (like paralyzing injuries or intense pain), survivors may suffer substance abuse and suicidal thoughts.
- Professional harm: When truck accident victims must take time from work, they may lose income, earning power, opportunities for bonuses and promotions, benefits, status with their employer, and progress within their professional field.
Your truck accident attorney will document each of your accident-related damages. If you suffered any of these types of harm or any damages not listed here, your lawyer will include them in your lawsuit or claim.
Why Disabling Injuries Come with Additional Damages
Disabling injuries typically costs more than injuries you can heal completely from.
A disability may require:
- A wheelchair-friendly vehicle
- Ramps, handrails, a disability-friendly shower, and other alterations to your home
- Lifelong rehabilitation
- To change your career or stop working
- In-home care
If you cannot earn a living because of a disability, you may also need assistance paying for housing. Your lawyer will work with economists, medical professionals, and other qualified experts to determine the full cost of your disability.
Causes of Truck Accidents (Including Failures by Truck Drivers and Trucking Companies)
Truck accidents can happen due to human failures, mechanical failures, and dangerous driving conditions.
More specifically, a truck accident may result from:
- Truck driver errors: When truck drivers speed, change lanes dangerously, tailgate, and engage in other behaviors that cause accidents, they put others at risk of injury. Truck drivers must undergo extensive training to obtain their commercial driver's license (CDL), and they know better than to drive dangerously.
- Driver impairment: Truck drivers have a lower threshold to qualify as drunk drivers. Regulators know truck trucks are harder to operate than smaller vehicles, so a truck driver cannot drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) higher than 0.04 percent. An impaired driver poses an enhanced risk of causing a collision.
- Driver distraction: Truck drivers who text, speak on the phone, eat or drink, or engage in other distracting behaviors may cause an accident.
- Mechanical failures: If defects or mechanical breakdowns in a truck or trailer cause an accident, the trucking company or other parties may be liable for a resulting accident.
- Road conditions: Road conditions that cause truck collisions can be the fault of the municipality where the accident happens. Absent signs (such as stop signs), defective traffic lights, and road imperfections (like potholes, indentations, and uneven lanes) can all cause truck accidents. Dangerous work crews are another possible hazard that can contribute to trucking accidents.
One of your lawyer's most important responsibilities will be determining who is liable for your trucking accident. They will gather all relevant information to identify liable parties.
What Should I Do After a Trucking Accident?
Seek medical attention after your truck accident if you have not already.
Even if you have received some medical care, get additional care if:
- Your symptoms have worsened since your initial medical care
- You have not received a specific diagnosis explaining one or more of your symptoms
- You did not get medical images of your injuries
- You want to ensure you are caring for your injuries in the proper manner
The more medical care you receive after a truck accident, the safer you may be. Furthermore, document your injuries, symptoms, and medical treatment. This documentation can be pivotal to the success of your insurance claim or lawsuit.
How Truck Accident Lawyers Serve Injured Victims
Truck accident lawyers and their legal teams help accident victims by:
- Obtaining evidence as quickly as possible: Your attorney will begin gathering evidence as quickly as possible. Important evidence like witness testimony and video footage may not be available for long, so a lawyer must act urgently to secure all available evidence.
- Identifying and documenting the client’s accident-related damages: Your lawyer will document your damages. Medical records and images, medical bills, invoices for vehicle repairs, and expert testimony about your pain and suffering may all be important forms of documentation.
- Calculating a settlement value and negotiating on the client’s behalf: Your lawyer will enter settlement negotiations with a precise monetary target in mind. The target will depend on the cost of your economic and non-economic damages.
- Taking the case to court if necessary: Injury lawyers sometimes take truck accident cases to trial. Your attorney should do the same. However, you may not need to go to trial if your lawyer can secure a fair settlement from liable parties.
Attorneys’ responsibilities vary from case to case. Every truck accident lawyer, though, does everything necessary to resolve a given case.
How Should I Choose a Truck Accident Lawyer After a Crash?
When searching for a truck accident lawyer, as:
- How frequently the law firm handles truck accident cases
- What client testimonials say about the law firm
- Whether the law firm offers a contingency fee structure, which does not require you to pay any upfront fee and comes with several other benefits
- The law firm’s case results in truck accident cases
- Whether you have a positive or negative experience during your free consultation
Free consultations are beneficial for anyone looking for a truck accident lawyer. You can use this free meeting as a time to ask questions, gauge the law firm's level of client service, and determine if the law firm is the right legal team for your case.
Search for Your Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Truck accident lawyers may need to file your case before the statute of limitations expires, and the clock on that deadline is rapidly counting down. Do not wait to search for and hire a truck accident attorney to lead your injury claim.