A truck can weigh at least 30,000 pounds, meaning your passenger vehicle is no match. On top of the weight factor, the commercial truck's motorist is riding higher up in their cab than you, making you more vulnerable to injuries. Generally, truck accident injuries are catastrophic. If the collision fails to kill you, it will leave you with injuries that can take years to recover from, financial strain, emotional distress, and reduced quality of life. The struggle is unacceptable, especially if a negligent party caused your accident. The legal team at Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm wants you to know that you are not alone, and we can assist you in recovering the compensation you deserve. This article discusses different types of trucking crash injuries we can represent.
Due to the larger size of a truck compared to a car, it is no wonder that truck accident victims can suffer severe brain injuries. Brain injuries can result in damage and long-term alteration to the victim’s life.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were approximately 64,000 reported traumatic brain injury-related fatalities in the United States in 2020. That means more than 176 people succumbed to head injuries daily that year. The statistical information linked to truck accidents and brain injuries should help you understand the severity of brain injuries and encourage you to seek immediate legal and medical assistance after your accident.
You can suffer a closed or open head injury in a truck accident. While closed head injuries do not break the skull, they can be fatal. Open head injuries penetrate or fracture the skull and enter the brain.
Common head injuries include:
- Concussion — This happens after a violent shaking or a blow to the head during your accident. Its symptoms include insomnia, challenges with concentration, headache, and nausea. While most people recover from concussions, repeated concussions can result in permanent brain damage.
- Hemorrhage happens when a victim begins bleeding within their brain, skull tissues, or surrounding areas. The bleeding creates pressure which can lead to coma or even death.
- Contusion — You can suffer from contusion if your tissues start leaking blood into your brain cavities.
- Skull fracture — The break in the cranial bone happens when a victim suffers a blow to the head. Its symptoms include nausea, facial bruising, bleeding from the ears or nostrils, swelling, and headache. Sometimes a surgical procedure is required to repair the brain damage.
- Traumatic brain injury is the most common brain injury in truck accidents. A violent jolt or blow to the body or head causes the injury. Most people who suffer from TBI cannot handle their everyday needs and return to work. Its symptoms depend on the type and severity of the injury. Its symptoms include headache, blurred vision, fatigue, behavioral changes, dizziness, seizures, changes in sleep patterns, and challenges with concentration, memory, attention, and reasoning.
- Hematoma —The collection of blood or clotting outside your blood vessels can result in pressure building up in your brain. The health condition can cause permanent brain damage or unconsciousness.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center reports that of the 17,730 new spinal cord injuries that happen annually in the U.S., approximately 39.3% stem from vehicle-related collisions.
The sheer force you strike another surface during your truck accident is adequate to injure the spinal cord. Even a crash at low speed can force you to bend or twist unnaturally and damage your spinal column.
Not all spinal cord injuries (SCI) are apparent immediately, and the symptoms' severity can substantially worsen over time. You should seek immediate medical attention if you believe you sustained spinal cord injuries in your truck accident.
Your spinal cord is the long band of nervous tissues connecting your brain with the rest of your body. Your central nervous system consists of your spinal nerves, spinal cord, and brain. An SCI happens when any part of your spinal cord is damaged. The injury can damage your central nervous system and interrupt your nerve flow, essential for sensory skills and motor function.
An SCI that results in loss of sensation or mobility is called paralysis. The seriousness of paralysis is known as the completeness of the SCI and can be either complete or incomplete. The injury is complete if you have lost all motor and sensory functions. The injury is incomplete if someone has some motor or sensory functions below their injury.
Moreover, SCI paralysis can be classified as:
- Paraplegia — Happens when the injury affects low back or lumbar spine
- Quadriplegia— It is common when your injury happens higher in your back
An SCI is life-altering. The injury can affect the victim’s mental and physical health and quality of life. Some of the symptoms of SCI include:
- Loss of movement
- Altered or loss of sensation, including the inability to feel touch, cold, or heat
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Exaggerated spasms or reflex activities
- Changes in sexual sensitivity, function, and infertility
- Coughing and challenges breathing
You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience the following symptoms:
- Pressure in your back, neck, or head or extreme back pain
- Incoordination or weakness in any body part
- Tingling, loss of sensation, or numbness in toes, feet, fingers, or hands
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Challenges with walking and balance
- Difficulty with breathing
- Paralysis or weakness in any body part
What You Need to Know About Amputations in a Truck Accident
A truck's overwhelming weight and size can crush a passenger vehicle with which it collides. The occupants of the smaller car can suffer amputation (loss of a limb). Losing a finger, leg, foot, arm, or hand can adversely affect the victim’s professional and personal life.
Typically, an amputation happens after a collision when medical practitioners remove a limb to prevent life-threatening infections and complications. An amputation can also happen when an individual is trapped under a car and cannot be freed without removing their limb. Your physician will require your informed consent before performing the amputation. However, the doctor can perform an amputation on an unconscious patient to save their life.
After an amputation, you will require follow-up care to prevent infections and post-surgical complications. You also could need occupational therapy and vocational rehabilitation to assist you in learning how to perform your daily activities. Additionally, an amputation can result in psychological effects that require counseling long after recovery.
Finally, you will require a prosthetic device(s). Over time, you should replace the devices as they wear out.
A Truck Accident Can Cause Whiplash
In a truck accident, tremendous force and velocity can cause the head to jerk violently during the accident. Whiplash happens when your head is flung backward and forward, causing your neck ligaments and muscles to be pushed beyond their normal range of movement.
Some of the whiplash injuries include:
- Neck stiffness
- Neck pain
- Recurring headache
- Tenderness or pain in the shoulders
- Numbness or tingling in the arms
- Limited range of motion in the neck
While most patients do not take whiplash seriously, diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve the treatment of the condition and recovery of compensation. Some symptoms do not manifest immediately following the accident, making it essential to receive medical attention.
Beyond whiplash, you can suffer additional injuries like:
- Herniated discs (slipped or ruptured disc) — This happens when your spinal cord disc breaks open or bulges.
- Neck fractures (broken neck) — Happen when at least one vertebrae are broken during the truck accident.
Recovering from whiplash is expensive and can prevent you from returning to work. If another person’s negligence caused your injury, there is no reason you should not recover all the damages suffered.
Broken and Fractured Bones
Truck accidents are violent, with sudden changes in direction, blunt force trauma, and rapid deceleration. The impact exerts tremendous pressure on the human body’s skeletal structure, resulting in severe injuries like broken bones. Common causes of broken bones include crush injuries, striking substances in the car, and whiplash.
Your bone can break in different ways depending on its strength and the accident's circumstances. For instance, an aged victim is at a higher risk of breaking their bone even in a low-impact collision since bones weaken as people age. Below are common truck accident bone fractures:
- Closed/simple fracture — Happens when your bone break under your skin
- Open/compound fracture — A broken bone pierces the skin. The fracture can either be visible or invisible.
- Transverse fracture — The bone breaks in a straight, horizontal line across your bone.
- Comminuted fracture — Your bone shatters into more than three pieces.
- Compressed fracture — The bone is crushed, appearing wider and flattered
- Segmental fracture — The same bone breaks in two places, leading to a floating unattached piece of bone
- Spiral fracture
- Impacted fracture
- Stress fracture
- Avulsion fracture
- Greenstick fracture
While a fractured bone injury is often apparent, an accident victim can fail to realize the injury since it can manifest as a sprain or muscle pain. It is especially true following the crash when adrenaline levels are high. It is, therefore, crucial that you seek medical attention and obtain a correct diagnosis. Common broken bone symptoms include:
- Extreme pain in the injured site, particularly when weight is put on it or it is touched
- Challenges moving the limb
Broken bones originating from vehicle-related accidents do not heal on their own. They need medical assistance to heal appropriately. In severe cases, some injuries never heal, resulting in reduced quality of life. If you sustained fractured bone injuries in a crash, you have a right to recover compensation, including lost income, medical expenses, and lost earning capacity from the defendant.
Internal Organ Injuries
The sudden impact of an accident can result in the vehicle occupants striking substances in the truck. Even at low speeds, blunt force trauma can directly damage internal organs or cause fractures that injure an internal organ.
In the immediate aftermath of a collision, the victim could not know they sustained an internal organ injury. The symptoms are not easily understood or visible. Obtaining a thorough medical evaluation following your accident is essential because it allows your doctor to look for internal organ damage symptoms that an emergency responder missed at your accident scene.
Truck accidents can lead to many internal injuries, including:
- Liver damage — In a severe truck collision, the liver can be torn open or injured due to the accident’s impact, resulting in significant damage. An injured liver can cause internal bleeding.
- Kidney damage — Generally, kidney damage occurs when the frank or lower back is injured during the crash. Kidney damage can result in internal bleeding, leading to the victim’s demise. Sometimes, the injury is permanent and needs kidney dialysis or transplant.
- Internal bleeding — Internal bleeding is an accident’s fatal and common injury. When your doctor fails to locate when the bleeding is happening, they cannot treat internal bleeding. When victims have ruptured blood vessels, they can suffer bleeding that does not clot. On the other hand, the formation of clots can be catastrophic since it impairs blood circulation.
- Broken ribs — Broken ribs can damage your blood vessels or puncture the lungs, leading to a medical emergency or death.
- Pneumothorax — When an individual’s lungs are punctured, they can collapse, causing air to flood the chest cavity. The complication is fatal, especially if not treated immediately.
- Abdominal aorta aneurysm — When a person’s stomach is crushed in an accident, their abdominal aorta can rupture, leading to death.
- Brain bleeding — Happens when your head hits another substance or the vehicle part.
- Ruptured spleen
- Abdominal injuries and pain
An internal organ injury victim can recover compensation damages like medical bills, lost earning capacity, lost income, lost enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering. Typically, defendants and their insurance providers try to resolve personal injury cases cheaply and quickly by offering low settlement amounts. Typically, the initial offer does not account for the full impact of your injuries. Consequently, hiring an experienced attorney is essential.
A fast-spreading and high-temperature fire can develop in a truck accident, particularly when a gas tank is punctured. When an accident damages a line or hose, a leak can cause a fire. If occupants of a passenger car are ejected from the car to the road or trapped in the vehicle, they are at an increased risk of sustaining burn injuries.
Burn injuries can be classified into:
- First-degree burns — They are the least severe, affecting the victim’s epidermis (outer skin layer). Normally, they take a couple of days to heal.
- Second-degree burns— They are more severe than first-degree burns, affecting the skin’s outer and second (dermis) layers. It also damages hair follicles and sweat glands.
- Third-degree burns — Are more serious than first and second-degree burns. The burns destroy nerve endings, epidermis, and dermis.
- Fourth-degree burns affect all skin layers and damage tendons, bones, and muscles.
Severe burn victims require debridement, where the medical practitioners clean the injured site and remove infected or dead skin cells before performing any other procedure. Common treatment options include:
- Skin graft (removing skin from another area)
- Dermabrasion — improves the appearance of burn scars and involves resurfacing your skin by sending your outer layers with a rotating device.
- Amputation for severe burns on a limb
- Reconstructive surgery if the victim suffered a burn on their face
Burns involve complicated types of treatment, extreme pain, and a lengthy recovery process. That means a truck accident victim may not be able to return to their work for an extended period and sometimes experience challenges finding new employment. Fortunately, they can recover compensation from the liable party.
Lacerations in a Truck Accident
Lacerations happen when skin, muscle, or tissues are damaged. A laceration can occur:
- During an accident from broken glass when a person is ejected from the motor vehicle and injured after falling on the road, or
- When a person comes into contact with a sharp substance.
There are different kinds of lacerations, including:
- Cut lacerations that happen when a sharp substance cuts tissues.
- A split laceration is a crushing injury caused by a rollover collision or head-on accident when a person’s head hits the steering wheel or dashboard.
- Grinding compression laceration — It happens when your body part has an impact with a blunt substance. The injury caused the peeling of the epidermis and crushing of connective tissues under your skin.
- Overstretching laceration — The injury happens due to a singular-directional force, leading to an injured muscle or skin.
- Tearing laceration happens when your tissues are pulled in different directions, resulting in a tear.
Sometimes victims can address lacerations through home care, using sterile bandages after their wounds are cleaned, and taking antibiotics. You should seek immediate medical attention if your laceration takes time before healing or is infected. Lacerations over the joint that cannot be properly cleaned or is deep require professional medical care.
The doctor can use stitches to reduce scarring, stop bleeding, and protect the tissues under your wound. Depending on the location of your injury, the stitches can remain in place for days or weeks.
How to Prove Injuries Sustained After Your Truck Accident
Usually, truck accidents lead to catastrophic injuries, making receiving compensation a priority. Health insurance alone cannot cover all the expenses and losses incurred after the accident. You could also require financial assistance for occupational and physical rehabilitation for home renovations to facilitate living with permanent injuries and coping with emotional distress. However, you can only receive compensation by first finding the negligent party and holding them accountable.
Your Compensation is Based on Establishing Negligence
In your personal injury claim, you should establish negligence through a personal injury lawsuit or an insurance claim. You can do this by proving the following elements:
Your defendant owed you a duty of care — A duty of care refers to the responsibility to act reasonably to avoid putting other people in danger. Motorists have a duty of care towards other road users. They should drive safely and comply with all traffic regulations.
- The defendant breached the duty — It involves determining whether the driver lived up to their duty of care or whether they acted as a reasonable individual would under similar circumstances. The defendant is considered negligent if they create hazardous circumstances above and beyond the normal degree of risk.
- Causation — After proving that the defendant breached their duty of care, you should establish that their negligence caused the injuries. Proving causation can be challenging and requires hiring a resourceful personal injury lawyer who can guide you throughout the process and verify that your injuries are related to your truck accident.
- Damages — These are losses incurred due to your truck accident injuries. They can be mental, emotional, financial, or physical. You can be awarded medical expenses, lost income, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and property damages.
Common Defendants in Truck Accidents
Proving accountability in a truck accident can be challenging since several parties apart from the motorist can be held liable. Therefore, a thorough investigation is needed to determine what occurred and why. Some of the parties that can be held responsible for your accident include:
- The truck driver
- Trucking company
- Cargo company
- Truck manufacturer
- Truck maintenance company
- State or federal government agencies and contractors
What Happens If You are Partially Accountable for Your Injuries?
A victim who partially caused their accident can still recover compensation provided the at-fault party was more than 50% liable.
You will receive less money if you are more to blame. For instance, if you are 30% liable for your injuries because you operated your car too closely behind the truck will recover 30% less damages. However, if you are at least 51% liable, you will not receive any damages.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
When you sustain injuries in a truck crash, your life will never be the same again, or it can take many months or even years to become whole again. Depending on your injuries' severity and nature, you can experience disfigurement, physical limitations, emotional distress, and chronic pain, among other life-altering effects. While your focus should be on your recovery and becoming whole again, worries about the inability to work or huge medical expenses can put tremendous stress and strain on you and your loved ones. Fortunately, you could be entitled to compensation.
At the Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm, we understand that you are going through a lot and that every injury is unique. Our seasoned personal injury attorneys can help you determine the defendant and aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve. Please call us at 702-576-0010 to discuss the truck accident circumstances and learn how we can assist you.