What Are the Types of Injuries Suffered in Trucking Accidents?
With the global increase in demand for goods and services, the trucking industry is booming. As beneficial as this appears for economies, a sinister shadow lurks in the form of trucking accidents.
These accidents often result in severe or fatal injuries due to the sheer size and weight of trucks compared to other vehicles involved. The repercussions of these accidents can affect the victims’ employment, their overall quality of life, and their families. The injuries that truck accidents cause can vary depending on the severity of the accident and its cause. A truck accident lawyer in Phoenix can recoup the funds needed to pay for treating those injuries.
Understanding Trucking Accidents
Trucking accidents involve large trucks weighing as much as 80,000 pounds. Big rigs, semi-trucks, and 18-wheelers all fall under this category, and accidents involving them can cause devastating injuries due to their immense weight and size.
Types of Truck Accidents
Trucks can cause several hazards that may increase the risk of an accident and lead to injuries. Types of accidents include:
- Direct collisions, in which a truck strikes another vehicle or pedestrian.
- Jackknife accidents, which occur when a truck’s trailer swings free of the truck.
- Overturn accidents, in which a truck rolls over.
- Cargo accidents, which occur when the truck’s cargo spills onto the road or falls on another vehicle.
The outcome of these incidents often extends beyond mere vehicular damage, leading to severe injuries or even fatalities.
Factors Contributing to Trucking Accidents
The causes of trucking accidents can prove manifold and often amplify the potential for injury.
Causes can include:
- Driver fatigue: Truck drivers frequently spend long hours on the road, leading to an increased risk of fatigue behind the wheel. Fatigued drivers may exhibit some of the same symptoms as drunk drivers, causing them to suffer from tunnel vision, difficulty with motor control, or slowed reflexes. Fatigued drivers may even fall asleep behind the wheel, leading to a devastating accident.
- Failure to follow the rules of the road: Truck drivers may speed or drive aggressively, often to make up lost time or ensure they do not miss a delivery deadline. They may also ignore road rules by failing to bring the vehicle to a stop at a stop sign or rushing through a red light.
- Blind spots: Big trucks have large blind spots in which the driver may struggle to see anything that takes place around them.
- Vehicle maintenance failures: While trucking companies must conduct regular inspections and maintenance on their vehicles, sometimes, that maintenance may slip through the cracks, or the company may ignore needed maintenance to keep the vehicle on the road.
Long working hours, unrealistic schedules and deadlines, and work-related pressure in the trucking industry can also increase the risk of a truck driver getting in a devastating accident.
The Impact of Trucking Accidents on Victims
Trucking accident victims often suffer not only from immediate physical harm but also long-term health issues, psychological distress, and financial disruption. These accidents can affect multiple aspects of a victim’s life and may include loss of income, rehabilitation costs, and significant lifestyle changes.
Physical Injuries From Trucking Accidents
Given the enormous weight and size of trucks, collisions can cause serious physical injuries. These injuries can range from minor to severe. In many cases, truck accidents result in permanent disability.
Head and Brain Injuries
Head or brain injuries can involve anything from minor concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). The latter can lead to lifelong complications, such as cognitive impairment, changes in personality, difficulties with speech and language, and concentration issues that prevent the victim from working the way they did before the accident. TBI symptoms can last for months, years, or the rest of the victim’s life.
How Head Injuries Occur
Head and brain injuries can occur when there is a direct blow to the head or when the head shakes violently. A truck accident can cause visible damage, such as fractures or external bleeding, but internal injuries, such as bruising or bleeding of the brain, require a doctor to diagnose and treat before they turn deadly.
The Long-Term Result of Head Injuries
Head and brain injuries can have severe long-term effects, including memory issues, personality changes, chronic headaches, and difficulty concentrating. Some victims may require ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitation, further decreasing their quality of life.
In the case of severe TBIs, victims may need 24/7 care due to poor impulse control or difficulty with decision-making.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Trucking accidents can also lead to minor to severe spinal injuries. Spinal cord injuries may permanently change a victim’s life and limit the activities they can engage in.
Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can lead to temporary or permanent damage to the spinal cord or nerves, altering strength, sensation, and functionality below the injury site. Limited mobility or full paralysis can occur below the injury site. Patients with spinal cord injuries may require a wheelchair to get around.
The Long-Term Effect of Spinal Cord Injuries
Depending on the severity of the injury, victims may suffer from limited mobility or function, chronic pain, or even paralysis. Rehabilitation and life modifications are often necessary for those who suffer spinal injuries in trucking accidents.
Broken Bones and Fractures
Given the force involved in trucking accidents, it isn’t surprising that broken bones and fractures are common injuries. Truck accident victims may end up with multiple broken bones due to the accident.
A Look at Broken Bones
Broken bones and fractures can involve any bone in the body, with some of the most common being the arms, legs, ribs, and pelvis. While some broken bones heal quickly, others can leave the victim with long-term symptoms, including significant pain.
Multiple broken bones can also significantly affect the victim’s ability to engage in normal self-care activities, leaving them reliant on friends and family for daily tasks.
Recovery and Potential Complications
Broken bones can take weeks or months to heal and may require surgeries, physical therapy, and the use of medical devices during recovery. Even after healing, victims may still experience pain and decreased functionality.
Internal injuries often prove the most life-threatening, as they aren’t always immediately apparent. Internal injuries can include significant bleeding, bruising, trauma, and organ damage.
The Potential Long-Term Effects of Internal Injuries
Internal injuries can require extensive medical treatment and may have long-term effects on a victim’s health and quality of life. They sometimes require significant medical intervention, including the removal of organs.
Burns and Chemical Burns
In cases where a truck carries dangerous or flammable cargo, victims may suffer from burns or chemical burns.
Burn injuries can include first-, second-, and third-degree burns, each with varying severity. Chemical burns, on the other hand, occur when the skin or eyes come into contact with a harmful chemical.
They receive the same classifications as other types of burns but may lead to more severe injuries. Simply removing the source of the chemical burn may not prove adequate to prevent further damage.
Potential Long-Term Effects of Burns
Severe burns can result in scarring, infections, and even amputations. They can also cause considerable psychological trauma. Many patients require repeat surgeries, including cosmetic surgeries to restore their appearance after severe burns.
Long-Term Implications of Trucking Accident Injuries
Injuries from trucking accidents often have long-term implications, including physical disability, the need for rehabilitation or emotional and psychological therapy, and an influence on the victim’s work and earning capacity. Victims’ personal relationships and social life often suffer as well. In many cases, these injuries can cause victims to need to rebuild their lives.
Physical injuries can make it impossible for them to work in their former roles or engage in activities they enjoy, such as long walks, sports, or even sitting on the couch to watch a movie.
A truck accident can interfere with their friendships and relationships, even leading to the end of some relationships. Many truck accident victims feel isolated as they try to recover from their injuries and get back to normal life.
The Legal Rights of Trucking Accident Victims
You have legal rights following a trucking accident. These rights include seeking compensation for your injuries, lost income, and other damages resulting from the accident.
With legal support, you can navigate the claim process more successfully, allowing you to seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.
Get Help With Your Truck Accident Claim
Understanding the types of injuries people suffer in trucking accidents is essential to getting help and treatment and fighting for the compensation you deserve. Physical injuries and emotional trauma can change your life forever, making it vital to seek legal assistance. If you suffered injuries in a truck accident or have questions about your rights, contact an attorney as soon as possible.