Top Complications from Truck Accidents
Sharing the road with heavy-duty trucks is intimidating. Their enormous size, the roar of their engines, the giant wheels – it is downright frightening. Enduring a collision with an enormous truck is more than scary; it is devastating for the driver and occupants of a passenger car.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), large trucks usually weigh 20 to 30 times more than passenger vehicles, are taller than cars, and have greater ground clearance than their smaller road partners.
In a recent year, 4,014 people died in crashes involving large trucks:
- 15 percent of these deaths were truck occupants
- 68 percent were passenger vehicle occupants
- 16 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists.
The sheer magnitude of an accident with a truck is difficult to wrap your brain around, and then things become even more complicated during the aftermath of a truck accident. If you are involved in a major collision with a commercial truck, you might think you can handle it on your own since you’ve been in car accidents before.
You might think you can easily work out the issues with one other driver, but the process may grow problematic when navigating a commercial truck accident. Injuries can be serious, and numerous people and companies will be involved in the settlement process. Learn from our experienced truck accident lawyers the problematic areas that most people encounter in the claim process.
Severe injuries from truck accidents
Truck accidents can be dangerous and deadly and often result in severe injuries. The more severe your injuries are, the more complex your claim can be. More serious injuries result in costlier losses, which means victims need to seek higher compensation. The higher a claim’s value, the more the insurance company is likely to fight back.
A sampling of some injuries that truck accidents may cause includes:
Broken and Fractured Bones
Truck accidents can be severe, and the sheer force from such a large vehicle results in easily broken and fractured bones. Common bones impacted by truck accidents are the clavicle bone, the pelvic bone, facial bones, the skull, the sternum, the back, and the neck.
A powerful truck accident can result in head trauma, concussions, and serious brain damage. Brain injuries may not show up immediately; symptoms to look for include headache, confusion, blurry vision, and cognitive difficulties. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can be wide-ranging, but all can have debilitating and lasting effects.
Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis
Spinal cord injuries may lead to paralysis. Spinal cord injuries may not show up immediately, so it is important to seek medical care and get an assessment. Spinal cord injuries usually involve long-term recovery and healing, and many victims have permanent impairments.
Back and Neck Injuries
The jolt and force of a truck accident may cause neck injuries like whiplash. Neck injuries may cause pain and prevent the victim from returning to regular activities. Disc injuries in the back may be minor or severe but may prevent a return to normal activity.
The enormous size of a truck makes it more likely that a crash can burst fuel tanks, resulting in fires and causing injuries to the victims of the immediate crash as well as pedestrians and motorists in nearby vehicles. Additionally, trucks often carry flammable or hazardous material, such as gas and petroleum, which can cause fires and explosions after a crash and result in burns of varying degrees.
The force of the impact or a severe burn injury may cause immediate amputation or disfigurement.
Trauma to internal organs is common after truck accidents and may cause internal bleeding or damage to the liver, bladder, pancreas, kidney, and spleen. These injuries may be difficult to diagnose and treat.
Truck accidents may cause cuts and bruises due to flying debris and glass. These deep cuts may be painful and leave large scars.
Sadly, many motorists die from severe truck accidents and injuries sustained by the impact. When this happens, surviving family members can file a claim for wrongful death.
It can be difficult to identify the cause of the truck accident
Truck accidents can happen for many reasons, so pinpointing the cause of your crash can be a challenge.
- Prescription drug use
- Traveling too fast for conditions
- Unfamiliar with roadway
- Over-the-counter drug use
- Inadequate surveillance
- Work-related pressure
- Illegal maneuver
- External distraction factors
- Inadequate evasive action
- Aggressive driving behavior
- Unfamiliar with vehicle
- Following too closely
- False assumption of other motorists’ actions
- Brake Failure
- Traffic flow interruption
- Roadway related factors
- Driver required to stop before the crash
- Weather-related factors
- Cargo shift
- Driver pressured to operate while fatigued
- Cargo securement
- Illegal drug use
- Drunk driving
Medical injuries and complications
It is advisable to seek medical care immediately after an accident. Always document your injuries, including cuts, bruises, or bumps. Take pictures of injuries if possible. If you or passengers of your vehicle experience pain, headaches, confusion, numbness, stiffness, loss of movement, dizziness, bleeding, swelling, light sensitivity, or other strange sensations, it is imperative to see a physician as soon as possible.
If you skip medical care at the scene of an accident but notice that symptoms outlined above show up days or weeks after, see your physician at that time, and be sure to inform them of the motor vehicle accident you experienced. Injuries may often appear days or weeks after the initial incident.
Depending on the physician’s examination results, your doctor may order additional testing or X-rays, prescribe pain medications, suggest physical therapy, or send you to another specialist. Some injuries will require immediate interventions that might include surgery or surgical procedures. Surgery may also be necessary when a condition doesn’t improve with other treatments. Medical and surgical costs can be expensive and will add up quickly. Recovery and healing from surgery take time and may result in loss of wages and time off from work.
Keep copies of all records, reports, receipts, and bills for medical costs incurred due to the truck accident. Also, keep track of all wages lost as well. You will need these records for your personal injury claim. Complications arising from injuries, recovery time, and lost wages may be overwhelming. A truck accident attorney can oversee and keep track of these added complications for you.
Proving Liability is Confusing
Determining who is at fault for a truck accident can be extremely complex. Hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer to manage the intricacies of a truck accident investigation and liability determination is always in your best interests.
Many different parties may share blame in a truck accident. Often, crash victims don’t know all the potential defendants, and finalizing liability can take a lot of time and resources. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help to quickly clarify who is liable and initiate settlement negotiations to compensate the injured party.
There are multiple parties who can be liable for a truck accident aside from just the truck driver, which is why it is important you speak with a truck accident lawyer.
Some parties that might face a truck accident claim include:
- The trucking company may be liable for the driver’s conduct, even if the company was not negligent itself.
- The truck company is liable if a truck is not maintained and does not meet the United States Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards.
- The cargo company might be responsible if the cargo causes problems in transport.
- Cargo loaders might be accountable if the cargo disengages and causes accidents during transport.
- Truck maintenance companies, driver recruiters, medical facilities performing drug tests, and other companies and contractors involved in truck maintenance, employee recruiting, and training
- A truck manufacturer might be liable if the incident was due to a mechanical failure or defect.
In addition to all these parties, insurance companies play a big part in truck accident settlements, including determining liability and settling for compensation. This can get extremely complicated when there are multiple parties and their insurers involved.
Hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer will be in your best interest. Locating and identifying all the potentially liable defendants is daunting yet necessary, and an experienced truck accident lawyer has the resources to investigate and complete this task. An attorney will assist you in seeking compensation for your loss and suffering from all possible sources.
Insurance companies and truck accidents
Depending on the cause of the accident, you may seek compensation from the truck driver’s insurance company, the trucking company’s insurance company, and/or even the truck manufacturer’s insurance company. Often the cab, trailer, and cargo have different insurance companies.
Large trucks are a major liability threat to insurance companies and can cost millions of dollars in damages. Insurance companies are involved in truck accidents, and many attorneys, adjusters, and investigators often launch their investigations within hours of an accident to protect their interests. Insurance companies involved in truck accidents have been known to do whatever is possible to avoid paying out costly settlements.
Insurance companies may reach out to you and act as if they will help you. They may try and delay the process and manipulate you into agreeing to an unfair settlement. Insurance companies assume the regular consumer does not know better and will take whatever is offered. Having an experienced lawyer will ensure you are not tricked or manipulated by the tactics of big insurance companies. Never speak with another insurance company about the truck accident without your lawyer.
Do I always need legal representation?
The short answer is yes; you should always have legal representation before you even begin the claim process following a truck crash. After you have experienced a harrowing truck accident, you will have plenty to deal with, and you will need time to recuperate.
Hiring an attorney to oversee your claim means you will not have to speak to and deal with the insurance companies, trucking companies, and other people involved in the settlement of your truck accident. This can both improve your claim and give you peace of mind.
Your lawyer will gather copies of the accident report and the personal information of all witnesses and parties involved in the accident. Your lawyer will also obtain contact and insurance information from the truck driver involved in the crash, as well as the employing trucking company.
Save all medical reports, bills, and receipts, as well as information regarding any loss of income due to mental and/or physical issues suffered by the truck accident.
The complicated investigating, negotiating, and back and forth involved in a truck accident liability case process is not for the faint of heart. In Texas, the partial fault may be assigned to more than one party, depending on the specifics of a traffic incident. Even if you are partially to blame for the crash with the truck, you may still seek compensation to cover the damages you have experienced. An attorney can negotiate this on your behalf.
Hiring a lawyer to have your back in this situation is necessary to ensure you are compensated for any loss, pain, or suffering you have endured because of the truck accident. An experienced truck accident attorney knows what to expect from big insurance companies and big truck companies.
They will know how to prepare if the insurance company tries switching the blame on you. They will know how to thwart the deceptive actions of the insurance company’s lawyers, adjusters, and agents to ensure your best interests are defended. An experienced Texas truck accident attorney will review your claim, determine the best legal strategy for your particular situation, and ensure that you win your settlement and receive compensation for your loss.
Speak to a Truck Accident Attorney Today
Were you injured in a truck accident? Whether the injuries were minor or serious, you need experienced legal representation. Call a personal injury attorney to schedule a consultation about your case today. Doing so can ensure you receive total compensation for your losses.