Tractor-trailers are among the largest vehicles on the road and, unsurprisingly, can cause catastrophic injuries when involved in accidents. An accident involving a tractor-trailer is more likely to result in injury or death than an accident between two cars. According to the National Institute of Traffic and Highway Safety, nearly 73% of all truck crash injuries and deaths are suffered by people in the vehicle hit by the tractor-trailer.
If you are the victim of a trucking accident, the question of who is responsible and what caused the accident are often much more complex than in a car on car accident. There are many players involved, from the driver of the commercial truck, the owner of the truck or trailer, the person or company that leased the truck or trailer from the owner, to the manufacturer of the vehicle, tires, or other parts that may have contributed to the cause or severity of the accident; and even the loader of the truck’s cargo.
Many of the causes of tractor-trailer accidents include overworked truck drivers who are working too many hours with too little sleep. These drivers have unrealistic schedules. Other causes include aggressive driving, speeding, tailgating, ignoring the reduced truck speed limit, cell phone usage, and poor vehicle maintenance.
The types of injuries which occur as a result of tractor-trailer accidents are often more severe than a car vs. car collision. Below is a list of common injuries which may occur in a tractor trailer vs. car accident:
Back and neck injuries – these injuries are most common because of the jarring force that affects drivers and passengers at the moment of impact. These injuries can lead to debilitating pain.
Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis – Truck accident causing injuries to the spinal column can be especially devastating. The impact in a truck accident may injure or damage the bones, muscles or nerves in the spinal column. This can lead to partial, temporary or complete paralysis. Even if the injuries are not permanent, they may cause severe pain and often require long term rehabilitation to achieve recovery. These types of injuries may also require surgery to treat.
Broken bones – Broken bones are among the most common injuries resulting from a trucking accident.
Head injuries – Head trauma in an accident can result in an injury to the brain. A head or brain injury can have long-lasting effects. Head injuries can be as mild as a concussion or as serious as a mild, moderate, or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), which are conditions that can result in a variety of negative effects ranging from changes in personality to death. These injuries are likely to be life altering. Another thing to note is that these injuries may not immediately be apparent. Symptoms that may develop after a head injury include confusion, nausea, vision problems and various cognitive difficulties.
Internal injuries – the pure blunt force trauma of a truck collision added to the physical stresses incurred by the body’s interaction with safety equipment such as a deployed airbag can cause blunt abdominal trauma. These types of internal injuries can involve the bladder, spleen, liver, pancreas, or kidneys. These injuries can be very difficult to treat and lead to life-long physical limitations.
Rib and torso injuries – These types of injuries are particularly dangerous not only because blunt force trauma to the abdomen can be painful, but because these structures also surround vital organs. Broken ribs that are not identified and properly treated can puncture lungs or cause other severe damage.
Lacerations – although they may seem minor in comparison to internal injuries or head trauma, shattered glass, severed metal, or unrestrained objects within a vehicle can all cause cuts and wounds. Cuts and lacerations from truck accidents can be particularly painful and leave scars that may never heal along with permanent injury to the eyes, head or body.
Amputated limbs or extremities – arms, legs, hands, or feet may be severed in a catastrophic impact.
Burns – unfortunately, burns are more common in collisions with commercial trucks than those involving passenger vehicles. Because trucks are larger and usually cause more damage in an impact, there is a greater risk of fuel tanks rupturing and causing vehicle fires. Not only may a fire destroy a motor vehicle, it can also cause extremely painful and disfiguring injuries from which victims may never be able to fully recover. Burns can also be caused by what is being transported by the commercial vehicle such as flammable materials which are spilled on the roadway during a collision.
Wrongful Death –Unfortunately, the severity of damage involved in an accident with a commercial truck means that not everyone may survive a trucking crash. A death as a result of a trucking accident is described in the legal system as a “wrongful death,” and may necessitate a claim on behalf of the victim’s family.
Chelsie M. Lamie is a personal injury attorney in Safety Harbor, Florida. If you or a loved one have been injured in a tractor trailer vs. car accident, call 727-501-3464 for a free consultation. You can also learn more about Attorney Lamie by visiting www.chelsielamie.com