Truck accidents are a terrifying reality on many roads. When a passenger vehicle collides with an 18-wheeler or another massive commercial truck, the smaller vehicle’s occupants will likely suffer serious and potentially life-changing injuries.
In the aftermath of a traumatic truck accident, victims and their families will often face physical, emotional, and financial challenges that are very hard to deal with. Along with expensive medical bills and severe pain, getting hurt may also come with the stress of losing income for an extended period.
This blog will discuss the injuries caused by colliding with a commercial truck and the legal options for pursuing compensation with the help of a truck accident lawyer.
Common Injuries Caused By Las Vegas Truck Accidents
A fully-loaded big rig can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. The dangers of colliding with these large vehicles are exponentially greater at high speeds, such as highways and freeways, where most passenger vehicles are likely to encounter a commercial truck.
These devastating accidents can cause significant harm, including catastrophic injuries affecting the victim’s physical and mental health for many years. Some examples of common injuries victims in Las Vegas suffer after a truck accident include:
The violent force of a collision with a large commercial truck can cause fractures, dislocations, or even complete breaks in the arms, legs, ribs, and collarbone. In complex compound fractures, the bone is so shattered that fragments can break through the skin or pierce nearby organs.
Depending on the severity of a broken bone, the victim may need surgery, followed by physical therapy and a very painful rehabilitative period. In many cases, these injuries will never fully heal and potentially create long-term mobility issues.
The human body cannot easily withstand the impact and trauma of a truck accident. During these collisions, victims can suffer serious internal bleeding and damage to their vital organs, including punctured lungs and lacerations to the liver or spleen.
While internal injuries are potentially life-threatening, the symptoms often won’t show up right away, especially after the shock and adrenaline rush of being in an accident. Delays in detecting and treating internal injuries can lead to complications like sepsis, organ failure, and cardiac arrest.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
One of the most vulnerable parts of the body in such an accident is the head, which is at risk of striking the steering wheel, window, large pieces of debris, or being violently jostled at the point of impact.
Head trauma can range from relatively mild concussions to severe skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries. The effects of these injuries can be profound and permanent, including wide-ranging consequences for the victim’s physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being. Severe head injuries often require a lifetime of medical care and rehabilitation, which makes these injuries incredibly expensive and disruptive.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord damage is one of the most life-altering outcomes of being in a crash that involves a large truck. Suffering a direct impact on the spine, leading to partial or complete paralysis and a host of difficult complications. Along with the severe physical limitations, spinal cord injuries cause chronic pain, numbness, loss of bladder control, a higher risk for heart problems, and sexual dysfunction. Victims face permanent impairments in mobility, independence, and quality of life.
Victims of a commercial truck accident can suffer traumatic amputation either due to a limb being severed during the collision or as a complication from severe crushing injuries when surgical removal becomes necessary to save their life. The disabling loss of an arm, leg, foot, or hand can inflict major physical and psychological blows.
Traumatic amputations can significantly impact the victim’s ability to work, complete daily tasks independently and lead a productive life. These injuries often require multiple surgeries, physical therapy, and expensive prosthetics.
Who Can I Hold Responsible After Serious Truck Accident Injuries?
Many different factors can contribute to a serious commercial truck accident, but the vast majority are explicitly preventable. Many heart-breaking Las Vegas accidents directly result from the carelessness of the truck driver, their employer, or other relevant parties. When negligence plays a role in the causes of a serious accident, victims are entitled to pursue financial compensation.
Most truck drivers don’t have the personal financial resources to cover the astronomical damages caused by these kinds of accidents. That’s why it’s crucial to pursue restitution through every legal channel available, depending on the unique circumstances of your case.
An experienced truck accident attorney will be able to investigate what caused the crash, who can be held accountable, and how to establish the legal standard for liability.
Some of the parties that can be held responsible for truck accident injuries include:
Due to their size, trucks are much less agile and slower to respond to road conditions while navigating through traffic. They’re also designed with inherent blind spots—areas of poor visibility that make it difficult for drivers to react to other vehicles, pedestrians, or road hazards in time to avoid an accident.
These risks require truck drivers to be extra cautious and alert every time they get behind the wheel, as well as to follow the strict federal and state laws that regulate the truck industry. Unfortunately, many drivers don’t take this responsibility seriously enough to avoid negligent driving behaviors that can cause tragic accidents.
You can hold them liable for causing a crash due to:
- Distracted driving, such as using a smartphone
- Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Committing traffic violations, such as speeding or changing lanes without signaling
- Driving while fatigued due to not taking federally-mandated rest periods
Truck Company Owners
As the operators of the largest and most dangerous vehicles on the road, trucking companies have a great deal of legal responsibility for ensuring public safety. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has mandated specific standards to reduce the risk of serious harm, which include qualifications for drivers, regulations for inspecting and maintaining vehicles, and a series of proactive measures to prevent unsafe driving behaviors. Trucking companies can be liable for negligence due to a wide range of failures that may have contributed to a serious accident, such as:
- Inadequate hiring practices: Trucking companies have to thoroughly vet the qualifications and necessary certifications of their drivers to prevent inexperienced, unqualified drivers from getting behind the wheel of these mammoth vehicles.
- Inadequate supervision: One of the most important functions of trucking companies is monitoring their drivers regularly to make sure they follow basic safe driving practices, as well as federal regulations. For example, employees that demand excessively-long work days, impose an unrealistic timeline for delivery, or don’t enforce necessary rest periods can be held responsible for a fatigue-related accident.
- Inadequate truck maintenance: A poorly-maintained truck can result in dangerous conditions on the road, including equipment failures, sudden breakdowns, or poor visibility from blind spot-mitigating cameras malfunctioning. Trucking companies have to address all potential issues before they become a hazard.
The Company Responsible For Loading The Cargo
Like everything else that involves trucking, cargo loading is regulated according to specific safety guidelines to prevent accidents. Improperly loaded cargo is a major violation because it can cause the vehicle to become unstable. On a busy highway, the consequences of cargo that’s not properly balanced or secured can be devastating. For example, cargo that falls off the truck can cause other vehicles to swerve off the road or crash. When cargo-loading companies fail to follow best practices for the industry, they can be held liable for accidents that were the direct result of these oversights.
Strengthening Your Case For Compensation After Truck Accident Injuries
The aftermath of getting injured in a commercial truck accident is likely to be the hardest period in any victim’s life. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and uncertain about how to navigate the legal process. The encouraging news is that personal injury laws were designed to hold negligent truck companies accountable and to help victims recover the financial resources they need to recover. It’s also important to know that there are crucial steps that victims and their families should take to bolster their case for compensation, especially in the weeks and months immediately after an accident. Some of the best ways to strengthen your truck accident case include the following:
Listen To Your Doctors
Following medical advice is absolutely critical both for making a full recovery and for getting the compensation you deserve. Your medical records will play a critical role in establishing the extent of your injuries and their impact on your life. Lawyers for the liable party’s insurance company will examine your records in detail, looking for any inconsistencies or failure to comply with recommended treatments that could potentially be used against you. For example, they could argue that your injuries weren’t as debilitating as claimed or that you’re exaggerating symptoms. Take care of yourself, work closely with your doctors, and avoid pushing too hard to rush back into normal activities.
Document All Your Damages
Personal injury cases are very complex, especially when there are significant damages involved. Filing a successful claim will depend heavily on being able to provide extensive documentation about the economic and non-economic losses you’ve suffered. Economic damages are all the measurable financial losses that result directly from the at-fault party’s negligence, such as medical expenses, lost income, and property damage. An experienced attorney can help you gather all the relevant evidence to provide a clear picture of your economic losses.
It’s also just as important to document the intangible impacts of the accident, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and a decreased quality of life, which can be even more debilitating than the financial costs. One way to keep track of these non-economic damages is by writing a journal that chronicles your recovery process, with details of the physical discomfort, stress, and disruption to daily life that resulted from getting injured. The testimony of friends and family members about your struggles since the accident can also be a powerful way to substantiate your damages.
Hire An Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
It’s essential to understand that you’re not legally obligated to speak directly with representatives from the liable party’s insurance company and that you should be cautious about doing so. Their main goal is to minimize their client’s financial responsibility by any means possible, which can include twisting your statements in a way that potentially harms your case.
Avoid costly mistakes by letting a seasoned legal professional handle all communications on your behalf and take charge of the negotiation process. Your attorney will evaluate all settlement offers, help you make informed decisions, and provide strategic support to help you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
How A Truck Accident Attorney Can Help
Being in a serious truck accident due to negligence is an incredibly high-stakes situation for victims and their families. Along with suffering from severe injuries with disruptive long-term consequences, like broken bones, head trauma, or spinal cord damage, the aftermath of getting hurt will also include an overwhelming financial burden. Having a knowledgeable truck accident attorney handling your claim for compensation can make all the difference in being able to present our case in the strongest possible light. Some of the ways a lawyer can help you have the best possible outcome include:
- Gather evidence to establish liability, such as proving that the truck’s owner contributed to the accident by violating federal regulations.
- Hiring trusted experts to provide crucial testimony supporting your case, such as medical specialists that can demonstrate the extent of your injuries and resulting damages
- Negotiating with insurers to push back against lowball settlement offers and maximize the amount of compensation available.
Along with helping victims level the playing field with trucking companies and their lawyers, having an attorney representing your best interests also provides peace of mind. Letting someone else handle the legal aspects of your case is essential for being able to focus on your physical and emotional recovery.