Most drivers on the road have certain expectations when it comes to automobile accidents. It’s no surprise that accidents involving semi or 18 wheeler commercial trucks can be extremely dangerous. Personal injury lawyers in the Austin area are available to help accident victims deal with a variety of injuries.
Even when fully unloaded, semi-trucks are much more substantial than regular cars. This weight can cause trouble for truck drivers to maintain control while on the road. It also means a higher potential for severe injury and damage. If you’ve been involved in an accident with a truck, make sure to consult with a truck accident attorney right away to handle the complexities of future litigation.
Most common types of injuries sustained from truck accidents:
- Head injuries
Head injuries are often caused by the impact of the head against an interior part of the car, like the steering wheel. Head or brain injuries can also come from the whiplash created by slamming on the breaks. These injuries can be mild, but can also be life-altering.
After an accident with a truck, victims should be evaluated by a doctor for head injuries. This trauma may not always be apparent at the scene of the accident; it can take hours or even days before symptoms show. A concussion can usually be identified by nausea, vision problems, and confusion. Head injuries should always be taken seriously as they can cause long-term or permanent damage and may even result in death.
- Neck and spinal cord injuries
Injuries to the neck or spinal cord may not be apparent directly after an accident. The force of a massive truck can cause injuries to disks, dislocation, and excruciating pain. If the damage goes all the way down to the bone, muscles, or nerves in the spinal cord, paralysis can occur.
Any amount of pain in the neck or back can result in the inability to return to work for days, months, or years. If the damage makes it to the spine, it could mean never returning to work or even losing the ability to move affected body parts. If doctors suspect a spinal injury, they will most likely order an MRI as opposed to a typical x-ray. Even a tiny bit of tenderness along the spinal cord or neck could indicate a severe injury.
- Injuries inside of the body
Internal injuries are a severe risk from truck accidents. Those involved could sustain injuries to organs like the lungs, liver, heart, spleen, kidneys, or bowels. They might also end up with broken bones, dislocated joints, or bleeding. We have to be especially cautious when fractures occur as broken bones can cause additional damage to internal organs like puncturing lungs.
While most people think of injuries related to the impact of a truck accident, it’s also essential to think outside of impact injuries. Trucks have much large fuel tanks than normal-sized cars, so there are more considerable amounts of fuel on-site. It doesn’t take much for this fuel to ignite, especially if it spills. The resulting fire can result in burns, explosions, or even death.
- Psychological Injuries
Accidents with 18 wheeler trucks can do more than cause physical damage; there is also a psychological impact. People who’ve survived these incidents can develop something akin to PTSD. After their physical injuries are healed, they may find it difficult to return to driving at all. Simple tasks like driving to work, going to the store, or taking care of family members can feel like treacherous journeys.
Sadly, due to the size and magnitude of accidents involving semi-trucks, not everyone involved is guaranteed to survive. Everything should be done to treat and save victims, but wrongful death is a genuine possibility. Some deaths occur immediately on site of the accident while others don’t take place until some time later.
Accident survivors should consider seeking psychological help beyond seeking treatment for their physical injuries. Even the physical injuries themselves can cause psychological trauma that requires professional assistance.
- Property damage
Injuries to the body aren’t the only damages sustained during an accident. Due to the size and weight of semi-trucks, property damage can be enormous. This damage can be directly to your car, which will most likely result in physical damage to your body. This damage can also be to other types of the property depending on the location of the crash. If you happen to be hauling a boat, camper, or something else, an accident with a truck could leave these items wholly destroyed.
Truck Accidents Are Not the Same as Car accidents
It is far too easy to expect accidents with semi-trucks to have the same process as with an accident involving another car. Sadly, this is a mistake. Austin truck accident attorneys often work with accident victims that were not only blindsided by a commercial truck, but by how different the process is.
As mentioned, the potential for severe injuries is much higher when massive trucks are involved. You’ll also find that there are different insurance regulations. Commercial vehicles have regulations that regular automobiles do not: special licenses, annual inspections, logbooks, and more. While these additional regulations are meant to ensure both safe drivers and vehicles on the road, they can also result in a much more complicated insurance process. Determining the exact cause and liability of an accident can be much more difficult.
Since accidents with 18 wheeler trucks are more complex and come with higher risks, you must work with an experienced truck accident attorney. Medical bills and damaged property costs can be high; you don’t want to get underpaid. More importantly, you don’t want to risk your insurance claim being ultimately denied due to your lack of experience and understanding of the many complex regulations and policies around truck drivers. The truck driver’s insurance company will have a team of lawyers working for them; don’t fall behind by going it alone.