When an 80,000-pound commercial truck is involved in a traffic accident, the aftermath can be horrific, including massive property damage and devastating catastrophic injuries and fatalities. Unfortunately, it is the occupants of the passenger vehicles involved in the accident who suffer the most severe injuries. Owing to the force of impact and the massive size and weight of the average truck, the resulting injuries can range from broken bones and lacerations to internal bleeding and amputations. Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, are also common in truck accidents. However, unlike other injuries that may heal over time, serious head injuries can cause the victim to suffer permanent physical, emotional, and cognitive impairments.
What Types of Head Injuries Do Truck Accidents Cause?
Just like other injuries can range in severity from relatively minor to severe, there are a range of head injuries that truck accidents can cause, including the following:
- These injuries are often caused by a blow to the head or violent shaking from an accident. Common symptoms of a concussion include headaches, nausea, insomnia, and problems concentrating. Multiple concussions can cause permanent brain damage.
- Skull fracture. The force of impact can cause a fracture in the victim’s cranial bone. Symptoms include swelling, facial bruising, bleeding from the nose or ears, headache, and nausea. Surgery may be necessary to repair the damage.
- This occurs when there is clotting or a collection of blood outside the blood vessels, which can cause pressure to build up in the brain. This is a dangerous condition that can lead to permanent brain damage.
- This is uncontrollable bleeding in the brain or skull tissue that can lead to a coma or death.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI). This is the most common truck accident-related injury. It can have a permanent impact on the victim’s quality of life, depending on the severity of the injury.
What are the Common Effects of Head Injuries?
Depending on the nature of the accident and the force of the impact, a head injury can range from a minor concussion to a severe TBI. The brain is an extremely complex organ, and it can be difficult to determine the long-term consequences of a head injury. Doctors will consider a range of factors, including which part of the brain was affected, the force of the impact, and the symptoms that the injured victim is experiencing. The following are examples of common effects of truck accident head injuries:
- Cognitive impairments. This can include difficulty concentrating, reading, writing, organizing, expressing thoughts, and remembering simple information.
- Ability to return to work. While the injured party is recovering, doctors often advise them to avoid using computers, cell phones, and other technology. They are also urged to avoid driving while they are recovering from a head injury. This can make it difficult to return to work for an extended period.
- Physical impairments. Head injuries can impact the brain’s ability to send signals to other parts of the body. This can affect the victim’s balance, coordination, and motor functions, as well as his or her senses. For example, the injured person may experience light sensitivity, vision changes, and hearing problems.
- Personality changes. Victims of head injuries can experience temporary or permanent behavior changes, including depression, recklessness, and anger issues. This can make the recovery process even more difficult.
- Reduced independence. Depending on the severity of the injury, the victim may be unable to walk, perform self-care, or even breathe on their own. As a result, the victim must rely on family members for even the most basic activities of life, such as eating and bathing.
What are Other Common Truck Accident Injuries?
Serious head injuries and TBIs are among the common injuries that can occur in truck accidents if the victim is fortunate enough to survive the accident. Unfortunately, truck accident victims often suffer multiple injuries. Although head injuries are common, the following are examples of other common injuries that truck accidents can cause:
- Back and neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Torso injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
Unfortunately, truck accidents often result in fatalities. In fact, tractor trailer accidents are 10 times more likely to result in fatalities than accidents involving passenger vehicles. When a devastating truck accident results in a tragic fatality, a dedicated truck accident lawyer will assist the surviving family members with a wrongful death lawsuit. Although this cannot replace the loved one, it can provide financial relief for the grieving family.
What Steps Should I Take Immediately Following a Truck Accident?
Truck accidents are traumatic and terrifying experiences. If the occupants of the passenger vehicle survived the accident, it is crucial that they take the following steps in order to ensure that help arrives, and that their legal rights are protected during the claims process:
- Call 911. If the victim is physically able to do so, he or she must call 911 to report the accident. The dispatcher will send police and an ambulance to the accident scene. The dispatcher should be told if there were multiple vehicles involved in the accident and if more than one ambulance is needed. The victim should request a copy of the police report. This proves important documentation about the accident and may help prove fault.
- Seek immediate medical attention. Truck accident injuries, including head injuries, are often severe. However, even if the injury seems minor, there could be serious, underlying injuries that may not be obvious right away. For example, internal bleeding may not be immediately obvious, but a doctor will be able to diagnose this and treat the problem.
- Collect evidence. If the victim is able to move safely, they should take photos of the accident scene, including damage to the vehicle, injuries, debris in the road, and weather conditions at the time of the accident. If witnesses saw the accident, they should be asked if they would be willing to provide a statement and their contact information. In addition, the contact information from the other driver should be collected, as well as his or her driver’s license number, insurance company, and policy number. The truck’s license plate number and the contact information of the truck driver’s employer should also be obtained.
- Get the vehicle appraised. The repair estimate will be part of the insurance claim, so it is important to have the vehicle assessed by a qualified mechanic. However, no work should be done until it has been cleared with the insurance company.
- Do not apologize. Even if it feels like the nice thing to say, motorists are urged to avoid apologizing for the accident. The truck driver may use this against the injured motorist and use it to damage his or her credibility during the claims process. Motorists should say as little as possible when speaking to the truck driver.
- Do not post details of the accident on social media. If a motorist survived a truck accident, they may be tempted to post the pictures of the aftermath. If the victim includes a comment suggesting that they were not badly hurt, it can hurt the outcome of the claim.
- Contact an experienced truck accident lawyer. Truck companies often have a team of high-paid lawyers at their disposal. They will do whatever it takes to avoid a costly settlement. A skilled truck accident lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company, obtain all of the evidence necessary, and ensure that the injured party receives the financial compensation he or she deserves.
What Damages May I Receive After a Truck Accident?
The costs associated with truck accidents can accumulate very quickly, particularly if the occupant of the passenger vehicle suffered a serious head injury. If the truck driver involved in the accident was negligent in any way, an experienced truck accident lawyer will ensure that the victim receives the financial compensation they deserve, including the following:
- Medical expenses. Owing to the extreme nature of the average truck accident and the severe injuries that they cause, medical expenses can accumulate very quickly. This can be financially devastating, particularly if the victim requires long-term care. The negligent party may be required to pay for hospital expenses, future health care costs associated with the accident, prescription medications, physical therapy, outpatient visits, and other expenses related to the accident.
- Lost wages. If the head injury prevents the victim from returning to work for an extended period, he or she may collect financial compensation for the lost income resulting from the accident, as well as lost future earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering. This provides financial compensation for mental anguish, depression, anxiety, permanent paralysis, and other factors that result in a reduced quality of life.
Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyers at ACTS Law Represent Victims of Devastating Truck Accidents
If you or a loved one suffered a serious head injury in a truck accident, do not hesitate to contact the Los Angeles truck accident lawyers at ACTS Law. We will explain every step of the claims process and fight for the financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 833-ACTS-LAW or contact us online. With offices located in San Diego and Los Angeles, we serve clients throughout Southern California.