Semi-trucks are much larger than normal vehicles, weighing 20-30 times more than the average car on the road. When an accident involving a truck happens, the passengers and drivers in other vehicles can suffer serious, potentially fatal injuries. Many of these injuries come with long recoveries and painful, chronic conditions. These injuries can leave the affected parties unable to perform critical functions. In addition, it may render them incapable of making a living.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Back and Neck Injuries
Back and neck injuries are the most common injuries in motor vehicle accidents involving tractor trailers and trucks. They range from minor neck pain to dislocated discs. Nearly every movement involves the neck and back. These injuries often require long-term pain management and therapeutic treatment.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal injuries are unique in that they may sometimes not be immediately noticeable. That is why medical diagnosis and treatment after a car accident, especially a trucking accident, are vital. It’s not uncommon for spinal injuries to lead to ongoing mobility issues. In some cases, they can cause paralysis.
Head and Brain Injuries
Head trauma can cause a multitude of life-altering conditions. Trauma to the skull and brain can cause traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and damage or destruction of brain tissue. Each year, nearly 3 million people suffer from TBIs. Like spinal cord injuries, these may not be detected until some time after the accident.
Whiplash often causes head injuries. Symptoms of brain trauma include headaches, confusion, nausea, vision problems, slurred speech, and bleeding from the head or nose. It is important for accident victims who are experiencing those symptoms to seek immediate medical attention.
In the US, nearly half a million people require treatment annually from a burn injury. During a crash, a victim can suffer a burn injury due to airbag deployment, contact with dangerous chemicals, electrocution, or contact with a live wire. Exposure to hot metal or steam as well as car fires and explosions are other contributing factors.
Medical professionals classify burns into three main categories depending on the depth of skin penetration. First-degree burns only damage the top layer of the skin and can generally be treated quickly. Second-degree burns go to the second layer of the skin and cause blistering and a higher degree of pain.
Third-degree burns involve all the layers of the skin and cause permanent damage to tissue, nerves, and blood vessels. They can cause life-threatening damage that may even require amputation.
Amputation and Disfigurement
Disfigurement is permanent damage done to bone or soft tissue like ligaments, skin, and muscles. Road rash and exposure to chemicals can also lead to these types of injury. The surface-level scarring is devastating, and damage can go even deeper. Disfigurements often cause nerve damage and limited mobility as well.
One way truck accidents lead to amputation is crushing limbs under the heavy vehicle weight. Amputations leave survivors feeling disfigured and incomplete. Those who undergo amputations could need lifelong assistance to complete tasks they could once do independently.
Internal injuries are one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Airbags help minimize the impact of a crash, but the deployment of airbags from a truck traveling at high speed can cause blunt abdominal trauma. This may injure the bladder, spleen, liver, pancreas, or kidneys.
Internal bleeding occurs when there is bleeding from any vessel or internal organ. This can be fatal and may be difficult to detect early on. Immediate medical care is necessary in the event of internal bleeding.
In a trucking accident, more bones are broken than in a car accident because of the sheer force. Truck accidents commonly result in blunt force trauma, causing broken and shattered bones. These injuries are mostly treatable, but they are painful and can require a long healing time. Breaking a bone does increase the risk of developing osteoporosis.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Even low-impact collisions can cause soft tissue injuries. These injuries consist of the bones and joints stretching and tearing. This often involves the tearing of tendons, muscles, and joints. Also, a victim can suffer cuts and lacerations from loose personal belongings in a vehicle and from shattered glass or sharp metal.
Symptoms of soft tissue injury include neck pain, jaw pain, blurry vision, neck stiffness, tingling of the shoulders, nausea, headache, vertigo, and concussion.
These injuries often cause a significant amount of pain, and this pain may continue after the injury has healed. Other long-term effects are abnormal curvature of the spine, narrowing of the space between the discs and spine, and muscle spasms.
The spinal cord transmits messages from the brain to different parts of the body through nerve channels. When the spine is traumatized in a trucking accident, the spinal cord sustains damage, and this disrupts the messages from the brain to the rest of the body. This injury generally occurs due to a traumatic injury to the spine. According to Mayo Clinic, automobile and truck accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries leading to paralysis.
Fatal Truck Accidents
Truck accidents are more likely to be fatal than car accidents. Over 4,000 people die annually from truck accidents, many because of the impact of the collision. This can cause families to be torn apart and leave surviving loved ones with hospital bills, medical bills, and funeral expenses.
When to Hire a Truck Accident Attorney
About the Author of this Page: The above information was written or reviewed by one of the attorneys at The Eberst Law Firm who have extensive experience trying legal cases outside and inside courtrooms throughout Florida. This article was also extensively researched to ensure that all information is accurate and up to date. If you want to know more about the author of this page, view our our attorney bios here.