Accidents involving 18-wheelers, big rigs, or semi-trucks can be devastating and often result in serious injuries. These large commercial vehicles can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and cause significant damage in a collision with a smaller vehicle. The sheer size and weight of these vehicles make them a formidable force on the road, and when they are involved in accidents, the consequences can be catastrophic.
Houston truck accident attorney Greg Baumgartner will discuss the different types of injuries that can occur in accidents with 18-wheelers. He will also cover the factors contributing to the severity of these injuries and guide you in seeking compensation if you have been a victim of such an accident.
Severe Injuries are the Norm
The impact of an 18-wheeler accident can be life-altering. The injuries can range from minor cuts and bruises to life-threatening conditions. The recovery process can be long and arduous, often requiring extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation.
Furthermore, the emotional trauma associated with trucking accidents can also affect the victim’s mental health. It is, therefore, crucial to understand the potential injuries that can result from these accidents and to take necessary precautions when sharing the road with these large vehicles.
Common Injuries from 18-Wheeler Accidents
Head and Brain Injuries
Head and brain injuries are among the most common injuries in 18-wheeler accidents. These can range from minor concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The impact of a collision with an 18-wheeler can cause the head to hit the steering wheel, dashboard, or window, resulting in a head injury.
In some cases, the brain can also be injured due to the sudden jolt or movement of the head during the accident. These injuries can have long-lasting effects and may require extensive medical treatment.
Head and brain injuries can be particularly devastating, leading to cognitive impairment, memory loss, and personality changes. In severe cases, victims may require lifelong care and support. The recovery process can be slow and challenging, often involving physical, occupational, and speech therapy. It is also important to note that the symptoms of a brain injury may not be immediately apparent following an accident.
Therefore, seeking medical attention immediately after an accident is crucial, even if you feel fine.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Another common injury in 18-wheeler accidents is a spinal cord injury. The spinal cord is a vital part of the body that carries messages from the brain to the rest of the body. Injuries to the spinal cord can result in partial or complete paralysis, depending on the severity of the injury. The impact of a collision with an 18-wheeler can cause damage to the spinal cord, leading to permanent disabilities and a lifetime of medical care.
Spinal cord injuries can drastically alter a person’s life, often requiring them to adapt to a new way of living. They may require assistive devices such as wheelchairs or walkers, and they may need to modify their home to accommodate their new physical limitations.
Furthermore, they may require ongoing physical therapy and other treatments to manage their condition. The financial burden associated with spinal cord injuries can be significant, adding to the stress and trauma of the accident.
Broken Bones and Fractures
The force of an 18-wheeler accident can also cause broken bones and fractures. These injuries can occur in any part of the body, but the most common areas affected are the arms, legs, ribs, and pelvis. The severity of these injuries can vary, from minor fractures that require a cast to more severe breaks that may require surgery. In some cases, these injuries can also lead to long-term complications and chronic pain.
Broken bones and fractures can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. They may limit mobility and require a lengthy recovery period. Victims may sometimes require physical therapy to regain strength and mobility in the affected area. Additionally, severe fractures may require surgical intervention, resulting in risks and complications.
Therefore, seeking immediate medical attention following an 18-wheeler accident is crucial to ensure that any fractures or broken bones are promptly and appropriately treated.
The impact of an 18-wheeler accident can also cause internal injuries, which can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. These injuries can include damage to internal organs such as the liver, spleen, or kidneys. Internal bleeding may also occur in some cases, which can be difficult to detect and require emergency surgery. Internal injuries can have long-term effects on a person’s health and may require ongoing medical treatment.
Internal injuries can be particularly dangerous as they are not always immediately apparent following an accident. Symptoms such as abdominal pain, dizziness, and shortness of breath may indicate an internal injury. These injuries can lead to serious complications and even death if left untreated.
Therefore, seeking immediate medical attention following an 18-wheeler accident is crucial, even if you do not have visible injuries.
Burns and Lacerations
In accidents involving 18-wheelers, there is also a risk of burns and lacerations. The impact of the collision can cause the vehicle to catch fire, resulting in burns to the driver and passengers. In some cases, the impact can also cause broken glass and sharp metal objects to fly, resulting in lacerations and deep cuts. These injuries can be severe and require extensive medical treatment, including skin grafts and reconstructive surgery.
Burns and lacerations can be incredibly painful and may leave lasting scars. In severe cases, they may also lead to infections and other complications. The recovery process can be long and may involve multiple surgeries and treatments. Furthermore, the emotional impact of these injuries can be significant, often leading to psychological trauma and distress.
Aside from physical injuries, accidents with 18-wheelers can also cause psychological injuries. The trauma of a serious accident can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, mental anguish, and depression. These injuries can significantly impact a person’s mental health and may require therapy and medication to manage.
The psychological impact of an 18-wheeler accident should not be underestimated. Victims may experience flashbacks, nightmares, and a fear of driving or being on the road. Symptoms of mental anguish can interfere with daily life and can be just as debilitating as physical injuries. Therefore, seeking professional help to manage these symptoms and aid in the recovery process is crucial.
Factors That Contribute to 18-Wheeler Accident Injuries
There are many causes of accidents with big trucks. Several factors can contribute to the severity of injuries in accidents involving 18-wheelers. These include:
Speed and Size
The speed at which an 18-wheeler travels can greatly impact the severity of injuries in an accident. The faster the vehicle moves, the more force it will have upon impact, increasing the likelihood of serious injuries. High-speed collisions can result in more severe injuries and a higher risk of fatalities. Given that a semi can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, even a low-speed crash can produce severe injuries.
Speed increases the impact force and reduces the driver’s ability to react in time to avoid a collision. It can also make it more difficult for the driver to control the vehicle, especially in adverse weather conditions or when navigating curves and turns. Therefore, it is crucial for 18-wheeler drivers to adhere to speed limits posted in Texas and to adjust their speed based on road and traffic conditions.
Truck drivers are often on the road for long hours, and fatigue can be a significant factor in accidents. When drivers are tired, their reaction time is slower, and they may be more prone to making mistakes, increasing the risk of an accident. Fatigue can impair a driver’s ability to concentrate and make sound decisions, leading to dangerous situations on the road.
Driver fatigue is a serious issue in the trucking industry, with many drivers working long hours to meet tight deadlines. Trucking companies need to ensure their drivers are taking adequate rest breaks and are not exceeding the maximum allowable driving hours. Additionally, drivers should be aware of the signs of fatigue and pull over to rest if they feel tired. Section 392.3 of the FMCSR addresses driver fatigue.
Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents involving 18-wheelers. Truck drivers may be distracted by their phones, GPS devices, or other factors, leading to a loss of focus on the road and an increased risk of collisions. Distractions can take a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off driving, all of which can lead to accidents.
DOT has set rules limiting cell phone use while driving.
Distracted driving is a growing problem on our roads, with the increasing use of smartphones and other electronic devices. It is important for drivers to understand the dangers of distracted driving and to take steps to minimize distractions while on the road. This can include turning off mobile devices or using hands-free options, planning routes in advance, and avoiding eating or other activities while driving.
18-wheelers require regular maintenance to ensure they operate safely on the road. If a truck is not properly maintained, it can lead to mechanical failures, such as brake failure or tire blowouts, which can cause accidents and serious injuries. Poor maintenance can lead to problems, from faulty brakes to tire blowouts, resulting in serious accidents.
Regular maintenance and inspections are crucial to ensuring the safety of 18-wheelers on the road. This includes regular checks of the brakes, tires, lights, and other critical components. Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring their vehicles are properly maintained and safe for the road. Failure to do so can result in serious accidents and injuries and a big rig being put out of service.
Seeking Compensation for 18-Wheeler Accident Injuries
If you have been injured in an accident with an 18-wheeler, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. This can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, disability, and disfigurement. However, seeking compensation in these types of accidents can be complex, and it is essential to seek the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
A truck accident injury lawyer can help gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and fight for your rights in court if necessary. They can also help determine the full extent of your injuries and calculate the appropriate compensation you deserve. An experienced lawyer can guide you through the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected.
In addition to medical expenses and lost wages, you may also be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. These are known as non-economic damages and can be significant in cases involving severe injuries or permanent disabilities. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and advocate to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Get Help from Top-Rated Houston Trucking Accident Law Firm
Accidents involving 18-wheelers can result in many injuries, from minor cuts and bruises to life-altering disabilities. It is crucial to seek medical attention immediately after an accident, consult a personal injury lawyer to protect your rights, and seek compensation for your injuries. By understanding the types of injuries that can occur in these accidents and the factors contributing to their severity, we can work towards preventing them and keeping our roads safer for everyone.
The aftermath of an 18-wheeler accident can be overwhelming, but it is important to remember that help is available. Medical professionals can provide the necessary treatment and care for physical injuries, and mental health professionals can offer support for any psychological trauma.
The 18-wheeler accident attorneys at Baumgartner Law Firm can guide you through the process of seeking compensation and can advocate on your behalf. By working together, we can ensure that victims of 18-wheeler accidents receive the care and support they need to recover and move forward.
6711 Cypress Creek Pkwy, Houston, TX, 77069
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About Our Law Firm
Baumgartner Law Firm is a Houston personal injury law firm established in 1985 to fight for maximum compensation for accident victims.
Our founding attorney, Greg Baumgartner, holds double law degrees and is a graduate of Trial Lawyers College. Greg has been a peer-reviewed, preeminent-rated personal injury lawyer for decades and recovered millions of dollars for our clients. If you or a family member has been injured in Houston, TX, contact Baumgartner Law Firm for a free consultation. (281) 587-1111.