Truck Drivers Often Suffer These Serious Injuries in a Crash
Truck drivers are essential to the economy of the United States. Our economy would not run without dedicated truckers to transport goods from place to place. Although they may not realize it, everyday Americans enjoy eating strawberries in the middle of the winter, reading a new paperback book from the store, or cooking on new cast iron pans because of truck drivers. No one would have access to these items without dedicated truckers.
Due to the important, time-sensitive nature of their job, truckers are often pushed beyond their limits by employers to move more cargo in a shorter timeframe. When this happens, proper training and safety procedures can be left by the wayside, truck maintenance may go unchecked, and documentation may not be as thorough as it should be.
The negligence of trucking companies and truck drivers puts many people at risk, and though most media scrutiny of the trucking industry focuses on passenger vehicle occupants who lose their lives in truck crashes, these devastating wrecks can just as easily involve other truck drivers.
Common Trucker Injuries in a Tractor-Trailer Crash
Truckers rarely suffer severe injuries after a crash with a passenger vehicle; however, it is common for truckers to sustain serious, life-altering injuries in a crash with another big-rig truck. Here are some common injuries a trucker might suffer from after a crash with another large truck:
Traumatic brain injury (TBI):
Brain injuries usually occur due to either direct trauma to the head or intense forces that affect the head (like the rapid acceleration or deceleration that may occur in a crash). An injury to the brain can be one of the most devastating injuries a human being can suffer, but it can also be one of the most difficult to diagnose. The victim may not realize they have a brain injury right away and may not even be knocked unconscious. Symptoms may develop over time and can include:
- Anxiety or depression
- Vision problems
- Memory or motor-function issues
- Various other cognitive difficulties
Spinal cord injuries and paralysis:
Trucking accidents can often damage the spinal cord, which in turn may lead to partial or total paralysis. Damage to the spinal cord may not be evident right away; in fact, such damage may not even show up on an X-ray, which is why anyone involved in a serious truck crash should undergo an MRI to check for spinal injuries. Paralysis due to spinal cord injuries is often classified as either paraplegia or quadriplegia.
- Paraplegia: Paraplegia is the impairment or loss of function in the lower extremities.
- Quadriplegia: Also known as tetraplegia, quadriplegia is impairment or loss of function in all four limbs.
Amputation refers to the removal of any extremity, such as a foot, hand, arm, or leg. Amputations can occur immediately in trucking accidents — for example, if the incredible force of the crash shears or crushes a limb to the point of separating it from the body — or may occur later when a limb is damaged to the point that it can’t be repaired and must be removed surgically.
The heat and friction created by a crash creates a risk for burns, and large truck crashes also come with the unique danger that one of the trucks may be carrying hazardous chemicals or other materials that can create severe burns on contact.
These injuries can frequently result in a fatality, and even those truckers who survive may suffer consequences from the crash for the remainder of their lives. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI), for example, can change an individual’s entire personality. This type of change can completely alter his or her way of life, relationships, and livelihood. Meanwhile, a substantial physical injury to your spinal cord will significantly change the way you interact with the world around you. Accident victims who live with paraplegia and quadriplegia, for example, generally require multiple surgeries, intensive medical care and physical therapy, and a complete upheaval in their life — including a change in housing to accommodate their new and restrictive needs — in the aftermath of a crash.
In addition to the possibility of suffering from life-altering injuries, truckers unfortunately lose their lives all too often in truck wrecks. Since 2009, the trucking industry has seen an increase in fatal injuries to drivers of tractor-trailer trucks and other large commercial vehicles. Larger states like Texas and California had the highest number of truck driver fatalities over this period, accounting for 17% and 8% of all trucker fatalities, respectively. This is likely due to the high volume of trucking traffic that passes through these states.
The seasons and weather also play a part in trucking accidents. There is more truck traffic during the summer, and therefore a higher rate of accidents. The northern states experience slightly more trucking accidents during the winter as slippery, wet road conditions and fewer daylight hours can make driving more difficult.
Truck Wreck Justice: Holding Negligent Truck Companies Accountable
Even the most focused and responsible truck drivers can suffer life-changing injuries when other truckers or trucking companies engage in negligent behavior. Injured truckers deserve respect, support, and fierce advocacy. The Truck Wreck Justice team at Truck Wreck Justice dedicates itself to providing the legal and emotional help injured drivers need.
If you’re a commercial truck driver and you’ve been injured in a trucking accident, Attorney Morgan Adams has years of experience representing hurt truckers and is ready to discuss your case and legal options right away at no risk to you. Call our offices today at 866-580-HURT (4878) or fill out the contact form on our website and we’ll get in touch to schedule a free consultation as soon as possible.
Trucker Safety. (2015 March). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/truck-safety/
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.