Given the massive size and weight of commercial trucks, accidents involving these vehicles are much more likely to result in severe injuries for the people involved. Occupants of passenger vehicles are particularly vulnerable to truck accidents. In fact, 67 percent of fatalities in truck accidents were occupants of passenger vehicles in one recent year, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Conversely, just 16 percent of fatalities were truck occupants.
When a large commercial truck is full of cargo, it can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Most cars, on the other hand, don’t weigh much more than 4,000 pounds, or 2 tons. Being impacted by such a large, heavy vehicle can have devastating consequences for passenger vehicle occupants.
If you were injured in a truck accident, you could be entitled to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and more. You should not have to pay for these expenses if someone else caused the accident. The seasoned truck accident attorneys at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., have the knowledge and resources to help you pursue the compensation you need to rebuild your life after an accident.
Contact our team today for a free consultation to discuss your case and your legal options.
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Types of Injuries in a Truck Accident in Decatur
Many truck accidents cause debilitating injuries that completely alter a victim’s life, and fatalities are not uncommon.
Some of the most common truck accident injuries include:
- Spinal cord injuries – The four main types of spinal cord injuries are lumbar, cervical, sacral, and thoracic. They occur along with different parts of the spine, with cervical spinal cord injuries often being the most serious since they affect the neck and shoulder area. Depending on the severity of a spinal cord injury and where along the spinal cord it occurs, paralysis could result from the injury.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) – TBIs can range from mild concussions to life-threatening hematomas. TBIs can cause a range of physical symptoms but can also cause memory, logic, reasoning, and personality issues. TBIs are not uncommon in truck accidents.
- Back injuries – Back injuries can include pinched nerves, ruptured discs, strains, and sprains. Some back injuries require surgery and others require physical therapy to fully recover.
- Joint damage – Damage to joints can easily occur in a truck accident, particularly if a certain part of the body is pulled or twisted during the collision.
- Burns – Crash victims can suffer burns if they’re exposed to hot metals or liquids in an accident, such as gasoline, or if a fire starts. The risk of fire is especially high if an accident involves a large truck carrying hazardous cargo, like an oil truck.
- Whiplash – Whiplash occurs when muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the neck and shoulders are strained or torn due to a sudden, violent jerking of the head. Whiplash is common in rear-end accidents.
- Broken bones – Broken bones are extremely common in truck accidents and can occur almost anywhere in the body, including in the limbs and the ribs.
- Internal injuries – Internal injuries are not always immediately apparent right after an accident, but if left untreated, they can cause complications. Common internal injuries include a ruptured spleen, ruptured kidneys, and punctured lungs.
- Amputation and disfigurement – Amputations and disfigurement sometimes occur as a result of truck accidents, sadly. These injuries can permanently alter a person’s life.
- Mental Injuries – Not all injuries are physical. Truck accidents are traumatic events and can result in depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), emotional anguish, mental distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and other mental health issues.
Because truck accidents tend to cause severe injuries, many of which require long-term care, your medical expenses can quickly begin to add up. If you can’t afford the cost of treatment, you could end up deep in medical debt. Other costs associated with truck accidents include the cost of vehicle repairs and lost earnings if you’re unable to return to work.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, then you could be entitled to recover compensation for these expenses. The at-fault party should be responsible for covering these costs. Our attorneys have what it takes to help you hold the at-fault party accountable for their misconduct.
Compensation is designed to help you cover costs related to your injuries and the accident. You can claim compensation for both financial and non-financial losses. Some common types of payment that truck accident victims may be entitled to include:
- Present and future medical expenses related to your injuries, including hospital bills, physical therapy expenses, surgical costs, prescription medication expenses, and more
- Lost wages, if you can’t work for some time following the accident due to your injuries
- Lost earning potential, if you’re unable to return to your work or profession as a result of long-term injuries or disabilities
- Pain and suffering, including physical pain, emotional distress, mental trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, and loss of enjoyment of life
- Property damage, such as damage to your car
In exceptional cases, you might also be able to seek punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the at-fault party for excessive recklessness or gross negligence, and you may be entitled to them depending on the circumstances of your case.
What to Do After Being Injured in a Truck Accident in Decatur
In the aftermath of a truck accident, you may be in shock, and it may take a while for the reality of what occurred to settle in. Below, we’ll list some steps you can take after the accident to help ensure your rights are protected.
- Seek medical treatment. See a doctor for a complete medical exam as soon as possible. Your health is the most important thing, and you may have sustained injuries you don’t know about. Some insurance companies also require you to be seen by a medical professional within 72-hours of the accident that injured you to claim compensation.
- Take photos and videos. If you can, take pictures and videos of the accident from various angles. Take pictures of the scene, the property damage, and your injuries. Photo and video evidence can provide evidence of liability.
- Keep a pain journal. Maintain a journal in which you record details about your recovery and your level of pain each day. Your attorney may use this journal to help you determine compensation for pain and suffering.
- Consult with an attorney. You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. An attorney will have the ability to investigate the accident, gather evidence to help support your claim, document damages, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Liability in truck accidents can also be complex since there could be multiple at-fault parties. Consulting with an attorney is your best bet at getting the settlement you deserve.
Truck Accident Statistics in Decatur
According to data reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 5,005 large trucks involved in crashes with at least one fatality during a single recent year.
In Alabama, NHTSA recorded 117 fatal accidents involving large trucks. In addition, 1,529 Alabama truck crashes resulted in injuries that same year, meaning that close to 20 percent of the state’s truck accidents resulted in injuries.