Serious truck accidents may cause injuries and permanent disabilities that alter the life of a victim. Even if a victim eventually recovers, they may need expensive medical treatment and may miss time from work. They also may experience significant pain, as well as emotional and psychological harm. A victim who has suffered catastrophic injuries can seek compensation for their economic and non-economic damages, such as medical bills, lost income and earning capacity, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and lost enjoyment of life. This involves bringing a personal injury lawsuit against anyone who was at fault.
Some injuries in truck accidents are immediately visible, while other injuries may emerge gradually. Even if any pain or symptoms seem minor, a victim should consult a doctor. This can allow the doctor to diagnose and treat any conditions before complications develop. Getting medical attention also can help support a claim. This will create records to document damages, and a medical professional can provide testimony about the condition, treatment, and prognosis of the victim as needed. If a victim does not promptly consult a doctor or does not complete their course of treatment, on the other hand, an insurer may suspect that they are exaggerating their injuries. This may cause problems in pursuing a fair settlement.
Maximum Medical Improvement
A victim may not want to finalize a settlement until they have reached maximum medical improvement. This means that they have recovered or that their condition has stabilized to the extent possible. The full scope of the damages may be hard to calculate until they reach this point.
Common Types of Injuries in Truck Accidents
Some of the most devastating injuries in truck accidents involve damage to the brain or spinal cord. These are especially likely to cause permanent disabilities that affect daily activities. Brain injuries may be open, which means that an object has pierced the skull and exposed brain tissue, or they may be closed, which means that the head has struck an object but has not sustained external damage. Meanwhile, spinal cord injuries may be classified as complete or incomplete. A complete spinal cord injury prevents any movement or sensation below the site, while an incomplete spinal cord injury allows a victim to retain some movement and sensation below the site.
Victims also may suffer broken bones (fractures) due to the impact of a truck striking a passenger car. Fractures often occur in the extremities, where bones are more fragile, but bones also may break in the head, chest, or back, causing a risk of serious complications. The impact of a truck accident may break a bone into several pieces or shatter it. In other cases, a bone fragment may break the skin and create an open wound that poses a risk of infection.
Other potential types of injuries in truck accidents include:
Burn injuries: severe burns destroy the skin and may damage the underlying tissue, requiring skin grafts
Internal organ injuries: these may include a punctured lung, a ruptured spleen, a torn liver, or bleeding in the kidneys
Amputations: these involve removing a limb to extricate a victim from a wrecked vehicle or prevent life-threatening complications
Soft tissue injuries: these usually involve damage to tendons, ligaments, and muscles, such as sprains and strains
Lacerations: home care cannot always resolve these injuries, which may require stitches and cause permanent scars
In addition to physical injuries, a victim may suffer psychological effects from this traumatic event. They may develop post-traumatic stress disorder, for example, which can affect many areas of their career and personal life for months or years afterward. Insurers may view psychological injuries skeptically, but victims have a right to compensation for the counseling, therapy, and medications needed to help them recover. Any medical condition that resulted from a truck accident must be taken seriously and included in a claim for damages.
Some injuries in truck accidents aggravate pre-existing conditions or injuries from which a victim had not fully recovered. Although a defendant or insurer will not need to compensate a victim for a condition that predated the accident, they must pay compensation for the aggravation of the condition. This line is not always easy to draw, so a victim should strongly consider consulting a lawyer in these situations.