A truck accident may cause an abrupt impact that fractures or shatters the bones of a victim. Some of these injuries occur when a truck crushes a passenger car by riding over it or forcing it against another vehicle or object. Broken bones also may occur when a victim suffers from whiplash, which is a sudden jolt forward and backward. The pressure on the spinal column can cause vertebrae to break. Sometimes a victim may collide with objects within the car, such as the steering wheel or dashboard, which may cause bones to break at the point of impact.
Seat Belt Use
Wearing a seat belt can mitigate injuries in a truck accident by holding an occupant in position so that they are less likely to strike objects within the car.
Fractures are classified as incomplete or complete. While an incomplete fracture involves a crack in the bone, a complete fracture occurs when the bone breaks into pieces. Simple fractures are limited to the bone rather than affecting the surrounding area, while compound fractures involve an open wound or a break in the skin around the fracture. Bacteria may enter the wound and infect the bone or bone marrow. A truck accident also may cause a comminuted fracture, which means that the bone breaks into more than two pieces or is shattered completely.
Many broken bones in truck accidents involve the more fragile bones in the extremities, such as the arms, legs, hands, or feet. However, bones also may break in the head, neck, torso, or back, causing more serious complications in some cases. These may include brain injuries, spinal cord damage, or respiratory problems, such as when a broken bone punctures a lung.
Compensation for Broken Bones in Truck Accidents
Even if a victim does not suffer life-threatening complications, they may face a long and arduous recovery. They may need surgery, and they may not be able to go to work or perform their normal household activities until the fracture heals. Problems with the healing process may require additional treatment, such as when the bone heals in the wrong position. A child who suffers a fracture in a bone that is still developing may later suffer from deformities in the bone. However, most ordinary broken bones do not cause permanent disabilities.
Through a personal injury claim after a truck accident, a victim can pursue economic and non-economic damages caused by a broken bone. These may include the costs for treating the fracture and income that they lost while they were healing. Broken bones also may be extremely painful, and a victim can recover compensation for their pain and suffering. If a broken bone led to complications that required further treatment and time missed from work, a victim can recover damages related to those complications as well. Evidence used to support compensation for a broken bone may include bills from health care providers, pay stubs to show missed wages, and testimony from friends and family members about pain and suffering.
Whom to Sue for Broken Bones After a Truck Accident
Errors or careless behaviors by truck drivers often lead to serious accidents, but the driver is often not the only defendant who should be sued. Sometimes a trucking company bears fault for an accident, such as when it hired an unqualified driver or failed to maintain its trucks. In other cases, a truck manufacturer that supplied a defective component may have contributed to an accident. Potential defendants also may include a company that improperly loaded or repaired a truck.
Trucking Company Liability
Even if a trucking company did not directly cause an accident, the company often may be held vicariously (indirectly) liable if its driver acted carelessly within the scope of their employment. This can help a victim maximize their compensation, since trucking companies usually have greater assets and insurance.
A victim of a truck accident should consider hiring an experienced lawyer who can investigate the accident and determine all the parties that may have been responsible. A lawyer also can gather evidence and ensure that a case complies with procedural rules. A victim probably will need to pay their attorney for their services only after they receive compensation. The lawyer will collect a percentage of the award.