The sudden impact of a truck accident can cause a victim in a passenger car to strike objects in the vehicle. Even at relatively low speeds, this blunt force trauma may directly result in damage to internal organs, or it may cause fractures in which part of a bone punctures an internal organ. In the immediate aftermath of an accident, a victim may not know that they have suffered internal organ injuries. Their signs and symptoms may not be visible or easily understood. A victim should get medical attention promptly after an accident if they notice even mild symptoms, since they may need treatment to avoid serious or life-threatening complications.
Organs that may be damaged in a truck accident include the lungs, liver, kidneys, and spleen. Some examples of internal organ injuries include:
A punctured lung caused by a fractured rib, which may cause the lung to collapse and leak air into the chest cavity (pneumothorax)
Tears in the liver that may lead to internal bleeding, which must be surgically resolved
Bleeding in the kidneys caused by an impact to the lower back, which may require a transplant or dialysis
Pooling blood in the abdomen caused by internal bleeding from a ruptured spleen, which may require surgery
A rupture of the aorta (a major artery) in the abdomen when the impact of a truck accident crushes the stomach, which may cause a tragic loss of life
While many internal organ injuries can be resolved or mitigated through prompt medical attention, allowing them to go untreated may pose a risk of death or permanent disabilities. If a victim goes to a doctor but does not get appropriate treatment for their injuries, they may have a medical malpractice claim against the doctor in addition to legal claims against people or entities in the trucking industry.
Compensation for Internal Organ Injuries Caused by Truck Accidents
More often than not, truck accidents result from dangerous behaviors by a truck driver or trucking company. A driver may get behind the wheel while they are excessively fatigued or under the influence of alcohol or drugs, for example, while a trucking company may hire an unqualified driver or fail to properly maintain its trucks. In these situations, a victim can pursue a negligence claim for compensation. They would need to show that the accident that caused their internal injuries directly resulted from a failure to use reasonable care under the circumstances. Even if a trucking company acted reasonably, it often may be held indirectly liable for actions by its driver that occurred within the scope of the employment relationship.
Claims Against Truck Manufacturers
Sometimes a truck accident results from a defect in the truck or one of its components. This may support a products liability claim against a truck manufacturer, which usually would rely on showing a design or manufacturing defect.
Internal organ injuries may result in substantial medical bills and time missed from work. A victim even may suffer harm to their career prospects and lose the ability to participate in certain recreational activities. They can recover compensation for their medical treatment, lost income and earning capacity, pain and suffering, and lost enjoyment of life, among other damages. Trucking companies and their insurers often try to resolve a case quickly and cheaply by offering a modest settlement, but this may not account for the full impact of internal injuries. A victim should consider hiring a lawyer to file a lawsuit on their behalf. This usually improves their prospects of receiving fair compensation.
An experienced lawyer will know how to investigate an accident, bring all the appropriate parties into the litigation, gather evidence of liability and damages, and maneuver a case around any procedural obstacles. They generally do not charge any upfront fees to a victim. Instead, the lawyer will collect their fee as a certain percentage of the compensation that their client receives.