Some injuries arising from truck accidents are not life-threatening and may not have permanent consequences, but this does not mean that they should be disregarded. People often underestimate the significance of soft tissue injuries. These most often involve injuries to tendons, ligaments, or muscles. Some examples of soft tissue injuries include:
Sprains, which involve stretching or tearing the ligaments that connect the ends of bones and stabilize the joints
Strains, which involve stretching or partially or completely tearing tendons or muscles
Contusions, which involve blunt force trauma that crushes tissue without breaking the skin
Stress fractures, which are tiny cracks in bones that do not rise to the level of most broken bones
Most soft tissue injuries have a strong prognosis, and a victim may recover more quickly than people who have suffered injuries such as internal organ injuries, brain trauma, or spinal cord injuries. However, a victim still may require medical treatment and follow-up care, and they may suffer significant pain. They also may need to miss time from work while they heal.
Pursuing Compensation for Soft Tissue Injuries in Truck Accidents
Since soft tissue injuries are less visible and dramatic than many types of injuries, insurers may be dismissive of these claims after an accident. They may offer a settlement that does not fully compensate a victim. To get proper compensation, a victim may need to file a personal injury lawsuit against any people or entities that were at fault. Truck accident cases can be complex and require a thorough investigation. The range of potential defendants may include a truck driver, a trucking company, a truck manufacturer, a company that loaded a truck, a maintenance company that was responsible for repairing a truck, or even a government agency that designed or maintained a road where a crash occurred.
Consider Hiring an Attorney
Due to the complexity of truck accident cases, a victim may want to hire a lawyer who is experienced in these lawsuits. A lawyer can help gather evidence of liability and damages, bring all the appropriate defendants into the litigation, and navigate around procedural obstacles. A trucking company or insurer also may take a claim more seriously if a victim retains counsel.
Damages in truck accident cases may cover both financial costs and intangible harm. Among other things, a victim can receive compensation for their medical bills, any future treatment costs, and lost income. If they need physical or occupational therapy to restore a damaged ligament or tendon, for example, they can recover these costs. Meanwhile, they can receive damages for the pain and suffering and emotional distress caused by the soft tissue injury.
How the Fault of a Victim Affects Truck Accident Damages
Sometimes both the defendant and the victim contributed to an accident. Perhaps a truck driver ran a red light because they were behind schedule on their route, while the driver of a passenger car accelerated as they approached a light that had just turned from green to yellow at the same intersection. This might lead to a side-impact crash between a truck that should not have been in the intersection and a passenger car that was traveling too fast to stop. When a victim shared fault for an accident, their damages usually will be reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if they were 25 percent at fault, they could recover 75 percent of their damages. If they were at least 50 or 51 percent at fault, though, they may not be able to recover damages in many states.
A few jurisdictions do not allow a victim to recover any damages if they contributed to an accident in any way. These are Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. However, a victim in one of these jurisdictions who suspects that they may have been partly at fault still should talk to an attorney to see whether the facts of the case may support a claim. Most truck accident lawyers offer free consultations at which they can explore these types of issues.