Semi trucks must follow the same rules of the road as passenger vehicles, but they are also subject to federal regulations that limit their driving hours, speed, and other conditions. This is because truck accident injuries can be much more severe or even fatal compared to normal car crashes.
In recent years, the trucking industry has struggled to meet the nation’s demand for their services, leaving many drivers working past their regulated hours. This is unsafe, irresponsible, and deadly – overworked, exhausted drivers can make mistakes and cause fatal crashes.
If you or a loved one were injured in a semi truck accident, don’t let the insurance company talk you out of making a case. Negligent drivers and their employers must be held accountable. If you wish to press charges or simply want more information, contact us. Our Little Rock truck accident lawyers will evaluate your case, obtain police reports and evidence, and fight for the compensation you and your family need.
Visit our offices in Little Rock or Fayetteville, Arkansas, or call Little Rock Trial Lawyers at (501) 404-2333.
Types of Truck Accident Injuries
- Neck and back injuries. Whether a semi truck is driving fast or slow at the time of the collision, the enormous impact to your vehicle can cause severe injuries to your neck and back. These include:
- Whiplash. This occurs when sudden force jerks your head causing the muscles, tendons, and connective tissues in your neck to stretch and tear.
- Herniated or bulging discs. The physical trauma of truck accident injuries can cause herniated discs, which occur when the delicate material between each disc is torn and spills onto adjacent nerves, causing extreme pain. A bulging disc occurs when the outer edge of a spinal disc stretches beyond the vertebrae, which can also be extremely painful.
- Neck fractures. The force of a truck accident can cause a fracture or break in any of the bony vertebrae. Treatment depends on the type of fracture.
- Spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injuries can alter your life in a second. These injuries are characterized by the potential for lifelong complications. While more severe, complete spinal cord injuries are less common than incomplete. Complete spinal cord injuries can cause:
- Tetraplegia. This is the most severe type of a complete spinal cord injury, leading to total paralysis in every limb.
- Paraplegia. This injury leads to paralysis of the legs and lower body.
- Triplegia. This injury is characterized by the loss of movement or paralysis in three limbs.
- Brain and head injuries. The head is in a precarious position on the body, so a sudden movement caused by a collision with a big rig can lead to a wide range of head and brain injuries. These include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The brain can be damaged when the head strikes an object such as the steering wheel or dashboard of a truck. Symptoms of a TBI can range from mild to severe and can even cause a loss of consciousness or memory and death.
- Open head injuries. An open head injury occurs when a sudden blow breaks the skull or when an object, such as a piece of metal, penetrates the brain through the skull.
- Closed head injuries. These are defined as any injury to the head that does not penetrate the skull. There may be bruising on the brain, a concussion, or bleeding on or around the brain.
- Burns and disfigurement. Semi trucks can carry thousands of pounds of chemicals, fuel, and other dangerous materials. The flammable nature of many of these substances can cause severe reactions and burns to a driver’s skin if they are hit by the truck. A victim can suffer first, second, third, or even fourth-degree burns from a big rig’s chemical or fuel leak or explosion. The severe nature of these burns, as well as other injuries related to semi truck wrecks, can be characterized as disfigurement, which is when a person suffers damage that changes their appearance.
- Amputation. Semi trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, including cargo. That is an enormous amount of weight that can easily crush a two-ton passenger car and result in catastrophic injuries, including amputation. Whether an amputation resulted from the big rig itself crushing or ripping a victim’s limb, or if the limb had to be removed by an emergency responder to free them from their vehicle, amputations are devastating injuries that can affect victims for the rest of their lives.
- Internal injuries. When a semi truck collides with a car, the massive impact can cause passengers in the vehicle to sustain several types of internal injuries. These can manifest within any internal organ, as delicate body parts are no match against the force of a big rig. Common internal injuries in semi truck accidents include:
- Hemothorax. This is when blood collects in the space between the chest wall and lungs.
- Hemopericardium and cardiac tamponade. Hemopericardium is when blood collects around the heart, which sometimes leads to death by cardiac tamponade. Cardiac tamponade is a serious condition where the heart is compressed by the accumulated blood, leading to heart failure.
- Liver or spleen lacerations or other organ perforations (tears). These are serious injuries that can lead to ruptures, hemorrhages, and shock.
- Cuts, bruises, lacerations, and broken bones. Although they may not seem serious, cuts, bruises, lacerations, and broken bones can all get infected, causing more injury. Objects from truck accidents that can result in cuts, bruises, and lacerations include shards of glass from the windshield or mirrors and pieces of metal from any part of the truck.
- Rib and torso injuries. Similar to internal injuries, when a semi truck collides with a passenger vehicle, the impact can cause injuries to the chest and torso regions. Commonly seen injuries to these areas are:
- Rib fractures. A rib fracture happens when a person is struck in the chest by an object or, in the case of a car accident when people are wearing seat belts, they are restrained with enough force to damage the ribcage. These are extremely painful injuries that can have many complications.
- Flail chest. This injury happens when several ribs are broken at the same time, causing part of the chest wall to detach from the rest. This may result in pulmonary contusions, which are fatal.
- Soft tissue injuries. Physical trauma can cause damage to the body’s soft tissues. Common types of soft tissue injuries include sprains, strains, and contusions.
- Death. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s most recent data reports that there were 2,133 passenger vehicle deaths in accidents involving a semi truck in 2018. Unfortunately, many of these deaths were caused by the truck driver’s negligence and were completely preventable.
Truck Accident Injury Statistics
Every year, thousands of drivers of passenger vehicles are injured or die in accidents involving semi trucks. The injuries that these passengers face are so serious because of the sheer difference in size and weight of their vehicle versus big rigs, which may weigh up to 80,000 pounds (40 tons).
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has compiled reports on the number of fatal collisions with semi trucks every year since 1975. Although the number of passenger deaths dipped from 2008 to 2016, a concerning trend has appeared in more recent years. At Little Rock Trial Lawyers, our attorneys stay on top of these trends and statistics. We are experts at obtaining data and evidence that points to driver negligence. Their negligence and mistakes can cause devastating injuries and death:
- In 2017, 2,809 passengers died in accidents involving large trucks.
- In 2018, that number slightly decreased to 2,786. That is still higher than the total number of passenger deaths in 1975 when there were far fewer regulations and safety measures.
There is also an enormous divide in the number of fatalities between passengers and truck drivers. In 2018, passenger deaths made up 96% of the 2,212 occupant deaths involving semi trucks. Truck drivers made up a mere four percent.
As the trucking industry struggles to meet the demand for freight services, many truck drivers are taking dangerous measures to squeeze in the maximum amount of work, like driving long past the mandated 11 hours. Longer hours means less rest for truck drivers, which can lead to exhaustion-induced crashes, especially at night.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in 2017 35% of all fatal wrecks and 22% of all wrecks resulting in injury involving semi trucks occurred between the hours of 6 pm and 6 am.
Eighty-three percent of fatal crashes and 88% of nonfatal crashes involving semi trucks occurred on weekdays, Monday through Friday.
If you were injured or a loved one died as a result of a large truck accident in Arkansas, you should first seek medical attention, then contact Little Rock Trial Lawyers.
What To Do If Injured In a Crash With a Semi Truck
Truck accidents are frightening and can lead to many expenses, including medical bills and vehicle damage. Little Rock Trial Lawyers will fight for you and your family to recover the compensation you need after the accident.
We will handle your case from beginning to end, including getting the police report, conducting a thorough investigation, obtaining evidence from satellites and phone records, and hiring accident reconstruction experts.
Little Rock Trial Lawyers has helped thousands of families get back on their feet and move forward after truck accident injuries. Let us help your family, too.
Call us at (501) 404-2333 or contact us online today.