Semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and other large commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds or more fully loaded. As such, they can create utter devastation and severely injure occupants of small passenger vehicles in truck accidents.
A typical family car may weigh only around 4,000 pounds, and even larger, heavier vehicles like SUVs and full-size pickups stand no chance against a loaded 18-wheeler during a collision.
The injuries people can sustain in trucking accidents can range in severity depending on the nature of the crash and other factors. However, even in a low-speed collision, a large truck can cause car drivers and their passengers to sustain serious injuries that require emergency treatment and hospitalization. In worst-case scenarios, victims die because of their injuries.
If you understand the types of injuries people suffer in truck accidents and what you can do to hold the responsible parties accountable, you can get the compensation you need to cover your medical expenses and other losses.
An experienced California truck accident lawyer can review your case for free, advise on your options, and assist you with all aspects of a truck accident injury claim to seek the compensation you deserve.
Truck Accidents in California
California Highway Patrol publishes annual reports of traffic accidents throughout the state, and it includes figures for the number of injuries and fatalities truck accidents cause.
In a recent year, 9,888 people sustained injuries in truck accidents in the state. Counties that reported the largest number of truck accident-related injuries were Los Angeles (2,724), San Bernardino (1,014), Riverside (762), San Diego (536), and Orange (410). Alameda County, Fresno County, Kern County, and Alameda County also reported considerable numbers of truck accident injuries.
Considering thousands of trucks traverse California’s roads and highways each day, you risk getting into a truck accident that injures you or a close family member at any time.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Trucking accidents can result in a range of injuries in California, and some of the common injuries people sustain include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): TBIs occur due to a sudden blow or jolt to the head or body. This can lead to a wide range of symptoms and impairments.
- Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries can result in partial or complete paralysis, depending on the location and severity of the injury. These injuries can permanently diminish mobility, sensation, and bodily functions.
- Back and neck injuries: A trucking accident can cause whiplash, herniated discs, spinal fractures, and back and neck strains. These injuries can lead to chronic pain, limited mobility, and ongoing medical treatment.
- Internal organ injuries: The forceful impact of a trucking accident can damage internal organs like the lungs, liver, spleen, kidneys, or intestines. These injuries may require immediate medical attention and surgical intervention.
- Fractures and broken bones: Trucking accidents can fracture the limbs, ribs, skull, and pelvis. Fractures may require surgeries, immobilization, and rehabilitation.
- Soft tissue injuries: Soft tissue injuries include damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues. These injuries can lead to pain, swelling, bruising, and limited mobility.
- Burns and lacerations: In accidents involving fires, explosions, or hazardous materials, trucking accident victims can suffer severe burns and lacerations. These injuries may require specialized medical treatment and leave permanent scars or disfigurement.
- Amputations: The extreme force of a trucking accident can result in traumatic amputations of limbs or extremities. Amputations have significant physical, emotional, and psychological impacts, requiring ongoing medical care, prosthetics, and rehabilitation.
- Psychological and emotional injuries: Trucking accidents can cause emotional trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and emotional distress. These injuries may require therapy and counseling to address the psychological impact of the accident.
The specific types and severity of injuries can vary depending on the circumstances of the trucking accident. If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries in a California trucking accident, seek immediate medical attention, first and foremost, even if you do not think the accident severely injured you.
Some injuries may not show symptoms initially, and you need a complete medical evaluation to rule out any internal issues that could cause you problems later. Also, you need documentation and evidence you sustained an injury and received treatment to file a truck accident injury claim.
An experienced attorney can ensure you get proper medical treatment and document your injuries to support your claim. A lawyer can also protect your rights and seek appropriate compensation for your injuries for you, reducing your stress and burden.
How Do I Obtain Compensation for Truck Accident Injuries?
Obtaining compensation for your truck accident injuries requires you to show that you
- Suffered injuries and received treatment, and
- The truck driver caused the crash through their negligence or recklessness, or that some other factor related to the truck caused the accident, such as inadequate maintenance or a defective component.
This process can feel overwhelming while you recover from your injuries, so contact a truck accident attorney for help. You must receive appropriate medical care, follow the recommended treatment plan, and keep all records of your medical treatment and expenses. A truck accident lawyer can help you with all of these processes.
Your attorney can also preserve any evidence related to the truck accident and your injuries. This may include photographs of the accident scene, damage to vehicles, your injuries, and any other relevant evidence. They can also obtain a copy of the police report and gather contact information from any witnesses.
Filing an Insurance Claim
Since insurance covers most motor vehicle accidents, including truck accidents, you need to work with an attorney to file your claim with the appropriate insurance companies.
Liable parties may include the truck driver, their employer, the truck’s owner, and other parties, such as maintenance companies, the truck’s manufacturer, and even those responsible for loading and securing cargo.
Your attorney will investigate the accident and hold all responsible parties liable through evidence, such as police reports, accident reconstruction reports, and more.
When they file your claim, your lawyer will show you suffered injuries by compiling and submitting your medical records and treatment plans, and they will provide dollar figures for the costs of your injuries and other damages by submitting your medical bills, proof of lost income, and any other evidence that demonstrates the impact of the accident on your life.
In most cases, the settlement the insurance companies will offer will not cover all your damages, and your attorney will negotiate to obtain a fair settlement. During the process, they will advocate for you and fight for maximum compensation.
Filing a Lawsuit and Pursuing Litigation
If the insurers fail to offer a fair settlement or deny your claim unjustly, your attorney may file a lawsuit and pursue your claim through litigation. This involves preparing and presenting your case in court, and a judge or jury will determine the outcome.
The complex litigation process requires you to follow specific rules and procedures. You need an attorney to represent you. They can file your lawsuit with the court along with any necessary forms or motions. An experienced trial lawyer can also present a compelling case for you at trial to improve the odds that the judge or jury will side in your favor.
What Damages Can I Recover From a Truck Accident Claim?
In a truck accident claim, you may recover damages that include:
Economic damages: You could obtain compensation for the financial losses you incurred because of the accident, such as:
- Medical expenses: Compensation for the cost of past and future medical treatments, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and other healthcare expenses related to the injuries caused by the truck accident.
- Lost income: Compensation for the income lost due to the inability to work because of the injuries sustained in the accident. This may include both current and future lost wages.
- Property damage: Reimbursement for the repair or replacement of property, such as your vehicle, the truck accident damaged it.
Non-economic damages: These damages can compensate you for non-financial losses you experienced due to the accident, such as:
- Pain and suffering: Compensation for physical pain, discomfort, and emotional distress experienced because of the injuries sustained in the truck accident.
- Emotional distress: Damages for psychological suffering, such as anxiety, depression, and trauma, resulting from the fatal accident and its aftermath.
- Loss of consortium: Compensation for the loss of companionship, support, and intimacy suffered by a spouse or family member due to the injuries caused by the accident.
In certain, rare cases involving an at-fault party’s particularly egregious or reckless conduct, the court may award punitive damages to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior.
The types and amounts of compensation you could receive depend on various factors, such as the severity of your injuries, the degree of fault, and the insurance coverage involved. An experienced personal injury attorney can determine the specific types and amounts of damages you may receive, can assess your case, gather evidence, and fight for fair compensation on your behalf.
Contact an Experienced California Fatal Truck Accident Attorney Today
You shouldn’t have to bear the costs of your injuries and losses following a truck accident that was not your fault. A personal injury attorney in Bakersfield can identify all liable parties and pursue compensation for your truck accident injuries. Contact a truck accident lawyer today for your free consultation.