Over the past couple of months, we have published blogs and pages on our site that discuss why truck accidents are so devastating for survivors and their families. Commercial trucks, also called 18-wheelers, are by far the largest and heaviest vehicles you can encounter while driving. Even collisions at low speeds are capable of causing injuries and deaths.
The truck cab itself does not even have to hit you to cause life-altering injuries or death. You could just as easily slide underneath the truck’s trailer in a rear-end accident or side impact and suffer similar consequences. This is true even if the truck has an underride guard.
Catastrophic Injuries from a Truck Accident
Truck accidents are much more likely to cause catastrophic injuries or deaths. For this reason, it is important for family members and crash survivors to explore their legal options after a wreck with a commercial truck. Insurance companies are unlikely to provide adequate compensation for survivors or family members.
Unlike minor injuries, a catastrophic injury can lead to millions of dollars in damages. Accident survivors may suffer permanent disabilities and disfigurement that make living a normal life impossible.
Catastrophic injuries from a truck accident may include:
- Spinal cord injuries. The impact forces from a truck accident can damage the spinal cord. Depending on where the injury occurs and the extent of the damage, accident survivors may have total or partial paralysis. With a complete C1 spinal cord injury, which would result in tetraplegia, it is likely the medical and life expenses would be in the millions of dollars.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Also called a TBI, a traumatic brain injury may lead to permanent disability. Depending on the extent of the damage and the area of the brain affected, the complications from a TBI can vary. Some survivors may have issues with movement or speech. Cognitive issues, such as problems with executive function or memory, are also possible.
- Burn injuries. Some types of burn injuries are not severe. First-degree burns are unlikely to cause long-term problems unless an infection occurs. However, third-degree burns, which are possible if flammable materials ignite during a truck accident, can lead to severe disfigurement or amputations. Both injuries can make life very difficult for survivors and their families. The emotional and psychological costs associated with disfigurement exact an enormous toll on survivors.
- PTSD. Truck accidents may cause severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). With PTSD, survivors experience a decreased quality of life due to anxiety attacks, panic attacks, isolation, depression, substance abuse disorders and flashbacks. PTSD also increases the risk of suicide.
Damages in a Truck Accident Claim or Lawsuit
Insurance companies are in business to make money. This means you may not receive a settlement offer that is capable of covering the damages caused by a serious truck accident injury or death of a loved one. This is where it comes in handy to have a lawyer with experience handling truck accident cases.
If you cannot receive an adequate settlement from the truck company’s insurer, then it may be necessary to file a lawsuit. Compensation from a verdict or settlement can help pay for damages that include:
- Lost income. Catastrophic injuries will keep you from being able to work, in most cases permanently. Compensation from a settlement or verdict could take lost income and future earnings into account.
- Funeral expenses. Truck accidents are more likely to result in fatalities. If you lost a loved one, then funeral expenses may be covered by a settlement or verdict.
- Medical expenses. In truck accident cases that involve catastrophic injuries, the medical expenses can easily be in the millions of dollars.
- Specialized care and equipment. You may require in-home care, rehabilitation services, specialized medical equipment or home modifications. A verdict or settlement can help pay for these expenses.
- Pain and suffering. Truck accident injuries are very likely to cause pain and suffering, as can losing a loving one. Noneconomic, or pain and suffering damages, may be part of a jury award or settlement.
Truck companies may have access to considerable financial and legal resources, which means you should be careful while picking an attorney. Be sure to look for an attorney that has a history of taking truck accident cases or cases against large businesses. You should also look for a truck accident lawyer with trial experience.
Contact a Pennsylvania Truck Accident Lawyer at Our Firm
You may contact a Pennsylvania truck accident lawyer at O’Donnell Law Offices for a free consultation by dialing (570)258-8820 or by using our online case review form. If you have questions about filing a truck accident lawsuit or claim, we are happy to provide answers.
Attorney Neil O’Donnell has more than 30 years of experience practicing law and is a Pennsylvania Board Certified Specialist in Civil Trial Advocacy. He is also on the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Top 10 List and the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 List.