Most vehicle accidents result in injuries. However, not all types of accidents claim the same level of injuries to the victims. Truck accidents have the highest potential of causing catastrophic injuries to the victim based on the magnitude of the vehicles. In such cases, victims need comprehensive compensation based on the type of injuries they have to deal with. Such expectations are not reachable unless one decides to rely on a personal injury attorney. We at Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney are well-positioned to offer the best legal services if you are in such a situation.
Types of Trucks
Trucks are large vehicles that handle large weight capacity. There are classified into three categories, which include light trucks, medium trucks, and heavy trucks. Heavy trucks are usually involved in a truck accident since they are common on roads and are quite heavy. These kinds of trucks include:
- Garbage truck
- Mobile crane
- Refrigerator Truck
- Lowboy trailer
Definition of Catastrophic Injuries
The legal description of catastrophic injury is an injury that has direct and proximate consequences that leave the victim with permanent injuries that limits his or her ability to perform meaningful work. These sorts of injuries result from the physical harm of the brain or the spinal cord, which leaves the victim with both short and long-term impacts on the capabilities to function normally.
Catastrophic injuries also include accidents that leave the victim with permanent loss of their body parts or functionality of the part. These include amputation, diminishing of sight, hearing, and mental loss.
There are different types of catastrophic injuries which include:
Spinal Cord Injuries
This is a type of injury that affects the spinal cord causing temporary or permanent changes to its function. Symptoms include loss of muscle function, sensation, and autonomic. It might also cause complete damage of nerve signal, paralysis, or incontinence. Long term outcomes might include paraplegia, breathing problems, muscle atrophy, infections, and pressure sores.
Treatment includes early hospital management, which aims to ensure that there are adequate airway, restricted spinal movement, and cardiovascular functioning. The doctors take an X-ray of the spine and check whether it requires emergency surgery to stabilize any life-threatening injuries. Once the victim is safe, he or she can proceed to rehabilitation, which includes 8-12 weeks inpatient phase and 3-12 months outpatient phase. The victim will then go through a prognosis program that helps in adapting to the long-term effects of the injury.
Traumatic Brain Injury
A traumatic brain injury is a blow to the head that disrupts the normal functioning of the brain. This results from a blow on the head which pierces the skull, entering the brain tissue. Traumatic brain injury can lead to surgical lesions, diffuse injuries, and skull fractures, which require immediate treatment.
Treatment involves surgical treatment to remove the large hematoma that has significantly compressed the brain and raised the pressure on the skull. The patient is observed and monitored in an intensive care unit after the surgery. The primary goal of ICU treatment is to prevent any nerve damage and promote healing. Such treatment can be costly and can cause a heavy financial burden on the victim.
Limb loss is also considered as amputation. This is the surgical removal of part of a limb, such as a finger, toe, foot, leg, and arm. The reason for amputation is to avoid poor circulation due to the narrowing of arteries. With poor circulation, the body cells cannot get enough oxygen and nutrients needed for their survival.
Amputation involves a tedious medical procedure of removing the diseased tissues and crushed bones. The surgery also involves smoothing the uneven parts of the bone and sealing off blood vessels and nerves. Finally, the doctors cut off and shape the edge of the stump to provide room for artificial limb attachment.
Ruptured Internal Organs
There are several types of organs affected in internal organ damages. The most common types of internal organ damages include broken limbs, abdominal aorta rupture, kidneys, spleen, liver, bowels, and internal bleeding.
Treating this sort of damages should be immediate since they are life-threatening if they are not treated on time. Such treatment can impose a heavy financial burden on the accident victim.
Permanent Scarring and Disfigurement
Scarring involves a lasting wound that remains on the skin after a treatment. It occurs once a wound has closed, and new skin has grown in the area. A catastrophic injury victim might decide to seek laser treatment for the skin, which can be expensive.
Disfigurement explains a situation where one loses his or her normal appearance due to a change of skin texture, burn, missing limb, and scar after an accident. This might cause emotional and psychological distress due to concern about the appearance that one has to deal with. One might seek plastic or reconstructive surgery and try to minimize the look that comes as a result of disfigurement.
A catastrophic accident might end up leaving the victim blind. This means that the victim loses his or her vision forever. A lot of vision loss results from brain injury. A truck accident victim might suffer from different types of vision loss that vary according to severity. Some of the different kinds of vision impairment include double vision, visual field defects, strabismus, fluctuating vision, and eye movement problems.
Deafness also results from brain injury. It can either be partial or complete depending on the severity of the brain injury. Both types of hearing loss are categorized into conductive, sensorineural, and mixed hearing loss. Any victim that suffers deafness after an accident should seek compensation for the treatment, pain, and suffering.
Rehabilitation for Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic rehabilitation refers to a medical treatment that aims to return a patient who has been involved in a life-threatening injury close to a possible pre-injury state. There are a lot of therapies involved in rehabilitation, depending on the kind of injuries sustained after a truck accident. Some of the common therapies include:
- Occupational therapy
- Cognitive therapy
- Behavioral management
- Community integrated rehabilitation
- Patient and family counseling
- Family education
- Specialized physician services
These types of services require specialists to undertake them. Some of them take a specific period while others last a lifetime. In such a situation, a lot of financial burdens are imposed on the victim and his or her family. Also, the victim and close family members undergo psychological and emotional strain, which should be compensated as well.
Types of Truck Accident that Lead to Catastrophic Injuries
There are different types of truck accidents. Each type claims a specific percentage of catastrophic injuries suffered by the victim. Almost a third of all fatalities sustained from truck accidents result from a head-on collision. Other types of accidents that have a large claim on casualties include T-bone and rear-end collision. Here is a detailed view of the most common truck accidents in Florida.
A high number of truck accidents are associated with a rollover. These kinds of accidents are common due to the great heights and weight that trucks have. They have a higher center of gravity, which increases the possibility of rolling as compared with cars.
Rollovers result from emergency braking because of traffic, windy weather, and need to slow in an intersection or exit roadway. Trucks require a long distance to stop hence the likelihood of a rollover if it is forced to stop all over sudden.
In a jackknife, the big rig of the truck forces itself onto the cab, forming a ninety-degree angle. This kind of accident results from sudden braking of the truck, which brings the truck forward against the cab. This sort of accident might cause the cargo to spill, hitting other vehicles on the road.
This explains an accident where another vehicle goes beneath the truck. Since the trucks sit higher than other vehicles, a car might end up going underneath them when it makes a sudden stop. This is potentially one of the most dangerous accidents that claim lives to the victims.
Cargo spills can happen when the truck’s door is not correctly secured. It also occurs when a truck has carried a load that is heavier than its carrying capacity. If the truck is carrying hazardous material, they can end up posing catastrophic injuries such as burns.
This sort of accident occurs when a truck runs a red light or through an intersection hitting the other vehicle perpendicularly. Such accidents can also cause a rollover or multi-collision depending on the nature of the accident and vehicles on the road.
This kind of collision happens when a truck loses control and heads onto the vehicle coming from the opposite direction.
This sort of accident occurs when a truck tries to turn in a small space. Often, a truck needs two lanes to make a right turn. Therefore, if the truck driver tries to turn it on a small space, it might cause wreckage with other vehicles using the road.
Common Causes of Truck Accident
The truck’s driver’s negligence usually causes truck accidents. Therefore, most of these accidents are preventable if the driver takes heed of basic trucking rules. Some of the common causes of truck accidents include:
There is a lot of pressure in truck driving. Trucking companies expect its drivers to deliver goods within short periods and travel long distances. Therefore, there are a few breaks and rests in between that cause a lot of fatigue to the driver. As a result, the driver loses concentration on the road leading to tragic accidents. Fortunately, there are state laws that govern truck driving, which reduces the number of accidents that result from driver fatigue.
Driving Under the Influence
Although there are strict rules against driving under the influence, you will find a couple of truck drivers using drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines to keep themselves awake. Also, others drink alcohol as leisure during their long drives. Such intoxication denatures their judgment resulting in tragic accidents.
Driving long distances can be boring. There might be less entertainment while driving through long distances, which makes the driver risk texting, listen to podcasts, listen to their favorite playlist, and other activities that might distract them. Such activities make them lose concentration on the road, which leads to accidents.
Sometimes, truckers might get late while making a delivery tempting them speed to beat the allocated timeline. Such situations make them overtake carelessly, which often leads to swerving off the road leading to accidents. Such accidents might involve a whole lot of other cars if the truck was speeding on a freeway.
Poor Truck Maintenance
There are specific rules and regulations needed to maintain a truck after long hours of driving. However, most drivers and trucking companies ignore such requirements and proceed to drive their trucks while they are in poor conditions. Such conditions can affect the truck’s transmission or braking, resulting in tragic accidents.
Improper Cargo Loading
Each truck is supposed to adhere to a specific weight load, size, height limit, and width. In case the truck exceeds the required specification, there are always risks of accidents. The load might tip over and fall on other vehicles on the road. If the load is flammable or hazardous, it might cause catastrophic injuries to the victims.
It can be hard for truck drivers to determine whether there is enough room to pass another truck on a small road. Therefore, in case of unsafe passing, the truck might end up crashing on the other truck or vehicles on the road.
As a general rule, a truck driver should not follow on another one if he or she cannot see the mirrors of the other truck. Therefore, if a trucker cannot take notice of the mirrors of the truck in front, this means that he or she is in a blind spot. Trying to overtake in such a condition can be risky and can result in a head-on collision with the oncoming vehicle.
Severe weather such as snow, ice, and fog can make it extremely hard for a truck driver to maintain safety on the road. They usually lose control of their vehicles, which can lead to multiple vehicle collisions.
Truckers can have a hard time trying to make sharp turns on busy streets. So, as they try to make such turns, there is a possibility of overturning due to the heavy rig weight.
Potential Responsible Party in a Truck Accident
A truck accident involves several people who can be held responsible for the catastrophic injuries sustained by the victim. The exact cause of the accident determines liability for such an accident. Here are the potential parties that might be held responsible for a truck accident.
The Truck Driver
The truck driver takes a huge responsibility in a truck accident. This is a result of his or her negligence that resulted in the accident. For instance, if the trucker took alcohol while on duty, he or she is directly responsible for the accident if it resulted from the intoxication. Often, if the trucker is held accountable for the accident, the blame falls on the employer or trucking company.
The Trucking Firm
Any trucking company has several responsibilities to reduce the possibility of accidents associated with their trucks. They should hire and train responsible drivers, ensure that their trucks are well maintained, and keep track of their performance of their drivers. So, if an accident involving their vehicle is directly associated with their negligence, they should be held responsible for the damages that result.
The Truck Owner
If an individual rather than a company owns a truck, the owner has the responsibility of ensuring that his or her vehicle cannot cause an accident, just like a trucking company. So, if his or her truck gets involved in an accident, he or she ends up responsible for the resulting damages.
Cargo Loader or Manufacturer
Accidents that result from improper cargo loading should be associated with the loader or cargo manufacturer. The loader has the responsibility of ensuring that the cargo is safe and does not exceed the required specification provided for its hauling. If the accident is associated with their negligence, they will have to compensate for all the damages that result.
A government Entity
The Florida state government and its municipalities have the responsibility of maintaining good roads by repairing potholes, removing debris, and maintaining safety mark roads. If an accident is directly associated with their negligence, they might end up being held responsible for the accidents that result.
It is not always the action of the driver to cause an accident. Erratic behaviors of another truck driver on the road can result in an accident. For instance, if the other truck driver follows too closely, cut off a large truck, or tries to overtake on the right-hand side, there are high chances of causing wreckage.
The Truck Manufacturer and Manufacturer of the Truck Parts
Causing a truck accident through a part defect can be one of the scariest things that would happen. For instance, if the brakes fail to function correctly or if they blowout, such situations can lead to a severe accident. Therefore, if the truck manufacturer, supplier, or parts producer is to blame, they should compensate for the injuries sustained from the accident.
How to Prove Liability in a Florida Truck Accident
Proving liability in a truck accident can be a hard task. It requires the intervention of a professional attorney to determine fault and the factors that led to the accident. There are three things that your attorney should look for to determine the level of liability after a truck accident. These factors include:
Drivers are considered negligent if they fail to observe rules and regulations provided in their services. The term used to explain the responsibility that a diver has on the road is called duty of care. It is simple to prove if a driver failed to observe his or her duty of care by considering whether he or she followed the required traffic and practice regulations.
Sometimes, the defendant and plaintiff are negligent, leading to shared responsibility. This depends on the percentage of contribution to the accident.
Your attorney should prove that the action of the driver created a significant risk for the victim. For instance, if the driver ran through a red light, this is an obvious risk that can lead to an accident. This step is vital when there is a shared responsibility between two parties, and there is a need to show which party is more responsible for the accident than the other.
To prove that the actions of the driver were risky, you need to consider things such as eye witness statement, police report, video and photo evidence of the accident and the extent of the damage on your vehicle.
Proving that the Injuries Were as a Result of The Driver’s Negligence
After verifying that the driver was negligent and his or her action was risky, the next step would be proving that the injuries sustained from the accident were a result of negligence. This is showcased by damages such as lost wages, medical expenses, and other compensatory damages.
There must be proof of some financial loss to prove this step. That’s why victims are recommended to keep track of their medical expenses during their treatment and after treatment as well. Such documents can be accessed from every medical practitioner involved in your treatment.
Find a Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Catastrophic injuries are devastating and can cause heavy monetary encumbrance on the victim and relatives. Therefore, anyone affected by a truck accident deserves to get fair compensation from the responsible party. It is hard to achieve that without the help of a personal injury attorney. We at Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney are ready to help in case you or your loved one suffers catastrophic injuries after a truck accident. Contact us today at 904-800-7557 and get the help that you need.