Anyone involved in a truck accident with a truck is at risk for a serious injury. The reason should be obvious—a much heavier vehicle is colliding with a much smaller vehicle. Brain injuries are often the most severe injury because a brain injury can affect learning, memory, and other high-level functions. The victim of a truck accident may sustain severe brain injuries such as a concussion, diffuse axonal injury, skull fracture, or coup-contrecoup injury.
- Concussion is a brain injury that occurs when rapid movement causes the brain to move around inside the skull. Striking the steering wheel can cause a concussion.
- Skull fractures are breaks in the bones of the skull. Basilar skull fractures affect the base of the skull, compound fractures cause splintering of the bone, and depressed fractures cause the fractured piece of bone to push toward the brain.
- Coup-contrecoup injuries occur when the force of an impact is so great that the brain moves to the other side of the skull, damaging tissue in two places.
After a brain injury, a truck accident victim may need surgery to relieve swelling or repair damage to the blood vessels. During a ventriculostomy, a specialist cuts a hole in the skull and uses a plastic tube to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid from the brain. This relieves pressure and reduces the risk of complications. If the truck accident victim’s intracranial pressure—the pressure inside the skull—is too high, the surgeon may have to remove part of the skull to reduce the pressure and protect the brain from damage.
Back and spine injuries are also serious, especially when caused by commercial vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or more. Truck accidents often lead to vertebral fractures and herniated discs, both of which may require surgical intervention. Vertebral fractures are breaks in the vertebrae, which are the small bones that form the spinal column. If a fracture does not heal properly, a surgeon may have to fill the damaged vertebra with a material similar to cement (vertebroplasty). In a procedure called kyphoplasty, the surgeon uses a balloon to move the broken pieces of bone and create an opening within the damaged vertebrae. The cavity is filled with cement-like material as a means of stabilizing the fractured bone.
Disc herniation occurs when the jelly-like material in the center of a disc leaks through a crack in the disc’s exterior. This type of injury can cause difficulty walking, loss of bladder or bowel control, and numbness or weakness in the legs. If symptoms do not improve, a surgeon may need to remove the damaged portion of the disc or remove the disc entirely (discectomy).
The spinal cord helps transmit messages from the brain to other parts of the body. If the spinal cord is damaged in a commercial vehicle accident, the victim may be unable to walk (paraplegia) or unable to use both arms and both legs (tetraplegia). Paraplegia and tetraplegia have devastating effects on an accident victim’s life. In the most severe cases, the injury damages the nerves responsible for breathing, leaving the victim unable to breathe without the assistance of a ventilator.
Truck accidents involving commercial vehicles must be handled by an experienced truck accident lawyer who knows the laws relevant to truck accident cases. Some commercial vehicles are equipped with recording devices that can give a personal injury lawyer valuable information about what happened at the time of the crash. You need a truck accident attorney who knows how collision reconstruction experts work, how to depose doctors, how to request the right information from the trucking company, how to figure out how the company operated, and how to present a powerful case to a jury. Our personal injury lawyers have extensive experience holding truck drivers, trucking companies, and insurance companies responsible for serious accidents.