Car accidents are often bad and can have tragic outcomes, but an accident involving a commercial truck can be devastating in a whole new way. With the average fully-loaded semi weighing in at as much as 40 tons (80,000 pounds) and the largest passenger vehicles typically clocking in at no higher than 2.5 tons, the mismatch of force and sheer physics of an accident can cause terrible and life-changing accidents in the blink of an eye. Losing one or more limbs is just one of the very real potential outcomes of this type of accident.
Here’s what you should know about truck accidents and amputation injuries, including how these sorts of injuries occur, what it’s like to live with an amputation, what damages you may be able to recover in court, and how to get legal help if you’ve been hurt.
How Truck Accidents Happen
Tractor-trailer trucks, semis, tankers, and flatbeds are all very large and cumbersome vehicles, especially when fully loaded with cargo. They may accelerate slowly, but they get up to highway speeds surprisingly fast. At typical highway speeds of 55 miles per hour or greater, turning and maneuvering are difficult and slow to perform safely, and coming to a halt can take a very long time. Improper handling of a large truck can result in:
- Rollover accidents. If the driver loses control of the vehicle or steers improperly, the trailer or even the entire truck can tip over on its side or even roll over completely, crushing anything beneath it.
- Blind spot accidents. Semis have extremely large blind spots—much larger than many people realize. If the driver isn’t attentive or trained properly in the blind spots of his or her truck, it can be easy to strike a passenger vehicle.
- Underride accidents. Commercial trucks and their trailers sit higher off the ground than passenger vehicles. If the semi suddenly stops short, a vehicle behind it that is unable to stop in time can become wedged underneath the back of the trailer, sometimes being dragged for many yards before the truck driver notices.
- Tire blowouts or other maintenance failures. Truck drivers and transport companies have a responsibility to maintain their equipment in working order. A tire blowout, brake failure, electrical problem, or other issue caused by failure to perform routine inspection and repairs can cause the driver to lose control fast.
Truck drivers are often asked to drive excessive mileage in a short period of time, flaunting the laws put in place to protect both truckers and other vehicles on the road. One of the biggest causes of many of these types of accidents is driver fatigue. Improper training, drug or alcohol use, and distracted driving can all lead to an accident that costs lives or limbs of innocent motorists on the road.
Losing a Limb in an Accident
Losing a limb in a car accident is life-changing. The sudden loss of mobility or dexterity can be jarring, but there are many other potential complications that few people are aware of until they’re faced with the issue of amputation due to a car wreck, whether that amputation was traumatic (caused directly by the accident) or a post-accident surgical necessity. Issues can include:
- Heart attacks. Victims face an increased risk of heart attack after the accident, especially after a traumatic amputation.
- Infections. Amputation wounds are severe and taxing on the body. The issues of infection and gangrene or necrosis can cause healing problems, life-threatening systemic illnesses, and further surgeries.
- Phantom pain. After an amputation, some victims feel a sensation called phantom limb syndrome where the missing limb used to be. It is most often associated with pain, though other intense or uncomfortable sensations may be felt, too.
Victims of amputation injuries often require extensive surgery, long courses of medication for pain, infection control, physical therapy or rehabilitation, and may need a prosthetic device to replace the lost limb. A personal injury lawsuit can help the injured recover the costs for these amputations and for other expenses related to the crash, as well as provide compensation for lost wages during recovery, and the loss of future income from an inability to work or perform at the same level as before. Compensation may be sought for pain and suffering, disfigurement, and more, as well.
Get Legal Help Today
If you or a loved one have been seriously hurt or lost a limb due to an accident with a commercial truck, legal help is available to you. Contact a personal injury attorney with experience handling accidents involving commercial trucks as soon as possible after the accident, as the laws are complex, and trucking companies and their insurers will often try to convince you to take a settlement far below the actual costs of your injury. Your attorney can help protect your legal rights, fully investigate your accident claim, and present you with your legal options to move forward.
The attorneys at Wayne Wright LLP understand that accident victims need to protect their rights and get on the track to compensation as soon as possible, and we are here to help you and your family begin the recovery process today. For a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your accident situation with an experienced legal professional, call us by phone today, use our online contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box on this page now.