Data from the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles shows that in one year, tractor-trailer semi-trucks were involved in nearly 5,000 accidents in the state, 68 of which involved fatalities. Another 1,142 truck accidents caused injuries. Accidents involving careless commercial truck drivers can cause devastating and life-altering trucking injuries. Our Durham personal injury lawyer shares some of the most common injuries sustained in truck accidents.
Head and Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are caused by blows to the head or by violent shaking of the head that causes the brain to impact the inside of the skull. There are two types of traumatic brain injuries: penetrating and closed brain injuries. Closed brain injuries are common in car and truck accidents and occur when sudden force propels the head forward and backward. The force of the jolt can cause bleeding and tissue damage. Penetrating brain injuries occur when an object pierces the skin, skull, and brain. Severe traumatic brain injuries can lead to life-long physical and mental disabilities.
Back and Neck Injuries
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries in truck accidents. Whiplash occurs when a sudden jolt, especially from behind, causes the head to rapidly accelerate forward and then backward.
Herniated discs and broken or dislocated vertebrae are common back and neck injuries. These injuries can result in pain, headaches, and numbness, and in cases where the spinal cord is harmed, paralysis is a potential result.
Broken bones are one of the leading injuries after a violent truck accident. Arms, legs, and knees are some of the most vulnerable bones in the body. However, fractured ribs and clavicle bones are typical when an accident causes an individual to collide with the steering column or windshield. Broken facial bones are also common truck accident injuries, especially when airbags deploy.
The force or impact from a large truck can fracture bones into several pieces, requiring extensive surgical intervention and possible implantation of metal plates, screws, and bolts.
Lacerations are cuts. Shattered glass, loose truck cargo, sharp metal, and flying shrapnel can all cause significant and disfiguring lacerations. Minor lacerations typically require little medical treatment. However, large or gaping wounds can require stitches or staples. Significant lacerations may also be prone to infection caused by debris, dirt, and other foreign particles from the crash site.
Truck accidents can cause thermal and chemical burns. Thermal burns happen when encountering extreme heat or flames. Chemical burns can result from gasoline, petroleum products, or chemical exposure.
Burns are painful and disfiguring injuries. Depending on the severity and extent of the burn, these injuries can require intensive medical intervention to treat, including hospitalization, wound care, skin grafts, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. Burns are also susceptible to infection.
Spinal cord injuries can be life-changing. Damage to the spinal cord can be temporary. However, the damage is permanent when the spinal cord is severely injured or severed. Spinal cord injuries can lead to severe impairment and paralysis, such as paraplegia and quadriplegia.
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that at least 72 percent of those killed in collisions involving large trucks were the occupants of the other vehicle. Unfortunately, truck accidents cause numerous fatalities on local roadways every year.