5 Common Truck Accident Injuries

By Justin M. Beall

More than half of the collisions involving large trucks in Washington, D.C. during 2023 caused injuries. If you suffered harm in a crash with a much larger vehicle, the Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis, LLP, team has the experience to handle even the most complex cases involving truck accident injuries.

These are five of the common injuries that could occur in roadway accidents involving trucks.

1. Severe Whiplash or a Blow to the Head

Whiplash or damage to the head and neck are common truck accident injuries.

Minor whiplash injuries are not uncommon in any vehicle accidents involving passenger cars. When a smaller passenger vehicle, however, gets hit by a much heavier large truck, the force of the impact and the resulting whiplash could cause life-altering brain injuries.

The extreme force behind the whipping of the head and neck during a truck collision can cause severe harm to the brain even when there is no direct blow to the head.

In some cases, symptoms related to a brain injury may not show immediately. This does not mean that the brain suffered no harm. The accident victim may begin experiencing cognitive loss, blurred vision, or impaired motor functions weeks later.

Truck accident injuries that involve a direct blow to the head could occur when an impact throws a vehicle’s occupants against the dashboard, doors, or windshield. Unsecured items inside the vehicle such as a laptop, sports equipment, or camping gear could also strike a driver or passengers.

A blow to the head could result in a traumatic brain injury. A severe TBI can affect the function of the accident victim’s brain and lead to lifelong disabilities.

2. Spinal Cord Injuries and Risk of Paralysis

The nerves in the spinal cord play a vital role in conveying messages from the brain to the various muscles that enable everyday movement and functioning. When damage occurs to the spinal cord or the vertebrae surrounding it, those messages may not reach their destination. Paralysis could occur in those body areas located below the injury point. The higher an injury occurs to the spinal cord, the greater the portion of the body that could become affected.

Truck accident injuries that involve the upper portion of the spinal cord could result in paralysis in all four limbs. A lower spinal cord injury might affect only the legs. The two medical conditions, referred to as quadriplegia and paraplegia respectively, can lead to further complications, such as pressure ulcers. Commonly called bedsores, they may require a caretaker to periodically reposition the affected limbs.

Other medical issues that could result from spinal cord injuries include:

  • Chronic pain
  • Bowel and bladder issues
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Ventilator-dependent breathing

3. Bone Fractures Affecting Arms, Legs, Ribs, or Face

Truck accident injuries could include broken bones.

The arms and legs usually take the brunt of the impact force in a collision with a larger vehicle, but the ribs and hips can also experience serious fractures. A complete break could require an intensive surgical solution.

In some cases, a facial bone fracture could require extensive reconstructive plastic surgery to remedy an otherwise permanent disfigurement. Vehicle accidents are one of the three most common causes of facial fractures. In addition to altering an accident victim’s appearance, a facial fracture may impair normal functioning. Nasal fractures could cause breathing issues, and a fractured jaw can make eating solid food difficult or impossible.

Overall, almost all bone fractures can cause extreme pain, reduced range of motion, or lost time from work. Depending on the injury, the time needed for a full recovery may prove to be lengthy. Part of the recovery process could include the surgical installation of metal parts around the broken bone.

4. Internal Injuries

Truck accident injuries involving internal organs, such as the liver, spleen, or kidneys, could cause an accident victim to suffer severe harm. The blunt trauma associated with most truck impacts may cause internal bleeding in the abdominal area. This type of internal hemorrhaging is often life-threatening and requires immediate and potentially extensive treatment.

Vehicle crashes are a major cause of blunt trauma injuries. Emergency treatment is often administered by accident-scene first responders or a hospital critical care team. Internal injuries are often extremely painful, and recovery may require hospitalization, pain management, and in-home care. In some cases, injured internal organs may never function normally again after experiencing a severe blunt trauma impact.

5. Possibility of Amputation

Amputations may be necessary when bones get crushed beyond repair. The required treatment could involve prosthetic devices and an extended course of physical and emotional therapy to adjust to a new life with a missing body part. An accident victim may not regain the previously enjoyed quality of life and develop chronic depression.

Long-term physical therapy, emotional counseling, and socio-psychological adjustments are not uncommon when an accident victim loses a limb. Post-amputation life changes may involve living with a permanent disability, giving up a career, or withdrawing from social activities.

The Issues Surrounding Truck Accident Injuries Can Get Complicated

Accicdents involving trucks can be complicated to sort out.

No two vehicle accidents are alike. In addition to the relative sizes of the vehicles involved, many other factors determine the degree of harm suffered and the assignment of liability. In accidents involving commercial vehicles, things can become even more complex. Issues of illegally excessive cargo weights, employer negligence, and questionable hours-of-service records could come into play.

Although the laws of Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia allow you to file a vehicle-related personal injury lawsuit on your own, you could find yourself facing formidable legal and filing challenges without an attorney at your side. Pursuing a personal injury accident claim may not be well-served by a do-it-yourself approach, especially as trucking company legal teams or insurance carriers attempt to minimize your injury claim.

Hire an Attorney Experienced in Truck Accident Injuries

Hiring an attorney experienced in truck accident injuries could make a significant difference in the outcome. The team at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis, LLP, has the resources and skills to take on both trucking companies and their insurance carriers.

Not only will we fight for what you rightfully deserve, but we’ll only charge a fee if we’re successful. We’re open 24 hours. Contact us now to arrange for a no-fee initial consultation.

About the Author
Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., and West Virginia injury attorney Justin M. Beall represents clients in a wide range of personal injury matters including catastrophic injury, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction accidents, medical malpractice and workers’ compensation claims.