When a large commercial truck collides with a passenger car, the people in the passenger car are more likely than the truck driver to suffer serious injuries. In 2015, an estimated 116,000 people suffered injuries in crashes that involved large trucks, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports. Seventy-three percent of those injured were occupants of the other vehicles.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a truck accident through no fault of your own, The Sloan Firm can help you to pursue full compensation for your losses, including your medical expenses, lost income, pain, suffering and more. Our truck accident attorneys have more than 150 years of combined legal experience, including work on numerous truck accident cases. What matters to you will matter to us. We will see the person behind the injury and aggressively pursue a result that meets your unique needs and goals.
To learn more, contact The Sloan Firm today at our offices in Longview, Houston or Santa Fe, New Mexico. We will provide a free consultation.
Commercial Truck Accident Injury Attorney: Accident Statistics
About 415,000 large truck crashes occurred in the U.S. in 2015, which marked an increase from 411,000 in 2014 and 327,000 in 2013, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). As these truck accident statistics show, the national trend is headed in the wrong direction.
In Texas, commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) were involved in 34,108 crashes in 2016, the Texas Department of Transportation reports. More than 6,000 people suffered injuries in these accidents, and 584 people died.
In New Mexico, heavy trucks were involved in 2,276 crashes in 2015 – the highest count in five years – the New Mexico Department of Transportation reports. Among the 5,358 people who were involved in these accidents, 43 died and 324 suffered injuries.
At The Sloan Firm, we realize that these numbers represent individuals and families who have suffered terrible losses. We work hard to seek the compensation they are due and to help them to move on with their lives.
What Are Common Types of Truck Accident Injuries?
It is easy to see how a fully loaded tractor-trailer truck weighing as much as 80,000 pounds can cause catastrophic injuries if it slams into a smaller passenger vehicle. From our experience with truck accident cases in East Texas and New Mexico, we know how these crashes commonly cause injuries that include:
- Broken bones – The blunt-force trauma in a truck crash can cause a person to suffer a broken leg, foot, ankle, arm, hand, collarbone, pelvis, sternum, facial bones or ribs. A person with a simple broken arm or leg may need to spend several weeks in a cast. If a person suffers a compound or complex fracture, the person may require surgery and a lengthy hospital stay.
- Soft tissue injuries – If a person is jostled, thrown about or ejected from a vehicle in a truck crash, the person can suffer sprains, strains, and tears of muscle, tendons, and ligaments. In many cases, vehicle occupants suffer soft tissue injuries after being struck by objects such as broken glass, sheared metal or loose cargo.
- Whiplash – The extreme forces in a truck crash can cause a person’s head and neck to stretch backward and then snap forward. This “whiplash” motion may strain and sprain the muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons in the neck. Usually, whiplash clears up in a few weeks. However, some people with whiplash develop chronic pain or more severe neck problems.
- Burns – Large tanker trucks may carry flammable cargo that makes them susceptible to explosions and fires in collisions. Many people suffer burns in truck accidents due to contact with steam or hot water that escapes from a ruptured radiator or hot metal that is sheared from the vehicle’s body. Serious burns — third- and fourth-degree burns — are catastrophic injuries. They have long recovery periods and pose a continual threat of infection or other complications.
- Head and brain injuries – A blow to the head or the sudden jolt of a crash, such as from being rear-ended by a semi-truck, can cause short- or long-term brain damage, or traumatic brain injury (TBI). Severe TBI causes potentially permanent harm to a person’s physical and cognitive abilities. The person may require long-term medical care and assistance with daily life functions. Complications from severe TBIs may lead to premature death.
- Spine injuries – A blow to the back or sudden awkward movement in a truck crash can break the vertebrae of the spine or tear the spinal cord. A broken back could produce ongoing pain and loss of mobility despite surgical repair and a lengthy convalescence. Damage to the spinal cord causes paralysis. Depending on the extent of the injury, a paralyzed person may retain some movement or sensation or regain it through intense therapy.
- Internal injuries – Blunt or penetrating trauma in a truck accident can damage internal organs like the heart, liver, stomach, spleen, bowels or kidneys. Fractures of the ribs or sternum (chest bone) may cause pieces of bone to tear into organs. Ruptured organs and internal bleeding typically require surgery. The injury may cause a person to go into shock or suffer infection, which may prove fatal.
- Emotional anguish – The trauma of suffering a catastrophic injury or witnessing a loved one’s serious injury or death in a truck accident can cause tremendous psychological damage such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A long or uncertain recovery from an injury or disability may lead to depression. These real and serious injuries are compensable in a truck accident claim just as physical injuries are.
Any of the above injuries may prove fatal due to complications, including emotional anguish that leads to severe depression and suicide. Unfortunately, many truck accidents lead to wrongful death claims that seek compensation for the losses suffered by grieving family members. If you have a wrongful death truck accident case in Houston, Santa Fe, or Longview, we can help.
Trucking Accident Injury Attorney: Get Compensation for your Injuries
The harm that one suffers in a serious truck accident can last a lifetime. A person may face significant and lasting expenses for medical care, rehabilitation and ongoing care and assistance. Additionally, many people who are hurt in truck accidents can no longer perform their old job or work in any other capacity. They may suffer from chronic pain, disfigurement and/or cognitive problems.
The compensation that you seek in a truck accident personal injury claim will depend on the severity and type of injuries that you have suffered. It may include money for:
- Medical expenses – You should seek a recovery of all costs of medical care related to the truck accident, from the emergency medical response at the accident scene through all treatment, hospitalization, and rehabilitation moving forward. In cases of permanent disability, an expert may prepare a life care plan that projects future care costs.
- Loss of income – A truck accident claim should demand payment for lost salary or wages due to missed work time. If a truck accident leads to a disability, you can seek any future income that you will lose due to your diminished earning capacity. “Income” includes the value of lost fringe benefits such as insurance, unrealized contributions to retirement accounts and investment growth as well as reasonably anticipated promotions and salary increases
- Pain and suffering and other non-economic damages – You may also seek compensation for intangible harm such as physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of consortium.
- Punitive damages – A lawsuit may demand additional money to punish a defendant who was either grossly negligent or engaged in willful conduct that caused a truck accident. A punitive damages award also sends a message about certain types of wrongful behavior that leads to truck crashes.
- Wrongful death damages – Both economic damages (funeral, burial, and medical expenses as well as the loss of a loved one’s income) and non-economic damages (mental anguish and loss of companionship, advice and counsel) may be part of a wrongful death claim.
At The Sloan Firm, we see the person behind the injury. In addition to fully calculating your economic damages, we will develop a claim that takes into account the personal, non-economic losses you have suffered due to your injuries. We will get to know you and your family and learn about the life you enjoyed before the truck accident. What matters to you matters to us.
How Can Our Trucking Accident Injury Attorney Help You?
Once The Sloan Firm starts work on your truck accident case, you can focus on recovering from your injuries. Meanwhile, as your personal injury attorneys, we will move quickly to gather information from you, police and witnesses to the crash. We will also manage your claim by dealing with insurance companies on your behalf.
Truck accidents typically are more complex than other motor vehicle crashes. We may need to work with investigators and experts to gather and review the truck driver’s logbooks, the trucking company’s maintenance records, information from the truck’s event data recorder (EDR) and other evidence.
As we investigate your accident, we will determine who should be held accountable for your injuries and losses. In many truck accident cases, multiple parties may be liable such as the:
- Truck driver – Truck driver negligence often causes 18-wheeler crashes. Speeding, distracted driving, failing to look both ways before pulling into an intersection and driving while fatigued commonly contribute to accidents.
- Trucking company – The motor carrier that employs the truck driver and/or owns the truck in a crash is responsible for the trucker and the truck. Often, the trucking company puts pressure on a driver to break rules and make a deadline or cuts corners on truck maintenance. Some motor carriers hire unlicensed and/or poorly trained drivers.
- Cargo handlers – Much of the weight in a tractor-trailer comes from the cargo. If cargo handlers improperly load a truck, a cargo shift or spill may occur and cause a crash. Many motor carriers outsource cargo handling to third parties. In other cases, companies hire trucks to haul cargo that they own and load. Negligent cargo handlers can be held accountable for their role in truck accidents.
Because an 18-wheeler or other commercial truck represents a large investment, trucking companies often carry insurance policies with higher coverage limits than standard auto insurance policies. While the availability of greater insurance could allow for greater compensation in a truck accident claim, it also provides a greater incentive to trucking companies to fight a claim. The Sloan Firm will stand up for you.
Our attorneys have extensive experience with truck accident cases. We will fight for the most favorable outcome for you in your injury claim. We know how to tackle the unique issues that truck accident cases present. At the same time, we will provide you with the care, attention and high level of service that you deserve.
Contact Our Commercial Truck Accident Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a commercial truck accident in Longview or a surrounding area of East Texas or New Mexico, contact The Sloan Firm for legal assistance now. We always see the person behind the injury. We will aggressively pursue full compensation for the harm done to your health, your career, your relationships and your interests.
To protect your rights, you should take action as soon as possible after a truck accident. We provide free consultations to truck accident victims in Longview, Houston, and Santa Fe.