Accidents between large commercial trucks and passenger cars are usually serious, especially for occupants of smaller vehicles.
A fully loaded trailer truck will weigh as much as 40 times the size of a typical car, leading to an extremely violent collision at the point of impact. These tragic accidents cause countless fatalities every year, as well as severe, life-changing injuries.
Getting into a serious truck accident comes with heavy financial, emotional, and physical costs that will be hard to bear. If a negligent truck driver injured you or your loved one, you deserve fair compensation. Here are some guidelines for what you can sue for in a truck accident.
Common Injuries Caused by Truck Accidents
Driving large commercial trucks requires extensive training and a special license. That’s because these vehicles are a serious safety hazard to everyone else out on the road, especially at highway speeds. Even if the airbags deployed on time and every passenger wore a seatbelt, truck accidents are notorious for causing severe injuries and even deaths.
Some of the typical injuries victims suffer will include:
- Back and Spinal Cord Injuries: High-impact car accidents can lead to a wide range of back injuries, including the kind of spinal cord damage that can cause partial or complete paralysis. Truck accident victims with these tragic injuries will have months or years of physical rehab in front of them, and most will only regain a limited amount of function.
- Brain and Head Injuries: Skull fractures and other forms of head trauma are common when occupants crash their head against the dashboard or steering wheel, as well as from the sheer force of the initial impact. There’s no such thing as a “mild” brain injury and victims with head trauma will often take months to heal. The most traumatic brain injuries can lead to a permanent disability that will change that person’s life forever.
- Internal Injuries: The human body cannot easily endure the kind of jolt that happens in a collision with a commercial truck. This physical trauma can seriously injure the liver, lungs, heart, and spleen, leading to internal bleeding and life-threatening complications.
- Whiplash: This painful neck condition is one of the most common side effects of being involved in a serious crash. The abrupt and forceful movements of your head during the collision can tear muscles and ligaments. While most cases of whiplash will eventually heal, they’re also known to cause chronic neck pain.
What Can I Sue For in a Truck Accident?
Being involved in an accident with a negligent truck driver is a terrifying experience that’s likely to throw your life into complete disarray. Depending on the severity of their injuries, truck accident victims may be dealing with crippling hospital bills, having to take an extended amount of time off work, and even long-term consequences to their health.
A skilled truck accident lawyer can help you evaluate the compensation you deserve for these damages, which might include:
Victims may require emergency surgery and in-patient hospitalization in the immediate aftermath of an accident, but that’s often not the end of their medical challenges. Some injuries will require physical therapy and prescription medication for months or even years to come. Your truck accident claim can include all past and present medical costs from your injuries.
The financial burdens of being in a serious truck accident will also include lost wages from when you couldn’t work because of your injuries. This is especially true for the life-altering catastrophic injuries that some victims will suffer.
If your truck accident caused a permanent disability that affects either your mobility or cognitive skills, this is called a permanently reduced earning capacity. Victims in this tragic situation may seek damages for their projected lost income.
Truck accident claims can also include compensation for damages that can’t be measured but are definitely part of the costs of injuries.
These physical and emotional damages can include:
- Pain and suffering, both from the experience of getting injured and from the recovery process
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
Can I Sue if My Loved One Died in a Truck Accident?
Many truck accident victims die from their injuries every year, leaving grieving family members to try to pick up the pieces. If your loved one has passed away because of a negligent truck driver, you may be entitled to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. This category is for the immediate family members ]most affected by losing the deceased.
In Texas, a wrongful death claim can only be brought by:
- The surviving spouse of the deceased
- Children of the deceased that are legally-aged adults
- Parents of the deceased
Siblings of the deceased are not allowed to file this claim and neither can more distant family members.
Some of the economic and non-economic damages that may be available as part of a wrongful death suit would be:
- The lost income, wages, benefits, and the deceased would have contributed to the family if they had lived
- Reimbursement for the hospital bills from trying to save the deceased person’s life
- The funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of support and advice
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Mental distress
Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer
Many factors go into a successful claim, and the burden of proof is always on truck accident victims. One thing’s for sure: the insurance companies of truck drivers and their employers will work tirelessly to deny your claim or pay as little compensation as possible. You need a skilled truck accident attorney in your corner to investigate the accident, build the strongest case possible for the damages you’ve suffered, and fight vigorously for the compensation you deserve.