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There are dangers everywhere on the road from distracted drivers to poor road conditions, driving can be dangerous. Unfortunately, accidents happen when any of these factors are present, and often times an accident on the road leads to an injury that can affect your life. While an accident is always a traumatic event, if you are involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer or a commercial vehicle your injuries are likely going to be very different than those from a regular passenger vehicle. Commercial vehicles typically weigh thousands of pounds more than a standards passenger vehicle and they are often driving just as fast. Poor road conditions, distracted or tired drivers, and a vehicle weighing thousands of pounds more than your vehicle all can contribute to extensive injuries when you are on the road.
What are The Causes Of Truck Accidents?
Commercial vehicles are unique and fit into different classifications based on what they are carrying and how much they weigh. Ranging from a light truck to a massive industrial transporter, these vehicles present unique challenges both to their drivers and to the fellow drivers on the road. One notable distinction between a standard passenger vehicle and a commercial vehicle is their maneuverability. Large trucks often do not have the ability to make quick changes in direction to avoid an accident. Additionally, because of their large size and often cumbersome design tractor trailers and commercial vehicles have a much larger blind zone which can be problematic when you are driving behind or next to them, or they attempt to initiate a lane shift. Commercial truck drivers are also subjected to tight deadlines and intense pressure from dispatchers and companies to deliver their freight as quickly as possible. Because of the rigors of their jobs, truck drivers are notoriously exhausted from long hours spent on the road. In our experience, we have noted a series of conditions that tend to lead to truck accidents. Common causes of truck accidents include:
- Poorly maintained vehicles including brakes, lights, and tires
- Truck driver DUI/DWI
- Inadequate training of truck drivers
- Driver fatigue
- Overloaded trucks
- Oversized trucks
- Unsafe Road Conditions
- Driving in unsafe weather conditions
- Improper turns
- Blind spots
However, there is a whole host of reasons that may lead to you and a commercial vehicle getting into an accident. As noted above, tractor-trailers are much heavier and are often traveling at the same or greater speed as passenger vehicles. In these instances, the amount of force that is involved in an accident is much greater and is much more likely to lead to severe injuries.
What are Common Injuries From a Commercial Vehicle Accident?
Being in an accident is never a fun experience, even if there is only minor damage to a vehicle, there is still the chance that the person inside the vehicle will be injured as a result of their accident. However, over a career of representing people who have been injured from commercial vehicle accidents we have noted that following injuries as some of the most common and that the law may be able to help you recover from.
- Cuts and Lacerations – When you are involved in an accident there is likely going to be shattered glass, and sharp metal. There are a range of things that may lead to cuts and scrapes, which can range in severity from a minor cut to a major laceration that will require prompt medical treatment.
- Neck and Back Injuries – These injuries are some of the most common injuries that drivers will experience if they have been involved in an accident. Particularly when there is a commercial vehicle involved people will experience sharp jerking motion, which can result in major damage to the muscles, joints, ligaments, and bones in the neck and the back. These injuries can also range in severity from minor sprains to major and complex fractures which can lead to paralysis and even death.
- Broken Bones – Behind Neck and Back injuries broken bones are another common injury that people face when they have been involved in an accident. As you know your entire body is filled with bones. When you break a bone it will often require weeks or even months of recovery time. However, while some bones are easily healed such as a finger or a toe, the body is composed of larger bones such as the femur or the hip, which can require expensive surgery, rehabilitation, and months of rest to recover from.
- Head and Brain Injuries – These types of injuries are often the most severe and the least understood. The brain, as the seat of the human body, is a delicate organ that if it experiences blunt force trauma can be irreparably damaged. An impact from a fully loaded tractor-trailer can lead to a traumatic brain injury or TBI which can affect how a person functions. Unfortunately, because the brain is so complex what can seem like a minor bump on the head at the time of an accident can lead to severe damage if not properly treated.
- Internal Injuries – As you are aware, your body is filled with organs that all have an important function to do. However, if one of these organs is damaged, then you may have to have an expensive surgery, or may even have to make lifestyle changes. Internal injuries are often overlooked on the scene of an accident when paramedics and EMT’s are often looking for outside trauma. However, a blunt force impact to the abdomen can lead to deadly internal bleeding.
- Wrongful Death – Unfortunately, when there is a tractor trailer or commercial vehicle involved there is a higher risk that one of the passengers in the vehicle will be killed as a result of their injuries. In these cases, a commercial vehicle can lead to the wrongful death of a driver or passengers in your vehicle. If you have lost a loved one in a truck accident, then you could file a wrongful death claim that will help you provide for your family financially during this time and cover the funeral costs.
No matter how minor an accident may appear, you will never know the full extent of your injuries until you receive an evaluation from a trained medical professional. If you have been involved in an accident you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. While the above injuries are some of the more common injuries that we have noted there is an endless list of injuries such as whiplash, knee damage, shoulder injuries, spinal cord injuries, and burns, which can force you to miss work, incur medical bills, and change your life.
What Type of Benefits can I Receive?
Many people perceive the law as trying to punish, however, more often than not, the law is simply seeking to put a person in the position they would have been in had the injury not occurred. What this means is that when you are forced to miss work, or you incur medical expenses the law and the court system will try and provide you compensation to make up for your lost time at work and your bills. Below are some of the benefits that you may be entitled to receive if you have been injured in an accident involving a tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicle:
- Medical Benefits
- Income loss benefits
- Accidental death benefits
- Funeral benefit
- Extraordinary medical benefits
- Pain and suffering
Whenever there has been an accident and there have been injuries or damages the law will look at the person who was at fault. The laws on liability in Arkansas are based on a modified comparative fault model which will reduce the number of damages or compensation you may be able to receive based on the level of your fault. That is why if you have been injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle you should consider hiring an experienced attorney who will be able to help explain these laws and ensure that you are not given more fault than you deserve. Under Arkansas’ modified comparative fault rule if you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault, even by a single percent, then you will not be able to recover for any of your damages.
Injured by a Commercial Vehicle in Arkansas? Contact an Experienced Fayetteville Personal Injury Lawyer
Whether you are seeking Social Security representation, a personal injury litigator, or help with a wrongful death claim, the lawyers of the attorneys of Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP are eager to get to know you and understand your situation. For your free and confidential legal consultation call us at 479-439-9840 or contact us online.