Trucks are a frequent sight in and around Richmond, from 18 wheelers traveling the highways to smaller delivery trucks hauling loads in town. While these vehicles are necessary to keep the shelves stocked and businesses running, they also pose a serious risk if drivers don’t use caution and common sense. Because of their large size and increased weight, truck accidents often involve serious medical repercussions like traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
Types of Truck Accident Brain Injuries
Between large blind spots, a wide turn radius, and longer brake times, it can be easy for collisions to occur if a truck driver isn’t paying attention to the road. Unfortunately, truck accidents due to drowsy and distracted driving are all-too-common occurrences for truckers, who often have to drive long distances on tight schedules.
Regardless of the root cause of the accident, any crash caused by a negligent truck driver can result in several kinds of traumatic brain injury, including:
Closed head injuries
This type of damage occurs within the skull and doesn’t actually require a puncturing wound of any kind. Closed injuries can be harder to diagnose and may require medical scans, which is why you should always see a doctor after a truck crash even if you don’t feel hurt. You may suffer a coup-contrecoup injury if the brain strikes against the sides of your skull during the collision, or a diffuse axonal injury where brain tissue is stretched, compressed, or torn due to a sudden stop.
These typically occur when your head strikes an object in a collision, which may break through the skull and cause damage, but can also occur if the skull itself is fractured by the impact.
You may also experience a concussion in a truck accident, which may include a loss of consciousness, as well as the possibility of nerve or spinal cord damage that can lead to paralysis.
How a Brain Injury Can Affect Your Life
In some cases, truck accident victims may only suffer mild, short-term symptoms from a TBI that pose a minor disruption to their life. In others, TBIs may involve long-term cognitive and emotional issues, such as difficulty concentrating, reading, or controlling anger. More severe cases involve permanent ongoing therapy or even round-the-clock care for basic needs.
With any level of severity, traumatic brain injuries from truck collisions often affect concentration and motor skills, and may also result in vision and other health problems that can prevent you from driving or holding down a job in the future. You may need to undergo expensive rehabilitation to learn new coping mechanisms to deal with the permanent effects of a TBI.
Why You Need an Attorney After a Truck Collision in Virginia
When recovering after a truck accident, you don’t want to spend your time worrying about how you will pay your bills. You have a legal right to seek compensation for your initial medical costs, any ongoing treatments, and less tangible effects from the accident like pain and suffering. A skilled TBI attorney can:
Perform an investigation into the cause of the crash
You may have been unable to personally gather eyewitness contact info after a devastating crash if you were immediately taken to the emergency room. A lawyer helps prove your case by utilizing a variety of evidence sources such as truck company employee records, eyewitness accounts, and testimony from accident reconstruct experts, as well as medical documentation.
Overcome common insurance tactics
Insurance adjusters have a vested interest in reducing or dying your claim. They may attempt to deny payment if the TBI was caused by something other than direct blunt force trauma, or try to shift fault for the accident onto you. An attorney can assist in overcoming these common tactics and handle communication with insurance adjusters on your behalf.
Take the at-fault party to court
If insurance isn’t a viable option, you may need to pursue compensation directly from a negligent truck driver or other sources. After a thorough investigation, your attorney may determine fault lies with the trucking company for negligent hiring practices, logbook violations, and lax maintenance schedules, or even with the manufacturer of specific faulty parts.