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Understanding Traumatic Brain Injuries in Truck Wrecks

CT scan of the human brain.

Accidents involving tractor-trailers can result in severe brain injuries.

In Alabama, commercial truck accidents frequently result in serious injuries. Among the most common injuries sustained due to accidents involving semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, or other large commercial vehicles is a traumatic brain injury, commonly referred to as a TBI.

But why do truck accidents tend to result in so many brain injuries? What are the typical types of TBIs associated with commercial truck accidents? Moreover, who's responsible for compensating victims of trucking accidents in Alabama? And what legal options exist for those injured in such incidents? The Mobile, Alabama truck accident attorneys at Dean Waite & Associates, LLC, provide the answers.

How common are brain injuries in truck accidents?

Commercial truck accidents contribute to an alarming number of severe head and brain injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle accidents, including truck accidents, account for approximately 14 percent of all traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

To provide context, this translates to approximately 490,000 brain injuries annually nationwide resulting from motor vehicle accidents. This figure is based on the estimated 3.5 million total brain injuries occurring annually across the country, as reported by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA). Every March, the BIAA sponsors "Brain Injury Awareness Month."

Why do truck accidents result in so many TBIs?

Large commercial trucks outweigh most passenger vehicles by a significant margin, so in a collision, the injuries sustained by those in passenger vehicles are often severe or fatal. For instance, a fully loaded semi-truck or 18-wheeler can tip the scales at 80,000 pounds, whereas the average car weighs 4,000 pounds. That makes a tractor-trailer approximately 20 times heavier than the typical car.

When a large truck hits a smaller vehicle, the force of the truck crashing into another car can be tremendous. As a result, the driver and any passengers in the vehicle are often thrown into the windshield, dashboard, or another part of the car headfirst at great force, often resulting in a brain injury.

In addition, because large trucks weigh so much, they often need more time to stop and slow down. As a result, when these trucks hit smaller cars, they often do so while going very fast – because they don't have enough time to slow down.

What are common brain injuries?

Truck accidents can result in a wide range of serious brain injuries, each presenting unique challenges and consequences for the victim's health and well-being. Some common brain injuries that may occur in truck accidents include:

  • Concussion: Concussions can vary widely in severity, ranging from mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs) to more severe concussions. These injuries typically occur due to a sudden jolt or impact to the head, causing temporary disruption of normal brain function. Symptoms may include headache, dizziness, confusion, and, in more severe cases, loss of consciousness.
  • Contusion: A contusion involves bruising of the brain tissue, often resulting from a direct impact to the head. These injuries can lead to localized brain damage and may cause symptoms such as headache, nausea, and cognitive impairment.
  • Hematoma: Hematomas occur when blood clots form within the brain tissue or the space surrounding the brain. These clots can exert pressure on the brain, potentially causing further injury and impairing neurological function. Symptoms of a hematoma may include headache, seizures, and altered mental status.
  • Brain hemorrhage: A brain hemorrhage involves bleeding within the brain, which can occur as a result of trauma to the head. This type of injury can be life-threatening, as it may lead to increased pressure within the skull and potentially fatal complications. Symptoms of a brain hemorrhage may include sudden and severe headaches, vomiting, seizures, and loss of consciousness.

These are just a few examples of the types of brain injuries that may occur in truck accidents. Each injury requires prompt medical attention and may necessitate ongoing treatment and rehabilitation to help the victim recover and regain function. If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury in a truck accident, it's essential to seek legal help to ensure your rights are protected and to pursue fair compensation for your injuries and related expenses.

Who's responsible for paying for my brain injury after a truck accident?

First, it's important to understand how Alabama's insurance system works concerning commercial truck accidents. Alabama operates under an at-fault insurance system, meaning the party responsible for the accident must cover all related expenses. What distinguishes truck accidents from collisions involving other motor vehicles is the potential for multiple at-fault parties.

As a result, you may be eligible to seek financial compensation for your truck accident from:

  • The truck driver who caused your accident and resulting brain injury.
  • The trucking company that employs the driver, particularly if the company knowingly hired a driver with a history of reckless driving, including involvement in truck accidents.
  • The company responsible for loading the truck, especially if improper loading caused the truck's contents to shift during transit and contribute to the collision.
  • The manufacturer of specific truck parts, particularly if defective parts such as tire blowouts or faulty brakes led to the accident.

What legal options are available to TBI victims?

In many cases, individuals who have sustained traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in Alabama have several avenues for seeking the financial compensation they deserve to cover their injury-related expenses. These options may include:

  • Accepting a one-time settlement offer to address all accident-related expenses: You may choose to accept a settlement offer from the at-fault party's insurance company. This offer should cover your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from the truck accident.
  • Requesting a higher settlement offer and negotiating for a better deal: If the initial settlement offer does not adequately address your needs or cover all your expenses, you can negotiate with the insurance company for a higher settlement amount. An experienced attorney can assist you in this negotiation process to ensure you receive fair compensation.
  • Pursuing legal action by filing a brain injury lawsuit: If negotiations with the insurance company prove unsuccessful or the offered settlement does not fully compensate you for your losses, you may choose to take legal action by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault parties.

Remember, it's important to consult with a knowledgeable attorney with experience in truck accident cases and traumatic brain injuries to fully understand your legal rights and options. An attorney can help you navigate the legal process, advocate on your behalf, and work to secure the maximum compensation you deserve.

We fight for brain injury victims

The aftermath of sustaining a brain injury in an Alabama truck accident can be daunting. With the severity of the injury, the duration of recovery, and the impact on your ability to work all factoring in, the potential value of your brain injury claim can be substantial.

Recovering from a serious brain injury is overwhelming enough. Let a truck accident lawyer from Dean Waite & Associates, LLC, help you navigate the legal process and fight for the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Don't Dean Waite and learn how we can help you. Contact us today and schedule a free case evaluation. Our office is in Mobile, and we handle accident claims throughout Alabama.

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