Head-on crashes with big trucks can yield serious and often fatal injuries. Victims that survive these accidents usually face extensive and expensive medical treatment, prolonged recovery times, and a lifetime of physical and emotional scars. While compensation from a personal injury case may not fully replace what an accident victim lost, it can make a big difference in his or her life.
Head-On Truck Collisions Are the Deadliest Type of Crash
The likelihood of being involved in a head-on or frontal impact collision with a large truck is small. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, these collisions account for only 3% of all large truck crashes. However, when they occur, they are the deadliest type of crash due to the extreme cumulative effect of the impact between the two vehicles. A semi-truck weighing up to 80,000 pounds can do significant damage to a passenger car that may weigh 4,000 pounds or less.
Why Do Head-On Truck Accidents Occur?
There are several common factors associated with head-on collisions. Most head-on collisions occur on narrow or rural roadways. Vehicles may pass each other by temporarily entering the lane that is designated for opposing traffic. There are numerous reasons for head-on collisions. The most common causes involve drivers that are:
- Under the influence of alcohol or drugs and unable to stay in a single lane of travel.
- Falling asleep due to fatigue resulting from a circadian rhythm disruption stemming from lack of rest.
- Speeding and unable to stay in one lane of travel when negotiating curves, leading to a truck crossing in front of oncoming traffic.
- Suffering from a medical emergency and losing control of the vehicle.
- Distracted by texting or use of a cell phone, or paying attention to something other than the road.
- Losing control of the truck because of a tire blowout or other vehicle malfunction.
Typical Truck Crash Injuries
Larger commercial trucks have an increased size and weight, and as a result, can cause great damage to property and people when they collide with passenger vehicles. Accident victims may suffer catastrophic injuries that require months or years of medical care or recovery time.
Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, are some of the most troubling kind of crash injuries. Some of these injuries may have a lifelong impact and might not become apparent until days or weeks after the injury occurred. Treatment and ongoing care or therapy to treat TBIs can be very costly.
Neck and back injuries are quite common in crashes with large trucks. These injuries can range from stiffness of the neck to whiplash to a spinal cord injury. In extreme cases, an accident victim may be permanently paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury or require ongoing medical treatment and personal care for the rest of his or her life.
The sheer force of a crash with a large truck can easily break bones. These fractures are typically more severe with truck crashes and require surgery or an extended recovery time.
Insurance Companies Look Out for Their Own Best Interests
An insurance company’s goal is to make money and, whenever possible, spend as little on accident claims as possible. Often, the negligent party’s insurance company will be in a rush to offer a settlement. For an accident victim who is watching medical bills pile up or cannot work because of his or her injuries, it can be tempting to accept an insurer’s first settlement offer. However, accepting a settlement too early can leave accident victims in a bad position, especially if he or she has not yet fully recovered from the injuries. Accident victims should discuss any settlement offers with a lawyer before accepting them.
How Can Injury Victims Help with The Case?
Nevada is a comparative negligence law state. Therefore, it is essential that accident victims never admit to any fault in the accident to the police or the insurance companies. Under comparative negligence laws, an accident victim may recover a percentage of the damages if he or she is no more than 50% responsible for the accident or injuries.
Accident victims should seek immediate medical attention and have injuries documented by a medical professional. Documenting the accident scene is essential to help prove negligence in an injury claim. This can be done by taking photos. However, it may not be possible for the injured party to document the scene. Instead, a trusted friend or family member could be asked to take photos of the crash scene, weather conditions, and condition of the vehicles involved. Keeping a personal injury journal helps document the recovery process to show how fast or slow the victim is progressing and can be helpful in a personal injury case.