Due to their massive size and weight, trucks cause some of the most devastating injuries in motor vehicle accidents. Brain trauma is a common injury in these crashes and often causes the most severe and life-altering consequences for victims.
Thousands of people suffer brain injuries in motor vehicle crashes yearly.
Sadly, the likelihood of experiencing a brain injury is higher in a truck accident due to the severe force of impact a big rig can cause.
While many traumatic brain injuries heal over time, some can change a person’s life forever.
You could be entitled to financial compensation if you or a loved one suffered a traumatic brain injury in a truck accident.
Our compassionate attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, can help you take legal action against negligent parties.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a sudden and violent blow to the head damages the brain.
In truck accidents, TBIs typically happen when the force of impact causes the brain to move back and forth inside the skull, damaging brain tissue and surrounding membranes.
An accident-related TBI can also occur when an object pierces the brain, such as a shattered piece of skull or scrap of glass or metal.
TBIs vary in severity. A mild TBI, such as a concussion, can cause temporary changes in the brain cells but is otherwise not life-threatening.
On the other hand, a more severe TBI can lead to bruising, bleeding, and tearing in the brain.
Moderate to severe TBIs can cause permanent brain damage, coma, and death. Skull fractures can cause instant death if severe damage to the brain stem occurs.
Types of TBIs
There are two main categories of brain injuries:
- Closed Head Injuries: A closed head injury occurs when the brain suffers a nonpenetrating injury, but the skull is not damaged. A closed brain injury is caused by the brain’s movement inside the bony skull, causing bruising or tearing in the brain and blood vessels. Common closed head injury causes include car accidents, falls, and sports.
- Penetrating Brain Injuries: A penetrating brain injury or open head injury is characterized by a skull fracture, such as when a foreign object pierces the skull and brain.
Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms
Brain injuries can cause a wide range of physical and cognitive effects, such as:
- Speech problems
- Loss of balance
- Blurry vision, ringing in the ears, and other sensory changes
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Loss of consciousness
- Memory loss
- Concentration problems
- Mood swings
- Anxiety or depression
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Lump or dent in the head indicating a skull fracture
Some symptoms appear immediately after brain trauma, while others take days or weeks.
An injured person may not know they have a brain injury until symptoms progress, so it is vital to seek a medical assessment immediately after an accident.
Traumatic Brain Injury Complications
A moderate to severe brain injury can lead to the following complications:
- Altered Consciousness: A person with a TBI can fall into a coma or a minimally conscious state. Severe cases involve patients falling into a vegetative state, wherein a person is unaware of their surroundings but can move, make sounds, or respond to reflexes. The most severe form is brain death, which leads to dependence on life support machines.
- Physical Complications: A severe head injury can lead to seizures, buildup of fluid in the brain, infections, blood vessel damage, vertigo, headaches, and changes in motor skills. These complications are usually temporary but can last for several months.
- Intellectual Problems: Brain damage can affect problem-solving, memory, concentration, attention, decision-making, reasoning, and other brain functions.
- Behavioral and Emotional Changes: Someone with a TBI may exhibit uncharacteristic behavior, such as a lack of awareness of abilities, self-control difficulties, and verbal or physical outbursts. They may also experience emotional changes, such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and lack of empathy.
Traumatic Brain Injury Statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , TBI is a significant cause of death.
In 2019, there were 251,135 TBI-related hospitalizations; in 2021, there were 69,473 TBI-related fatalities.
Motor vehicle accidents cause most TBI-related deaths in children and young adults.
Why Are Traumatic Brain Injuries Common in Truck Accidents?
A semi-truck’s sheer size and weight make it more dangerous in a collision than a regular vehicle. The impact force in a truck crash can cause a passenger vehicle occupant’s head to strike violently against the dashboard, steering wheel, or window.
Moreover, the severity of such a collision can easily cause a more serious brain injury.
How a Truck Driver Can Cause a Devastating Accident
Large trucks pose a significant danger to other road users. The risk of injury and death is even higher when negligence is involved.
Common trucking accident causes include:
- Speeding: A commercial truck needs more time and distance to stop completely. Additionally, a tractor-trailer has a high center of gravity, making it less stable than a regular vehicle. Speeding is a leading cause of accidents involving tractor-trailers because it reduces a truck’s stability and makes it harder for a truck driver to stop without hitting another vehicle.
- Distracted Driving: Texting, calling, eating, and other distractions can cause an accident in split seconds, especially at high speeds.
- Intoxicated Driving: Some truckers drink or use illicit drugs on the job, reducing their coordination, judgment, and reaction time.
- Poor Maintenance: Drivers and trucking companies must maintain their vehicles properly. Failure to do so could lead to road mishaps, such as tire blowouts, brake failures, and engine malfunctions.
- Risky Road Conditions: Some semi-truck accidents occur due to poor weather, such as rain, snow, ice, and sleet, and faulty roads with potholes, debris, uneven pavement, and other defects.
The Financial Burdens Following a Brain Injury
Any truck accident involving injuries can lead to costly medical bills. If a victim suffers physical or psychological complications, they would also bear the burden of paying for:
- Physical therapy
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Mobility aids
Furthermore, a brain injury can cause a person to miss work, leading to additional financial strain. In the worst cases, victims lose the ability to remain in the same career or job.
Many truck accident cases also involve the financial hardship of repairing or replacing damaged property, the cost of childcare while recovering, legal fees, and other secondary expenses.
How to Recover Compensation After a Truck Accident
If you suffered a traumatic brain injury in a truck accident caused by someone else, you could pursue compensation through a personal injury claim.
You must prove that another party was responsible for your accident and your resulting damages.
Who is Liable for a Truck Accident?
Depending on the situation, one or more of the following parties could be liable for your losses:
- Truck Driver: Like all other motorists, truck drivers have a legal duty to avoid injury to others. However, they owe a more considerable responsibility to the public as semi-trucks have a higher propensity for causing devastation. A negligent truck driver is responsible if the accident resulted from their recklessness (e.g., speeding, illegal turning, tailgating, etc.)
- Trucking Company: Even if the truck driver is at fault for your accident, the trucking company could be liable for your damages. Trucking companies are typically responsible for damage caused by their drivers.
- The Local Government: Property owners or the local government could be liable in a truck accident lawsuit if the crash occurred due to a road defect.
- Another Motorist: You could also file a personal injury case against another driver who contributed to the accident. For instance, a third party should be at fault if they swerved in front of the truck, causing it to veer into your lane and collide with your car.
What Evidence Do You Need?
When you file a truck accident claim, you allege that the at-fault party failed to act responsibly, resulting in damages.
Thus, you must have proof of their negligence and the resulting losses to support your claim, such as:
- Photos and videos of the accident
- Medical records documenting your injuries
- Police reports
- Witness accounts
- Testimonies from expert witnesses
The following documents can serve as proof of your financial losses:
- Medical bills
- Records of missed work days, lost wages, etc.
- Repair invoices for your damaged car
- Medical records proving that you suffered a disability
A truck accident lawyer will help you gather the evidence to support your claim.
Nevertheless, collecting as many documents as possible before your first consultation is recommended to speed up the legal process.
What Damages Can You Recover for Brain Injuries in Truck Accident Lawsuits?
An experienced attorney can help you recover compensation for the following losses:
- Medical Expenses: Out-of-pocket payments for hospitalization, medication, surgery, emergency transportation, ongoing medical care, etc.
- Disability: Expenses resulting from an accident-related disability, including but not limited to mobility aids, rehabilitative care, and home care.
- Lost Wages: Wages, salaries, bonuses, and benefits lost due to your injury.
- Pain and Suffering: Physical, emotional, and mental distress.
- Wrongful Death: Funeral and burial costs, pre-death medical expenses, loss of consortium, and other death-related damages.
- Punitive Damages: Additional payment awarded in cases involving egregious negligence. Punitive damages are designed to prevent similar accidents by punishing at-fault parties with more financial liability.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
The following steps can help ensure you treat a potential brain injury right away and preserve evidence for your claim:
- Seek medical attention. Call first responders to the scene immediately. Emergency medical staff will help injured victims while the police assess the accident and help get vehicles off the road.
- Gather evidence. Take pictures and videos of the accident scene and gather contact information of witnesses. These will serve as invaluable evidence in a lawsuit.
- Take the truck driver’s information. Write down the driver’s name, contact number, and the name of the commercial truck company.
- Go to the hospital. Undergo a medical assessment to rule out traumatic brain injuries. Symptoms can take days or weeks to manifest, so it’s best to get a brain scan as soon as possible and have a doctor look for other injuries you suffered in the accident.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer. A traumatic brain injury can cause severe economic and non-economic losses. Get help from a truck accident lawyer to obtain compensation as soon as possible.
Learn About Your Legal Options with Our Truck Accident Lawyers
Traumatic brain injuries are common in truck accidents due to the sheer force these collisions generate.
Sadly, these head injuries often lead to massive financial losses, life-altering complications, and even death.
You deserve justice if you or a family member suffered a traumatic brain injury due to someone else’s negligence.
Our truck accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, will help you obtain compensation and hold at-fault parties accountable for their actions.
Contact our law firm at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.
Our traumatic brain injury lawyers handle all accepted truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis.
This agreement ensures you don’t have to pay our legal fees unless we win your case.
Resources:  CDC