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What Are the Most Common Truck Accident Injuries in Illinois?

Truck accidents can result in common truck accident injuries such as head and brain injuries, spinal cord or internal injuries, broken bones, and fractures. Due to the disparity in size and weight between trucks and standard passenger cars, occupants of the latter are more likely to suffer severe injuries in a collision. Thus, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the possible injuries you may sustain and the legal implications that follow to ensure fair compensation.

Common Truck Accident Injuries in Illinois

The consequences of a truck accident can lead to severe injuries, some of which may be life-threatening. The injuries that are typically observed in such accidents include:

Head and Brain Injuries

Crashes involving large trucks can result in head and brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) such as concussions, blunt head trauma, and lacerations to the face or scalp are often reported. Symptoms of head and brain injuries may include headaches, dizziness, confusion, and memory loss. Cognitive impairment, mood swings, and behavioral changes are also common.

In severe cases, brain injuries can result in a vegetative state or even prove fatal. Recovery from such injuries can be a long and demanding process, entailing intensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and therapy. Head trauma injuries may not be visible to the naked eye, but they are serious and can have a lasting impact on a person’s life.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Trucking accidents frequently cause catastrophic injuries, such as a spinal cord injury (SCI). The spinal cord serves as a crucial messenger between the brain and the rest of the nerves that control sensation and movement. When an SCI occurs, this communication is disrupted, which can result in paralysis and disability.

Internal Injuries

After a truck accident, individuals may suffer from serious internal injuries such as organ damage, punctured lungs, and internal bleeding. These injuries occur when the body undergoes blunt force trauma, sudden and severe twisting, or penetration injuries that damage internal organs, blood vessels, or bones. These injuries are often life-threatening and may not become immediately apparent, thus requiring immediate medical attention. If left untreated, they can have long-term and severe effects on a person’s health.

Broken Bones and Fractures

Fractures can result from truck accidents. A fracture can either be simple, where the bone breaks but remains in place, or complex, where the bone shatters into multiple pieces or pierces the skin. Recovery from such injuries can be a long process requiring surgery, physical therapy, and may even lead to permanent disability, chronic pain, or other complications.

Burns

Due to their larger size, trucks come equipped with longer fuel lines and larger fuel tanks compared to passenger vehicles. In the event of an accident, there is a greater likelihood of the fuel tanks or lines leaking or rupturing, which could result in fuel spilling, and possibly igniting. This can lead to significant fires that can cause severe burn injuries to those involved.

Long-Term Impact of Truck Accident Injuries on Victims

In truck accidents, the injuries that occur immediately are usually well-documented. However, the long-term effects of these injuries are not always fully understood. Some injuries may seem to heal, but can leave behind lasting consequences. These long-term consequences can be of two types: physical and emotional consequences.

Physical Impact

A victim might experience several long-term physical consequences as a result of the injuries sustained, which may include:

  • Chronic pain resulting from injuries can be severe and require prolonged medical care.
  • Scarring and disfigurement are common consequences of severe injuries, such as burns or amputations, and can have a significant impact on a victim’s emotional well-being and self-esteem.
  • Reduced mobility can result from injuries to the spine, limbs, or other body parts, necessitating ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitation.

Emotional Impact

Truck accidents can have a lasting impact on victims’ mental health. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common condition that can develop, causing anxiety, flashbacks, and other symptoms that can significantly affect their daily life and ability to function.

Victims may become depressed as they deal with their injuries, chronic pain, and physical limitations.

Anxiety disorders due to the trauma are also common among truck accident victims, which can lead to symptoms such as panic attacks and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

Fear of driving can develop in individuals who have been involved in a truck accident, making it challenging for them to travel by car and significantly limiting their mobility.

In addition to the physical and emotional toll, truck accidents can also have a significant financial impact on victims. Medical bills, lost wages due to time off work, and property damage to their vehicle can all add up to substantial expenses. Seeking legal assistance from a truck accident lawyer is crucial for addressing these effects and getting the necessary support to move forward.

Types of Truck Accidents in Illinois

Truck drivers should be aware of the dangers of their large vehicles, and other drivers should exercise caution. Understanding Illinois truck accidents can help prevent them.

Rear-End Collisions

A rear-end collision happens when a vehicle moving forward crashes into the back of another vehicle. Due to the enormous size and weight difference between a commercial truck and a standard car, rear-end truck accidents can easily lead to passenger vehicles being crushed upon impact. Maneuvering a tractor-trailer is difficult because they are heavy and slow, which means truck drivers need more time and distance to slow down, avoid road hazards, or come to a safe stop behind other vehicles.

These types of accident are common in construction zones, which is why it is important to know how to prevent accidents when driving in a construction zone.

Jackknife Accidents

Jackknife accidents are a type of truck accident that occurs when a large truck with an articulated joint between the tractor and its attached trailer makes improper turns or braking maneuvers. Braking too quickly or too hard can cause the tractor to slow down faster than the trailer it is towing, resulting in a fishtailing motion by the trailer.

This improper maneuvering causes the trailer to swing wide around its pivot point, creating a shape like a folding jackknife. A skidding trailer can strike nearby vehicles and carry them along as the truck bulldozes its way through traffic.

Rollover Accidents

Rollover accidents may occur if the driver takes a turn too sharply or drives too fast for the conditions, causing the trailer to flip and the entire truck to roll over onto one side.

If the cargo crew improperly loads or overloads the trailer, it may sway dangerously while turning, causing a rollover accident. Another common cause of such accidents is tire blowouts, which may result from improper tire maintenance or manufacturing or design defects.

Factors Contributing to Truck Accident Injuries

It is important for all drivers to understand the common causes of truck accidents in Illinois to promote safer driving practices.

Driver Fatigue

Truck drivers often have to travel long distances, and sometimes drive for long periods of time without taking breaks. This can lead to fatigue and drowsiness and can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. It reduces reaction times and impairs decision-making abilities.

To prevent accidents caused by fatigue, federal law mandates that drivers cannot drive for more than 11 hours consecutively or be on duty for more than 14 hours at a time. After a full workday, they must have at least 10 hours of rest, and they cannot work more than 60 hours in a week. Unfortunately, some drivers ignore these laws because of deadlines and pressure.

Speeding and Reckless Driving

Truck drivers frequently exceed the speed limit in order to deliver their cargo on time, especially if there have been delays on the trip due to bad weather or traffic. However, because trucks are much heavier than passenger vehicles, it takes them longer to stop. If they strike another vehicle or pedestrian, the impact of speeding is increased due to the force involved. Aggressive driving or overtaking slower cars on the road is a factor causing truck collisions. Trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and take as long as 525 feet to come to a complete stop from 65 mph. Speeding exacerbates the time it takes to slow down and stop. Many truck accidents are caused by trucks merging into traffic or running out of their lane.

Improper Cargo Loading

Cargo falling into the roadway due to poor loading can lead to hazardous situations, especially when trucks are transporting tons of material or various goods at high speeds and for long distances. Although trucking and loading companies must follow safety regulations for securing cargo, accidents still occur, especially on highways.

When cargo falls from a truck, it can cause damage to smaller vehicles or spill onto the roadway, creating road hazards that can result in other motor vehicle accidents.