While any motor vehicle accident can potentially cause serious, even fatal injuries, truck accidents are uniquely devastating. The large size and weight of these vehicles make them hard to control. When they collide with other road users, they do so with extreme, life-threatening force. The victims of these accidents often struggle to get the money they need for their medical bills, vehicle repairs, and lost earnings. Worse, deep-pocketed trucking companies would rather pay their money to defense attorneys than the people they injure.
Were you or a loved one hurt in a truck accident in Prince William County? Don’t make the mistake of handling your case yourself. Instead, turn to D. Michael Mullori, Jr., Attorney at Law for help. Mike Mullori’s been protecting the rights of Northern Virginians since 1999 and can put his quarter-century of success to work for you. Contact Mike today for a free consultation with a Prince William County truck accident lawyer and find out what you could be owed.
What Is Considered a Truck in Virginia?
The term “truck accident” refers to any traffic collision involving a large commercial vehicle, such as those commonly called a “big rig,” “18-wheeler,” “semi truck” or “tractor-trailer.” The size and weight differentials between these vehicles and everything else on the road mean that collisions involving trucks are more serious than other accidents, leaving victims severely injured. In addition, truck accidents are often more complex than other collisions, as they may involve many potentially liable parties, complicated insurance policies, and government regulations. Further, these accidents often involve various types of evidence, much of which remains in the hands of trucking companies eager to avoid spending money on accident claims.
What Are Common Commercial Truck Accidents in Virginia?
According to the Virginia Highway Safety Office, there were 2,645 truck accidents in the Commonwealth in one recent year — 52 of which were fatal, 784 of which involved injuries, and 1,809 of which resulted in damaged property. While these collisions happened in many different ways and for many different reasons, some of the most common types of truck accidents are as follows:
- Rear-End Collisions – A truck traveling at 65 miles per hour takes about 525 feet to come to a complete stop. A truck driver who’s driving inattentively, aggressively, or simply too close to the vehicle in front of them might not have enough time and space to prevent a rear-end collision. Given the size and weight of a commercial truck, these collisions can result in significant damage and serious injuries.
- Jackknife Accidents – These happen when a truck driver brakes suddenly or loses traction, causing the trailer to swing out at an angle to the cab. The two units then fold toward each other in an action that resembles the folding of a pocketknife.
- Rollovers – Trucks are susceptible to rollover accidents due to their high center of gravity. Rollover accidents can happen because of excessive speed, sudden turns, or when negotiating steep inclines or declines.
- Underride Accidents – These are hazardous accidents involving a smaller vehicle becoming trapped under a truck’s trailer. They can occur when a truck stops suddenly, and the driver behind can’t stop in time.
- Blind Spot Accidents – Large commercial trucks have significant blind spots, or “no-zones,” where other vehicles aren’t visible to the driver. Accidents often occur when a truck driver changes lanes or turns without looking to confirm that these blind spots are free of other vehicles.
- Lost Load Accidents – Improperly secured cargo can become loose in transit and even fall off the truck, creating hazardous conditions for drivers behind it.
- Wide Turn Accidents – A tractor and trailer combined are 65 feet long, which is over four times the length of the average passenger vehicle. That extra length gives these vehicles a larger turning radius. So if a driver miscalculates while negotiating a turn, they might veer into another lane or onto a curb, putting anything in their path at risk.
- Head-On Collisions – While less common, these are the most devastating type of accident, accounting for nearly 30 percent of all traffic fatalities but just 4 percent of all collisions. They often occur due to reckless driving, driver fatigue, or mechanical failure.
What Are Common Injuries Someone Can Sustain in a Truck Accident?
Trucks are big, heavy, and cannot stop quickly, making truck accidents much more severe. Here are some of the most common injuries one can sustain in a truck accident:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) – Traumatic brain injuries can range from concussions to more severe brain damage. They often can cause long-term cognitive issues, memory problems, and emotional instability. In worst-case scenarios, a TBI can lead to a coma or even death.
- Broken Bones – The significant impact of a truck collision can easily break bones. These fractures can range from minor cracks to complex breaks that require surgery and extensive physical therapy.
- Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis – Damage to the spine can disrupt the brain’s ability to communicate with the rest of the body. This can potentially lead to partial or full paralysis, drastically affecting the victim’s life.
- Internal Injuries – Damage to organs, internal bleeding, or punctured lungs can all occur in a truck accident. If they are not treated promptly, these injuries could be life-threatening.
- Burns – Truck accidents often cause severe burns, especially when vehicles catch fire or if hazardous or flammable materials are involved.
- Lacerations and Abrasions – Large cuts and scrapes can occur from shattered glass or metal debris, requiring stitches or even surgery.
- Neck and Back Injuries – Whiplash is common in any auto accident. Still, the force of a truck collision can lead to more severe neck and back injuries, including herniated disks and spinal fractures.
What Compensation Can I Expect to Recover in a Truck Accident Claim?
If a truck driver or trucking company is responsible for an accident that injured you, they could owe you compensation for the following losses:
- Medical Expenses – This can cover emergency room visits, hospitalizations, surgeries, rehabilitation, physical therapy, medications, and medical equipment.
- Lost Wages – If you cannot work due to your injuries, the liable party could owe you compensation for the income you’ve lost. In addition, if your ability to work in the future is affected, you may be entitled to compensation for lost earning capacity, too.
- Pain and Suffering – This compensation is for the physical pain and emotional distress you’ve endured due to the accident. While these are necessarily more subjective losses than those with dollars-and-cents values, they are every bit as real.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life – If your injuries prevent you from participating in your favorite activities or hobbies, you may be entitled to compensation for your losing enjoyment of life.
- Property Damage – This compensation covers the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle and any other personal property damaged in the accident.
Remember, each case is unique, and the compensation you can expect to recover will depend on the specifics of your truck accident. Consult with a skilled truck accident attorney in Prince William County to learn more about the particular compensation you could be owed.