St. Louis Catastrophic Truck Accident Lawyer
Serious Injuries in a Big Rig Collision
Catastrophic injuries are those that cause significant and often permanent damage. Common types of catastrophic injuries include serious traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and amputations, although nearly any severe injury can become catastrophic if the damage it causes prevents the injured person from carrying out daily activities like cooking, dressing, or bathing.
Although only seven percent of vehicle miles traveled each year are traveled by tractor-trailers, nine percent of catastrophic motor vehicle injuries involve at least one large truck. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), catastrophic injuries are more likely to result from accidents between a passenger car and a large truck than between two passenger vehicles, like two cars or two SUVs. This increased risk of catastrophic injury in a truck crash is due to several possible factors such as truck weight and stopping distance.
On most U.S. roads, tractor-trailers may weigh up to 80,000 pounds, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The gross vehicle weight of passenger vehicles on most U.S. roads, by contrast, is rarely over 6,000 pounds.
The greater weight of the tractor-trailer has two major effects on the risk of catastrophic injury. The first is that the weight of the truck itself makes it more likely to cause serious damage if it rolls over onto or pins another vehicle. Second, a heavier vehicle has more momentum when it’s traveling down the road. More momentum means more force if the vehicle strikes another object. A tractor-trailer traveling at 55 miles per hour will generate much more force when it hits a passenger vehicle than another passenger vehicle traveling at 55 miles per hour. For those in the vehicle that is hit, the resulting injuries can be permanently disabling or even deadly.
Stopping Distance in Missouri
Large trucks cannot stop as quickly as smaller, lighter passenger vehicles. First, the greater weight of the truck means it needs more distance to stop, due to the same increased momentum that can make a truck-passenger vehicle collision worse. Second, most large trucks are equipped with air brakes, instead of the pad or disc brakes common on passenger cars. Air brakes need pressure in order to work most effectively, which requires a greater stopping distance than passenger vehicle brakes need.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries
Nearly any severe injury can be catastrophic if it prevents a person from carrying out basic life activities. In a large truck collision, however, some types of catastrophic injury are more common than others, such as the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries include concussions, puncture wounds, skull fractures that damage the brain, and any other injury that harms or impairs brain function. Although the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury vary, serious injuries can cause permanent disability, including paralysis and difficulty remembering or communicating.
- Spinal cord injuries. An injury to any part of the spine can result in catastrophic, life-altering impairments. Spinal cord injuries are difficult to treat, have the longest average hospital and recovery times, and often result in death, according to the CDC.
- Amputations or crush injuries. When a limb is pinned or trapped between two objects or when a vehicle crumples, a catastrophic injury may result that requires the entire limb to be removed. Losing one or more arms, legs, hands, or feet can require months or even years of therapy and rehabilitation to adjust to, and the loss is permanent.
Compassionate, Experienced St. Louis Truck Accident Lawyers
Those who are injured in truck crashes need more than an attorney who merely understands crashes. They need an attorney who knows how collisions are more likely to cause catastrophic injuries, the types of injuries likely to result, and the most effective ways to build a case for compensation from any party whose negligence might have caused the accident. Missouri catastrophic truck accident injury attorney at Page Law have the experience and legal resources to vigorously represent those who suffer serious harm in trucking accidents. Call us today to learn more.