Traumatic brain injuries, commonly called “TBI” and “head injury,” are among the most common injuries associated with motor vehicle crashes, including truck accidents. Given their size and weight, tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicles typically cause greater damage and more severe injuries when they collide with smaller vehicles.
Every experienced truck accident lawyer has seen up-close and first-hand the pain and tragedy that truck accidents cause, including the debilitating and life-altering effects of TBI. We’ve seen and helped clients as they struggle to overcome or simply cope with a TBI that they or a family member suffer. Beasley Allen’s group of personal injury lawyers has successfully litigated a multitude of truck accident lawsuits for clients and their families.
$6 Million Truck Accident Settlement
Beasley Allen lawyers Chris Glover and Alyssa Baskam of our Atlanta office recently negotiated a $6 million settlement for a client who suffered a TBI and multiple other injuries while receiving roadside assistance.
Our client’s vehicle had run out of gas late one night on a rural Georgia highway. She was able to move the vehicle off the highway and called for roadside assistance. While waiting for the technician providing assistance to finish, our client, still sitting in her vehicle, noticed a tractor-trailer drift out of its lane. The truck collided with the stopped vehicle at a high rate of speed. The force of the impact ejected our client 30 feet from her vehicle.
The truck accident left our client with multiple painful and debilitating injuries, some of which will affect her for the rest of her life. In addition to memory loss and diminished executive functions caused by her brain injury, our client suffers from ongoing dizzy spells as well as shoulder and knee pain. The injuries have left her unable to work and enjoy life like she used to before the tractor-trailer crash.
“Litigation revealed that the commercial truck driver fell asleep at the wheel, ultimately causing the crash,” said Chris Glover. “He should never have been on that job though. Our investigation of the circumstances surrounding the incident found that the truck driver had numerous on-the-job accidents and a driving record that should have resulted in him being fired from his job.”
In her truck accident lawsuit, our client alleges the trucking company and truck driver acted with negligence and wantonness for causing her TBI and the other injuries she suffered in the accident.
TBI by the Numbers
Research indicates that a staggering 2.8 million people sustain a TBI in the U.S. each year. TBIs can range in severity from mild concussions to permanent brain damage, disability, and death. The good news is that most TBI cases are on the mild side, and about 90% of TBI patients are treated and released. Another 282,000 are hospitalized. There were about 61,000 TBI-related deaths in the U.S. in 2019, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons estimates that between 50 and 70 percent of traumatic brain injuries are the result of motor vehicle crashes. While it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint how many TBIs are directly linked to truck accidents specifically, crash statistics indicate that thousands of people involved in crashes with tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicles suffer a TBI of some degree.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that 154,000 crashes involving large trucks and buses occurred on U.S. highways and roads in 2020, resulting in 76,000 injuries and 4,700 deaths.
TBI Symptoms and Effects
TBIs occur when the brain’s normal function is disrupted by a blow, bump, or jolt to the head. Whiplash or any other violent jerking of the neck and head is one of the most common injuries associated with truck accidents and other traffic crashes. The force of a commercial truck collision can cause the occupants of a passenger vehicle to violently strike their head against the dashboard, seatback, steering wheel, or window.
Such an impact can cause a concussion, or in worse cases, moderate to severe damage to the skull and brain. Truck accident victims may suffer from several forms of skull fracture, such as simple, compound, depressed, or linear. Head injuries in which the skull has been visibly fractured or impaled usually cause permanent disability and death.
However, TBIs can and often do occur with no visible injury to the head and skull. Bruising (contusion), swelling, and bleeding of the brain may occur without clear signs of an injury. These severe forms of TBI may cause compression or brain herniation, putting the patient at serious risk of stroke, lasting brain damage, disability, and death.
Anyone who has been involved in a truck accident should seek medical attention even if they are not visibly injured or feel fine. TBIs are some of the most elusive injuries, not only because they are sometimes invisible, but they can develop slowly after an accident, taking hours or even days to become noticeable. Truck accident survivors should never wait until TBI symptoms have appeared. Even common concussions can lead to problems further down the road if left untreated. The best course of action is to request an MRI or brain scan to be sure there are no invisible injuries and to pay close attention to changes in cognitive function, motor skills, and emotions. Depression, confusion, memory loss, and vertigo are just a few of the signs of TBI that may become evident long after a truck accident.
Truck Accident Lawyers
Just as survivors of trucking accidents should not delay seeking medical attention, neither should they put off contacting a truck accident lawyer. The sooner a lawyer can investigate a truck accident, the greater the likelihood that evidence critical to the case – from vehicle and event data recorders to witnesses’ memories – will be preserved.
Quick action also helps truck accident attorneys shield crash victims from being taken advantage of by trucking firms and their insurers, the vehicle manufacturer, or other parties who usually spring to action immediately after a crash to defend themselves from liability or minimize it.
Nearly every truck accident lawsuit involving a TBI will make claims of negligence, usually involving the truck driver and the trucking firm that owned the vehicle and employed the driver. To prove negligence, a truck accident lawyer must show that:
- The Defendant/s owed a duty to the injured parties (to operate the vehicle in a safe manner).
- The defendant/s breached that duty.
- That breach of duties caused the TBI and/or other injuries.
- The client suffered damages as a result of their injuries.
Once a truck accident attorney has proven the negligence claims, they will have to show how clients suffered economic and non-economic damages due to the alleged negligence. Damages for TBI and other injuries may include compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost income, disability, disfigurement, pain and suffering, inability to work, and diminishment in quality of life, to name some of the most common claims.