A head-on truck collision can leave you reeling. You may feel as if the truck came out of nowhere and that you had no time to get out of the way or avoid the accident. Now, you have injuries, possibly severe ones, which may affect you for the rest of your life.
What comes next? How can you get the support you need? A San Diego truck accident lawyer can help you seek compensation for the full cost of your injuries after serious accidents, including head-on truck collisions.
How Head-On Truck Collisions Occur in San Diego
Head-on truck collisions most often occur because of driver error. While San Diego has notoriously poor, deteriorating roads that may increase the risk of severe accidents in the area, head-on collisions do not usually result from poor road conditions alone. Head-on collisions happen when one vehicle strikes another vehicle from behind, rather than to the side or rear, and usually involve a mistake on the part of the driver.
A driver traveling the wrong way down a one-way road or drifting into oncoming traffic may substantially raise the risk of sustaining injuries in a head-on collision. A truck driver must pay careful attention while out on the road to reduce the risk of causing an accident with serious injuries, since a truck’s greater mass and size may increase the likelihood that the parties in the other vehicle will suffer severe injury. However, truck drivers may misinterpret their GPS devices, receive conflicting instructions, or allow the truck to drift out of its assigned lane, all of which can lead to the truck striking another vehicle head-on.
The truck driver shortage across the nation has led to inexperienced, overworked drivers flooding the roads, including the roads in San Diego. Fatigued drivers have a much higher risk of causing an accident. They may make poor decisions or need more time to react to potentially dangerous stimuli, which may raise the odds of a severe collision before the driver can react. A head-on collision can also occur when the truck driver falls asleep behind the wheel and drifts into oncoming traffic.
Driving while intoxicated can slow the truck driver’s reflexes and lead to poor decision-making. A drunk truck driver may not realize that he or she has allowed the truck to drift out of the assigned lane or that the driver has traveled the wrong way down the road. Unfortunately, truck drivers, who spend long hours on the road away from friends and family often turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with those challenges. A large number of truck drivers admit to driving while inebriated despite knowing the potential dangers.
Big trucks need more room to maneuver and respond to potential hazards on the road around them than smaller passenger vehicles. As a result, truck drivers must pay much closer attention to everything happening around them. Unfortunately, road haze and comfort behind the wheel, especially after all those hours on the road, can lead to increased comfort with distraction. If a truck driver takes his eyes off the road for even seconds, the driver could drift into oncoming traffic, resulting in a severe accident.
Common Injuries in San Diego Head-On Truck Collisions
Head-on truck collisions can cause a wide range of injuries. They have a high risk of killing someone, since the greater size and weight of big trucks can cause severe damage to other, smaller vehicles and passengers in those vehicles. Any time you suffer serious injuries in a head-on collision with a truck, even if your injuries do not fall into these common categories, you may have the right to seek compensation for your injuries.
Traumatic Brain Injury
At Gomez Trial Attorneys, we have dealt with a wide range of traumatic brain injury claims. Many people fail to realize the full impact a traumatic brain injury can have on their lives until actually suffering these severe, life-altering injuries. Not only can a traumatic brain injury impact long-term memory, which may lead to memory gaps or challenges interacting with friends and loved ones due to the loss of shared memories or experiences, but may also lead to severe challenges in a victim’s everyday life.
Victims with traumatic brain injuries often struggle to focus on common tasks, including tasks that they once enjoyed. Injured individuals may have a hard time with their short-term memories, which can make it difficult for them to remember instructions or even why they walked into a room. Not only that, but also traumatic brain injury can have a significant impact on a patient’s ability to regulate emotion. Traumatic brain injury patients often have trouble with mood swings or may react inappropriately to emotional stimuli. Injured individuals may overreact, including having extreme emotional reactions to minor emotional stimuli, or they may react with the seemingly wrong emotion to input from friends and loved ones.
Even patients with mild to moderate traumatic brain injuries may note symptoms more than a year after the initial accident. Patients with more serious traumatic brain injury may struggle with those challenges and symptoms for the rest of their lives.
Back and Neck Injuries
You may not fully realize how much you use your back and neck until you suffer an injury in that area. Back injuries can cause chronic pain and weakness. Often, patients with back and neck injuries need to undergo surgery to stabilize the spine and reduce the pain that patients face. These surgeries, however, can severely limit mobility, making it very difficult for those patients to go back to work or to engage in basic self-care tasks.
Worse, some patients may suffer spinal cord injuries, which can cause a substantial loss of mobility and function below the site of the injury. Complete spinal cord injuries sever the spine completely and result in a full loss of mobility, while incomplete spinal cord injuries may not involve the entire spinal cord, but may still cause severe limitations for the victim.
The extreme force of a head-on truck collision may cause San Diego residents to lose limbs. Limb amputation may occur as a direct result of the force of the accident itself or because the victim suffered such severe crushing damage that it restricts blood flow to the limb, causing the tissue to die. Amputees often have to relearn how to perform tasks they once took on independently, including work, leisure, and self-care tasks. While prosthetic devices can make it easier to take on some of those tasks, or may at least help restore normal appearance and make the amputee less self-conscious, those devices may also cause significant, ongoing expenses in the victim’s life.
Head-on truck accidents may result in burns for passengers in the other vehicle. Severe damage to the engine can cause a fire hazard. Big trucks may also carry dangerous cargo, including tanker trucks that may carry hazardous chemicals. Those chemicals can cause severe burns on contact.
Burn victims often experience severe pain and a long recovery time. They may need to receive treatment in a special burn unit in the hospital to reduce the risk of infection. Despite treatment in the burn unit, however, burn victims suffer a high rate of complications. Burns can cause severe, permanent scarring, which may impact a victim’s mobility around joints or hurt the victim’s self-esteem.
Determining Liability for a Head-On Truck Collision in San Diego
In general, truck drivers bear liability for all of the decisions they make behind the wheel. A truck driver who gets behind the wheel while inebriated, who grows distracted, or simply makes a mistake and puts the truck in the wrong lane or going the wrong way down the road can cause serious injury to others involved in the accident.
However, in some cases, other entities may also share liability for the injuries sustained by the victim in a head-on truck collision. The trucking company, for example, may have placed unnecessary pressure on the driver to get behind the wheel despite fatigue or inebriation. Some trucking companies may even have policies that push their drivers to meet specific mileage requirements or ignore federal mandates that require them to take a break after spending several hours on the road. If a mechanical failure leads to an accident, a mechanic that recently worked on the truck may also bear liability.
Your truck accident lawyer can go over your claim and the information about your accident, including helping to investigate the trucking company to determine whether the truck driver alone bears liability for the accident or if other entities may share liability for your injuries.
The Compensation You Can Recover After a Head-On Truck Collision in San Diego
No ethical lawyer will guarantee how much compensation you may recover for your injuries. Each truck accident claim has a different outcome, but most victims include the same general demands in their claims, asking for compensation for:
Your medical expenses will often make up the bulk of your financial losses after a head-on truck collision. Due to the severe force of the accident, you may have severe injuries that require you to spend a long time in the hospital and receive a lot of treatments for your injuries. All your medical costs related to your injuries, from the cost of emergency transport to the hospital to the cost of durable medical equipment, may fall into the medical expenses category of your truck accident claim.
Did you have to miss work after your accident? The extreme force associated with a head-on truck collision can lead to injuries that may prevent you from working for quite some time after the initial accident. Talk to an attorney about how to calculate your lost wages after a truck accident.
Pain and Suffering
You may also have the right to include compensation for pain and suffering as part of your claim. Head-on truck collisions may leave you with injuries that cause immense physical suffering and emotional distress. An attorney can help you calculate how much compensation you should include for pain and suffering after your accident.
Call a Truck Accident Attorney Near You if You Sustained Injuries in a San Diego Head-on Truck Accident
If you suffer severe injuries in a head-on truck collision, do not wait to get legal help. A San Diego truck accident lawyer can answer your questions, determine if you have a case, and help you pursue compensation to pay for your injuries.