Brockton, Massachusetts, Truck Accident Lawyer
Commercial trucks of all sizes are everywhere on our nation’s roads. They transport our groceries, household goods, farm products, cars, and more. Commercial trucks range from box trucks with three axels to semi-trucks with five or more axles. Semi-trucks may weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded and can reach lengths of 90 feet long, depending on the cab style. Because of the size and weight of these trucks, it takes much more time and control for them to stop safely. Thus, if you do get into an accident with a big truck, your injuries are likely to be catastrophic or even fatal.
Massachusetts Truck Fatalities
The number of fatalities involving large trucks declined between 2013 and 2017. However, the numbers remain too high. Consider the following statistics regarding truck fatalities by year:
- In 2013, 31 fatalities
- In 2014, 27 fatalities
- In 2015, 28 fatalities
- In 2016, 27 fatalities
- In 2017, 28 fatalities
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the United States experienced 4,237 fatalities from truck accidents in 2017. These accidents involved:
- 3,139 crashes with another vehicle in transit
- 388 crashes with a fixed object
- 113 crashes with a fixed object and another vehicle
- 314 pedestrian and truck accidents
- 48 pedestrian and truck accidents that also involved another vehicle
- 181 rollover crashes
- 91 crashes with a pedal cycle or other personal conveyance
- 40 crashes with a parked vehicle
- 14 crashes with a train
- 9 crashes with another object
Additionally, the United States experienced 102,000 injury crashes with large trucks. Of those, 83,000 involved another vehicle in transit and 1,000 involved pedestrians.
Truck Accident Injuries
Because of the large size of commercial trucks, injuries that stem from accidents involving such vehicles are more often catastrophic and fatal. Even if you think you’ve only sustained minor injuries, you should always get checked out by a doctor following a truck accident, as some injuries may not show up until a few hours or even days later. Some of the most common truck accident injuries include:
- Strains and sprains. These injuries are usually minor, but they can potentially put you out of commission for several weeks.
- Bruises, abrasions, and cuts. These are also minor injuries, but if you fail to properly treat abrasions or cuts, they may become infected.
- Burns. Burns can range in severity and are often extremely painful. They may also become infected if you don’t care for them properly. If you have other health issues—such as diabetes—burns heal slowly, may not heal properly, and leave you with an increased chance of severe infection.
- Fractures. Fractures involve bones that are cracked or broken but don’t pierce the skin. Though fractures are serious, compound fractures—where the bone goes through the skin—are worse, as these injuries can become infected. Compound fractures require surgery, while fractures may not necessarily require surgery. Regardless, you will not be able to use a fractured limb for several weeks. Because of the inability to use the limb, you may need physical therapy once the fracture heals.
- Amputations. In some cases, a limb, toe, or finger may require amputation because it is too badly damaged. In other cases, you may even sever the digit or limb in the accident.
- Traumatic brain injury. Even with all the safety equipment in modern vehicles, you may suffer a traumatic brain injury in an accident with a truck. You can recover from many traumatic brain injuries. However, in some cases, you may suffer a long-term or permanent injury, including permanent brain damage.
- Back and spinal cord injuries. Back and spinal cord injuries can leave you incapacitated for a short time, or you may suffer from long-term or permanent injuries. Since your nerves pass through your spinal cord, you could experience paralysis if your injury is severe enough.
This is not a comprehensive list of injuries; rather it’s a list of some of the most common injuries. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may require physical and/or occupational therapy for weeks or months following your accident.
The amount of compensation you receive depends on the severity of your injuries. A court can award you three different types of damages: (1) economic, (2) non-economic, and (3) punitive damages. Economic damages have a dollar amount attached to them and are usually for medical costs and property damage. Non-economic damages are those that do not have a dollar amount attached, such as for pain and suffering. These damages are also called general and special damages, respectively.
Courts only award punitive damages when a defendant acted grossly negligent or purposefully caused an accident with an intent to cause harm. Punitive damages are used as a punishment and deterrent. For example, a court may award punitive damages if a truck driver was driving under the influence or if an at-fault driver was texting and caused an accident.
Economic damages may include compensation for the following:
- Medical costs. This includes medical costs that you incur as a result of the accident. You may also receive compensation for future medical costs for long-term or permanent injuries and therapies. Medical costs also include any psychiatric care that you may need because of emotional distress that you suffer as a result of your accident.
- Lost wages. A court may award you compensation for time missed from work because of injuries that you received in an accident. You may also receive compensation for future lost wages if your injuries require you to stay out of work for the long-term or if you cannot work at the same type of job for the same amount of money because of your injuries.
- Property repairs or replacement. A court may also award you compensation for vehicle damage and other personal property repairs that were damaged in your accident. If the insurance company totals your vehicle, they should compensate you for a replacement vehicle.
Non-economic damages may include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of use of a limb, and loss of consortium. Many of these damages are also available when you lose a loved one in a truck accident.
Contact the Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan if a Negligent Trucker Injured You
If you’ve sustained an injury or lost a loved one in a truck accident, call the Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan at (508) 588-0422, or contact us online, to schedule a free consultation.