Fractures and Crush Injuries Caused By Heavy Truck Accidents in Washington State
The statistics are sobering. In 2019, 118,000 large trucks were involved in roadway accidents in which one or more people were injured. Despite accounting for only 4% of all registered vehicles that year, large trucks represented 10% of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes.
It’s easy to see how large trucks can become dangerous or deadly on the road. After all, these behemoths weigh up to 25,000 lbs. (And that’s before they are even loaded with their cargo!) Further adding to the risk, truck drivers are often on strict schedules. They might sacrifice proper sleep in order to deliver by a deadline. Other factors—intoxicated drivers, adverse weather conditions, and plain old bad luck—can also affect the safety of trucks.
Our Washington State truck accident attorney explains what happens when a truck accident leads to bone crush injuries or bone fractures, and how to proceed afterward.
How Injuries Can Occur After a Washington Truck Wreck
Crush injuries happen when part of a person’s body is caught between two heavy objects. They are common in truck accidents. When a huge, heavy vehicle collides with a smaller one, anything or anyone inside the car can easily be crushed.
Fractures often occur in vehicular accidents. The frequency and severity of fractures only increase when there’s a semi-truck involved. Fractures can occur when the body is tossed around inside the car or SUV. Or, they can happen when a body is thrown from the vehicle and lands on the pavement or impacts another object.
Steps to Take Immediately After a Wreck in the Greater Seattle Area
Fractures and crushed bones will require immediate medical attention. If there is no one else around to do so, or if other victims are unresponsive, the first thing to do is call 911. Both law enforcement and emergency medical personnel, such as a paramedic or Emergency Medical Services (EMS) provider, should arrive at the scene as soon as possible.
If for some reason you aren’t checked out at the scene or taken to the hospital, it is crucial to see your primary care physician right away. You could also visit an urgent care center. What’s important is that you seek medical attention of some sort. Your medical records could play a significant role in a future legal claim.
Gathering evidence is also key, but don’t risk additional harm in order to get it. The police will document everything when they arrive. However, if you are able to safely do so, you can take some photos that show the damage to all vehicles. Be sure to snap pics of any road conditions or evidence of weather (wet roads, icy patches, poor visibility because of falling snow, etc.) that may have contributed to the crash. These photographs could be invaluable later on.
Discussing Your Options With an Attorney
Filing a lawsuit may not even be on your radar right now, but you may want to consider that action down the line. Schedule a consultation with a lawyer while the details are still fresh in your mind. A lawyer who specializes in handling truck accident claims will meet with you free of charge, and there’s no obligation.
During this meeting, the attorney will review the facts of your accident through the lens of their experience. They’ll tell you if you have a valid claim and, if so, what to expect going forward. You’ll get a chance to ask questions, too. Be sure to jot them down beforehand to help you remember.
Know that the lawyer won’t take your case unless they are confident about winning it. You won’t have to pay any money upfront, either. Personal injury lawyers charge on a contingency basis, which means their legal fees are taken out of your compensation.
Should you decide to file a suit against the negligent parties, your lawyer will get to work. They will strategize, gather evidence, and interview witnesses. Along with a team of paralegals and assistants, they will research past cases that might offer insight. Your attorney will keep you informed at every step of the way—so you can focus on your healing.
Proving a Truck Accident Claim
In order to win a settlement or trial, your attorney will have to prove the following:
- That the defendant owed you a “duty of care”—in layman’s terms, they were responsible for not harming you
- That duty was breached, and you were harmed
- That harm was directly caused by the defendant’s negligence (aka their actions or lack of actions)
- That you have experienced pain and suffering, both physical injury and “mental anguish,” as a result
Your attorney will gather evidence such as photos, your medical records, the truck driver’s work history, the trucking company’s safety records, and witness statements.
What Kind of Compensation Can Be Expected?
Every heavy truck accident is different, so it’s difficult to pin a dollar amount on your specific circumstances. There are many factors determining the amount of your damages. Some of these include:
- The extent of your injuries
- How your injuries have affected your ability to work
- Your lost income and your lost potential earnings in the future
- Loss of quality of life
- The total cost of medical treatment and future treatment
- Loss of your property, such as your vehicle and anything valuable in it that was damaged in the collision
Additionally, you may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering. This is a broad term that refers to both physical pain and your emotional or mental state. Serious accidents can be truly traumatic. What’s more, the trauma doesn’t end once your fractures have healed. You could be dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, or anxiety for years to come. You deserve compensation for this type of distress as well as for your broken bones, traumatic brain injury, or lacerations.