For anyone driving on the roads today, there is always a chance that they may be involved in 18-wheeler accidents. According to the United States Department of Education, as recently as 2011, large trucks accounted for more than 3,300 fatal accidents and 60,000 total accidents that resulted in injury. While those numbers were lower than previous years, the risk is still there.
With the risk of an accident comes the risk of injury, including injuries involving the back, spinal cord, and the brain. Here is a look at some potentially life-altering injuries that can occur from 18-wheeler accidents.
BACK/SPINAL CORD INJURIES
From 2009-2011, more than 80,000 people were injured each year in accidents caused by large trucks, and some of those injuries likely involved the back or the spinal cord.
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is defined as any injury where the spinal cord is damaged. SCIs are typically caused by some kind of trauma and lead to a loss of function, such as sensation or mobility.
An SCI does not necessarily mean that the spinal cord is severed; it is entirely possible for the spinal cord to remain intact but still incur enough damage to lead to a loss of function. An SCI is not the same as other back injuries one might get from this type of accident, such as a pinched nerve or a ruptured disk. In those instances, the bones surrounding the spinal cord are affected, but not the spinal cord itself.
There are two different types of SCIs: complete and incomplete. A complete SCI is one where there is no function of any kind below the point of injury – no movement, no feeling, nothing – on either side of the body. Anything else is an incomplete injury. Either form of SCI is serious and potentially life-altering.
TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURIES
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is another potential injury resulting from a collision with a big rig. Unlike a spinal cord injury, TBIs may not be apparent immediately after a collision. A closed head injury (signified by a blow to the head) can lead to two different types of brain damage: primary and secondary. Primary damage is complete upon the point of injury. Secondary damage develops over time, and the signs are not so easily noticeable. According to the Mayo Clinic, some symptoms may take several days or weeks to appear.
Potential symptoms for a mild TBI include:
– loss of consciousness for a brief period of time
– a state of confusion or disorientation
– light or sound sensitivity
– abnormal sleeping patterns
– sensory problems (sight, hearing, sound)
– vomiting or nausea
Potential symptoms for moderate to severe TBIs include:
– loss of consciousness for a prolonged period of time
– slurred speech
– difficulty waking up
– constant headache that does not dissipate
– loss of coordination
These symptoms may be indicative of other disorders, but people who experience them after 18-wheeler accidents should consider seeking medical attention.
Anyone that has been hit by a big rig should consider calling personal injury lawyer Terry Bryant to discuss setting up a free initial consultation. Mr. Bryant has extensive experience in cases of this type, and will take every step possible in an effort to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.