The Pacific Northwest is an area of the country that is constantly progressing and evolving its infrastructure, including its buildings, airports, transportation systems, and roadways. While this is good for the economy and good for future generations, it also means that roads and other areas are full of construction vehicles. Construction vehicles are known for being large and heavy, often carrying cargo that would be dangerous if dropped on the highway or onto a person. The vehicles themselves present a danger to the other cars around them, as these large trucks become unstable whether due to poor cargo loading, tire defects, or poorly trained drivers. If a driver is negligent in one of these vehicles, the consequences of an accident with a smaller sedan is likely to be catastrophic. In these instances, you are going to want a Vancouver, WA truck accident lawyer who can ensure that you are compensated for any costly injuries and damages that you suffered.
While large construction vehicles are capable of causing the same sort of accident as any other vehicle on the road (accidents such as fender-benders, T-bones, head-on collisions, etc.), there are a few that are unique (or at least more likely) to them.
The most common accidents caused by construction vehicles include:
- Rollovers. With a higher center of gravity, trucks and other large construction vehicles are far more prone to rolling over than other smaller vehicles. Factors such as taking turns too fast or shifting cargo can increase the risks of rollovers. When a truck rolls over, it can crash into nearby cars, and spill its cargo across the road, possibly causing multiple car accidents. These accidents often result in fatalities.
- Cargo spills. Cargo spills often occur when the cargo has either been loaded improperly or the cargo shifts easily and becomes dislodged from its proper position. Common cargo that construction vehicles may be carrying include: gravel, cement, steel, rebar, wood, stone, and bricks. With materials such as these spilling out onto a busy highway, cars are likely to crash trying to avoid the spilled cargo, or they may be injured by the cargo hitting their vehicle.
- Back-up accidents. When you are in a smaller vehicle such as a sedan, it is easier to see if there is anything or anyone behind you before backing up. Larger vehicles such as construction trucks do not have that luxury – nor do they always have rear-view mirrors or backup cameras– which can increase the risk of a back-up collision. Construction vehicle operators should check behind their vehicle fully before attempting to reverse.
- Pinning/Crushing accidents. Construction vehicles don’t just mean trucks. It can mean cranes, forklifts, excavators, dump trucks, or any number of vehicles used in and around construction sites. Sometimes, these vehicles are left unattended, and if they are not parked properly, or their brakes malfunction, it can continue moving only to pin someone between it and another object.
There are many accidents that construction vehicles can cause, but these are the most common, and they usually lead to catastrophic injuries or even death.
What are common types of injuries caused by construction vehicle accidents?
The types of injuries often caused by construction vehicle accidents can be catastrophic. That is that they are injuries that alter someone’s life forever. These injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury. When the head jostled hard, whether it hits an object or is hit by an object at force, it can lead to a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A hit to the head can cause your brain to form bruises and abrasions that may lead to internal bleeding and swelling. Symptoms of a TBI include memory loss, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, mood swings, periods of unconsciousness, and headaches. It is extremely important that you seek medical attention if you have been in an accident where your head was hit in any way, as TBIs do not always develop symptoms right away, and the sooner you get it diagnosed and treated, the less permanent damage it can cause.
- Spinal cord injury. A spinal cord injury (SCI) occurs when a victim receives an injury on their spine. As the spinal cord is necessary for sending out messages from the brain, any damage to it can result in the body below the point of the injury malfunctioning, possibly losing sensation and function altogether. People who have suffered spinal cord injuries often end up either partially paralyzed or fully paralyzed, requiring the assistance of canes, wheelchairs, or other mobility aid devices.
- Crush injury. When extreme pressure is applied to the body or a body part, this can result in a crush injury, and they usually occur when a body part is squeezed between two heavy objects. Crush injuries can lead to bleeding, fractures, nerve damage, lacerations, infections, and Compartment syndrome – which is when serious damage is done to muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and tissues caused by extreme pressure.
- Traumatic amputation. With such heavy and sharp material and vehicles around construction sites, losing a limb might be easy to imagine. Traumatic amputations happen at the site of the accident or later when a severely injured limb cannot be saved, and must be removed. The costs for this injury will last a lifetime, with new prosthetics and further surgeries possibly necessary years down the line.
All of these injuries are life changing and require years of therapy and medical attention, as well as the costs of mobility aids. After these injuries, victims often lose their jobs, resulting in a loss of income. Not only that, but everyday activities can become difficult or impossible, and further cause depression if they do not already suffer from it due to experiencing PTSD from the accident itself.
Getting into an accident is never easy or quick. When the accident is so catastrophic that it causes life changing injuries, the rest of your life can become far more difficult than it ever has been. Someone’s moment of negligence caused your pain and suffering, but it does not mean that you must suffer financially as well. That is where having a knowledgeable and determined personal injury lawyer is essential.
At Philbrook Law Office, we have experience in ensuring that victims receive the compensation that they deserve so that they and their family do not need to suffer any more than they already must. To schedule an appointment, call us or use our contact page. We have offices in Vancouver, WA as well as Battle Ground. Let us help you.
Founding Attorney Matthew Philbrook attended Clark College, Washington State University, and Gonzaga University School of Law. He is a member of the Washington State and Oregon State Bar Associations and started Philbrook Law Office in 2005. He specializes in Personal Injury, DUI and Criminal Defense cases. Learn more about Mr. Philbrook.