Many drivers fear collisions with semi-trucks more than other types of crashes. That fear is actually quite logical, as bigger vehicles can cause more significant vehicle damage and also worse physical injuries.
A crash between a passenger vehicle and a semi-truck can leave the smaller vehicle unsafe to drive and might produce severe injuries for the people inside it. For example, people could potentially suffer spinal cord injuries.
What do drivers need to know about the possibility of a spinal cord injury after a crash with a semi-truck?
Spinal cord injuries range in severity
It is actually theoretically possible for someone with a spinal cord injury to walk away from a car crash. Incomplete spinal cord injuries pinch or tear the spinal cord without breaking the connection between the brain and the body.
These injuries may cause functional limitations or uncomfortable symptoms without eliminating someone’s motor function and sensation below the site of the injury. In some cases, people may not realize that they have an incomplete injury and could engage in conduct that worsens the injury later. Those who experience very violent crashes, like semi-truck collisions, are at elevated risk of more severe injuries and may need to see a doctor for diagnosis even though they initially do not feel the need to do so.
Insurance may not be enough
Under federal law, commercial trucks that weigh 10,001 pounds or more have to carry far more insurance than the average motor vehicle. That extra coverage does not automatically mean that those with catastrophic injuries receive the financial support they require.
A semi-truck could have a policy that provides at least $750,000 of coverage. Depending on someone’s age and the location of the injury on their spine, the maximum payout from the insurance company might not be enough to cover the total cost generated by a spinal cord injury. People often have multi-million dollar lifetime expenses from spinal cord injuries, especially when factoring in lost earning potential in addition to medical expenses. The insurance company may offer a settlement, but it may still be necessary to take the matter to civil court.
Factors including fault for the crash can influence the best options available to those injured by a semi-truck collision. Discussing the collision and the injuries it caused at length with a lawyer might help someone better determine what options are available to them after a wreck causes a spinal cord injury.