Colliding with a vehicle of any sort is a frightening and often painful experience, but semi truck accidents can be particularly traumatic for the occupants of passenger vehicles. Weighing anywhere from 30,000 to 80,000 pounds—as much as thirty times more than most vehicles on the road—the sheer size and heft of eighteen-wheelers makes them a formidable force in the event of an impact, even at minimum speeds.
More than two million semi trucks currently travel U.S. roadways. With eleven billion tons of freight to move every year, tractor-trailers play an integral role in cargo transportation, but their widespread presence also increases the risk for dangerous accidents with other motorists. Of all motor vehicle accidents, roughly thirteen percent involve a big rig and nearly a quarter of those collisions result in serious injury.
Each year, eighteen-wheelers are involved in approximately half a million accidents, leaving more than 130,000 individuals reeling from the trauma. Our Atlanta Orthopedic Doctors are trained to identify and treat the physical damage that semi truck accidents often leave in their wake. It’s important to undergo a medical evaluation as soon as possible after a collision with a tractor trailer so that injuries do not become more severe conditions.
Whether on the part of the truck driver or other motorists, human error accounts for nearly 90 percent of accidents involving eighteen-wheeled trucks. While intoxication, inexperience, lack of adequate training, and disregard for traffic laws sometimes play a role, almost a third of the time, collisions occur because of mistakes made by fatigued truck drivers.
Research has shown that driving while sleep-deprived impairs judgment and reaction time as much as driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Demanding delivery schedules often require truck drivers to maximize efficiency by sacrificing sleep, leading to a greater chance for mistakes such as drifting lanes, traveling too fast, not braking soon enough, misjudging turns and passes, running red lights, and failing to react quickly to reckless drivers or unexpected obstacles.
And like passenger vehicles, unpredictable factors such as mechanical failures, poor road conditions, inclement weather, and low visibility sometimes place tractor trailers in hazardous situations. However, due to the size of semi trucks, as well as their inability to maneuver and slow down quickly when faced with unexpected conditions, they pose a far greater threat to the smaller vehicles with which they share the road.
While any auto accident can inflict trauma on the drivers and passengers involved, the chance of incurring significant injuries multiplies exponentially in an encounter with a freighted and fast-moving eighteen-wheeler. The severity of the accident and the resulting bodily harm are influenced by factors such as the point of impact, the weight of the vehicles, their traveling speeds, the durability of the passenger vehicle, and whether the airbags deployed and seat belts were secured.
It’s very common for accidents involving semi trucks to result in harm to the head, neck, or back. In most cases, the jolt from the impact causes whiplash, which can leave the neck stiff and sore. More severe collisions can dislocate spinal discs or injure the nerves and muscles that make up the spinal column, leading to numbness or debilitating pain. The blunt force can even be enough to shatter bones.
Traumatic brain injuries are also not unusual following a tractor trailer collision. When there may be no apparent damage, symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vision changes, and confusion or cognitive challenges can suggest the presence of brain trauma. Even in the absence of any apparent symptoms, traumatic brain injuries may still be present. After such a powerful physical shock, it’s best to seek a thorough medical evaluation to rule out more serious conditions.
The process of recovering from a semi truck accident can be a long one and may require extensive treatment and rehabilitation. That’s why AICA Ortho & Spine houses a diverse team of medical specialists, along with a full suite of the latest diagnostic equipment. While we always start with x-rays, we also offer in-house MRIs and CT scans, if our doctors need additional imaging to assess the state of your health accurately.
Once we understand the full extent of your injuries, our chiropractors, orthopedists, and physical therapists will work together to coordinate a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses any damage your spine, skeletal system, and soft tissues may have suffered in the impact. Our integrated, whole-person approach corrects your injuries at the source, helping you achieve a pain-free life after the trauma of a tractor trailer collision.
With several convenient Atlanta-area locations available, the caring Orthopedic Doctors at AICA Ortho & Spine are ready to help you begin your healing journey. To schedule your free consultation, call us at (404) 855-2141 today.