Head-on collisions are treacherous events in their own right; as soon as you introduce a truck into the situation, the outcome is almost always worse for those involved.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates close to one-quarter of all traffic accidents are head-on collisions. A certain portion of these involve trucks, which increases the likelihood of injury or death.
Most semi-trucks weigh at least 30,000 pounds without cargo but can weigh up to 80,000 when they are loaded. The increased weight creates a greater force upon impact during a collision. A high-speed head-on collision almost guarantees those involved who are riding in a passenger vehicle will sustain severe injuries if they are fortunate enough to survive the crash.
The Bronx is home to five industrial business zones: Bathgate, Port Morris, Eastchester, Zerega, and Hunts Point. The manufacturing, construction, and transportation industries in this area ensure a steady flow of trucks in and out. This doesn’t include normal truck traffic to other businesses within the Bronx.
As one of New York City’s boroughs, the Bronx has no shortage of traffic, but the added industrial areas make it more likely that motorists in passenger vehicles might be involved in a head-on collision with a negligent or reckless truck driver.
If you have sustained injuries in a head-on truck collision in the Bronx, it’s best to consult with an experienced Bronx truck accident attorney who can advise you on your legal options to recover your losses. Until you have the chance to meet with a lawyer, we provide a broad overview of Bronx head-on truck collisions, including common causes, injuries accident victims often suffer, and what to do if you lose a loved one in a head-on truck crash.
Negligent Truckers and Trucking Companies Cause Head-on Truck Collisions
A wide range of scenarios can directly or indirectly lead to a dangerous head-on truck collision in the Bronx. Truck drivers make errors, but most errors emerge from carelessness or negligence. Some truck drivers do not get the sleep they need and others drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In other situations, trucking companies fail to adequately maintain trucks or properly train new drivers. Mechanical issues and inexperience sometimes have treacherous consequences.
For you to win your head-on truck accident case, your lawyer needs to show the truck driver caused the preventable accident. Determining causation in a truck accident case can be a difficult task and more than one cause might emerge during an investigation. Below we provide a broad overview of some common driving behaviors that sometimes lead truckers to cause head-on collisions with other vehicles on the road.
Truckers who are impaired or distracted and travel the wrong way on a street, highway, or exit ramp can cause fatal head-on collisions. Some truckers frequently travel to new locations or take new routes. Unfamiliarity with an area or road also causes some truckers to make a wrong-way turn.
Severe injuries and fatalities are less likely on slower city streets with lots of stoplights, but wrong-way travel on the Cross Bronx Expressway could be fatal. The most dangerous wrong-way turn happens when a truck driver turns into the wrong exit or entrance ramp to the interstate. High speed comes into play, causing more damage, more severe injuries, and an increased chance of fatality.
Crossing Over the Centerline
Swerving over the centerline on a street or highway is a surefire way to cause a head-on collision. Drowsy truck drivers with demanding schedules, distracted truckers, and those who drive their rigs under the influence of drugs or alcohol are most likely to cross over the centerline and cause an accident.
On snowy winter days in the Bronx, a truck driver might cross into oncoming traffic because of slippery road conditions. Road hazards that force a truck to swerve could also lead to a head-on collision when a truck goes over the centerline.
Heavy traffic in the Bronx makes it difficult for slower vehicles and trucks to move over and let someone pass, especially on two-lane roads that weave through industrial areas in the city. Impatience causes some truckers to drive aggressively and pass other vehicles. If a trucker chooses to pass on a double-yellow line, on a hill, or in another unsafe situation, he risks causing a severe head-on truck collision.
Driving too fast for weather or road conditions or over the posted speed limit is not always a direct cause of a head-on collision. However, speeding occurs so frequently that it is likely a secondary cause that indirectly leads to accidents, including head-on collisions.
It takes a decent amount of manual dexterity for truckers to handle their semis. If they speed, they increase the likelihood of losing control of their rig. Truckers who cannot control their trucks are more likely to swerve into oncoming traffic and cause a head-on crash.
Bronx Head-on Truck Collisions Cause Severe Injuries
Injuries sustained in a head-on truck accident vary widely based on the size of the vehicle involved, the speed at which the truck and other vehicle were traveling when they collided, and where an accident victim was sitting during the crash. In the least severe head-on collisions, bodies often fly towards the front of the vehicle but get abruptly stopped by a seatbelt and/or airbag deployment.
Body movement isn’t as predictable during high-speed head-on collisions and safety devices do not do much to prevent catastrophic and fatal injuries.
Examples of specific injuries those in passenger vehicles might sustain during a head-on truck collision include:
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Traumatic brain injuries that range in severity are common in traffic accidents, but often more severe when a truck is involved. Brain injuries occur from direct contact to the head or indirect movement from the impact of a crash. Even a truck accident at a slower speed can create enough force to shake someone’s brain around inside their skull and cause an injury.
In other cases, bodies get thrown around in a head-on collision and heads might hit the steering wheel, a window, or the seat in front of them. Finally, pieces of metal or plastic from the crash can penetrate the head and cause a TBI.
Concussions are the most minor of all TBIs, but even a mild concussion can have long-term consequences for victims. Children, whose brains do not develop until long after age 20, face developmental issues if they suffer a mild TBI. Moderate and severe injuries almost always have a lifelong impact on victims. Some might suffer from chronic headaches or migraines and other symptoms of brain damage.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns of the long-term impact a severe traumatic brain injury can have on victims. TBIs impact four areas of the brain.
Consequences include struggles with:
- Memory and logical reasoning
- Senses, impacting vision, balance, taste, and touch
- Communication, comprehension, and understanding abstract ideas
- Behavior and emotions, including changes in personality, increased aggression, anger, anxiety, and depression
According to the CDC, a severe TBI can also cause epilepsy and increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other neurological diseases.
Whiplash is the most common neck injury associated with traffic crashes, and it’s highly likely in head-on truck crashes. Whiplash occurs when the muscles and other soft tissues in the neck get injured after the head moves back and forth rapidly in an accident.
The soft tissues flex and extend beyond their normal range of motion. Mild cases of whiplash typically heal quickly, but head-on truck collisions typically lead to severe whiplash that comes with lifelong challenges.
Accident victims might not feel whiplash symptoms until a day or two after the accident. However, they could experience damage to the neck bones, discs, muscles, and ligaments, leaving them with stiffness and pain in their necks, headaches, dizziness, shoulder pain, memory loss, trouble sleeping, and fatigue. Severe whiplash can also cause permanent nerve damage in the neck.
Head-on truck collisions cause the human body to move in a wide range of unnatural positions, leading to painful and debilitating back injuries. The faster the truck and the other vehicle are traveling when they collide, the more severe and painful the back injuries are likely to prove. Back injuries vary among accidents, but include broken vertebrae, slipped discs, and bulged discs. Head-on truck accidents have enough force to impact the entire spinal column, making it difficult for victims to find any relief from pain when sitting, standing, or lying down.
Serious back injuries typically require one or more surgeries. Victims might need their spine fused or need some type of hardware implanted to help mitigate their pain. Even after corrective surgery, many back injury victims face ongoing pain and discomfort. Additionally, pain management regimens include opioid painkillers that can create substance abuse issues for some.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The massive force of a head-on truck accident can lead to the worst kind of neck or back injury—a spinal cord injury. The spinal cord connects the brain to the rest of the body’s nervous system. An injured spinal cord blocks the signal from the brain to other areas of the body, creating temporary or permanent loss of functions.
The exact loss depends on the location of the injury along the spinal column. Injuries that occur closer to the brain cause more loss, making spinal cord injuries in the neck the most severe and likely to result in paralyzation from the neck down.
A bruised or swollen spinal cord can also cause loss, but accident victims have a chance to recover lost function when the bruises heal or swelling goes down. Unfortunately, many spinal cord injuries result in permanent loss and leave victims coping with pain and some level of functional loss for the rest of their lives.
A head-on truck accident puts drivers and passengers at risk for amputation. In severe accidents, limbs can get pinned under the steering column, dashboard, or backseat, especially if the front end of the vehicle crumbles during the collision. When limbs get pinned and crushed, they lose blood flow, creating a life-threatening scenario. Emergency response teams and doctors are tasked with restoring blood flow to the affected limbs, but sometimes it’s not possible.
Dead limbs that cannot regain blood flow must be amputated to prevent infection from spreading throughout the body, which ultimately leads to death. Amputees need to spend months or years healing and engaging in rehabilitative therapy, live with the trauma of losing a limb, and cope with the frustration of learning how to use an artificial limb.
Additionally, amputees often experience stump pain and phantom limb pain where their arm or leg used to be. The emotional trauma of an amputee’s loss also weighs heavily on their life. Healing also includes mental health services such as individual and group therapy to cope with the loss of a limb.
Internal Organ Injuries
Head-on truck collisions put those in passenger vehicles at risk for serious internal injuries. Broken ribs can puncture vital organs if the organs do not suffer damage from the crash. Internal organ injuries are especially dangerous because they are hidden.
Sometimes victims feel pain in the abdomen or chest and shrug it off, especially if the crash happened at a lower speed. Untreated internal injuries can be fatal. In addition to organ failure, victims might also suffer from dangerous internal bleeding.
Losing a Loved One in a Bronx Head-on Truck Collision
If a loved one died in a head-on truck collision in the Bronx, you could have the legal right to take action against the negligent truck driver to recover damages for the loss of your loved one. Eligible surviving family members sometimes receive compensation for medical treatment costs until the time of death, funeral costs, burial expenses, and non-economic damages, such as loss of guidance, loss of companionship, pain and suffering the deceased suffered until the time of death, and others.
Were You or a Loved One in a Bronx Head-on Truck Crash?
If so, an experienced Bronx truck accident attorney can review the circumstance of the accident and determine your eligibility for compensation. You’ll want to call sooner rather than later, while eyewitness memories and evidence remain fresh. You have nothing to lose since you can get a free claim evaluation from most Bronx truck accident lawyers—and because they work on contingency, you’ll pay nothing if your lawyer cannot secure compensation for you.