A rollover accident occurs when a truck tips over onto its side or roof. It’s a serious and often traumatic event that can result in substantial damage to the truck and its cargo. These accidents can happen for various reasons, including factors like improper cargo distribution, driver fatigue, or mechanical issues.
Unfortunately, truck rollover accidents in Chattanooga and across the United States are more common than you may realize. There were 393 large truck rollover crashes in 2021, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Even worse, more than half of the people inside those trucks lost their lives in those accidents. To put it into perspective, this number is higher than the percentage of both SUV and pickup truck passengers who died in rollover accidents. It’s also significantly greater than the percentage of car passengers who died in rollovers.
The physical impact truck rollover accidents have on drivers
Truck rollovers can lead to immediate physical injuries such as fractures, cuts, and bruises, often requiring prompt medical attention due to their potential seriousness. These accidents may also result in long-term health effects, with drivers facing the prospect of chronic pain, disability, and the need for ongoing medical treatment. These physical consequences can deeply affect a driver’s ability to maintain their career and everyday life.
The emotional and psychological impact of truck rollover accidents
Truck rollover accidents, beyond their physical repercussions, can leave lasting emotional scars on the driver. One of the most significant emotional challenges truck drivers face after accidents like these is the potential development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
While PTSD is often associated with military experiences, it can also affect those who’ve endured traumatic events like rollover accidents. The intense fear, helplessness, and horror that can accompany these accidents can trigger PTSD symptoms. These may include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and emotional distress which can actually increase the risk of further accidents if they go back to work. According to one analysis, about 25%-33% of those involved in car accidents experienced PTSD at least 30 days after the accident took place.
This emotional turmoil can also strain interpersonal relationships, both at work and at home, creating additional stressors. As a result, many truck drivers with untreated or unaddressed PTSD find it challenging to maintain their career which means they also face the risk of losing their income. Recovering from PTSD after a truck accident can be a long and hard journey, as it involves confronting and processing deeply ingrained emotional trauma. It often requires ongoing therapy, support, and coping mechanisms to gradually reduce the impact of traumatic memories and regain a sense of emotional stability.
Filing for workers’ compensation after a truck accident
The injuries you sustain in a rollover accident can be long-lasting and life changing, so seeking compensation is important. In order to file a workers’ compensation claim as a Chattanooga truck driver, first promptly report the accident to your employer and seek immediate medical attention. This timely reporting is essential, as it establishes the basis for your workers’ compensation claim. To be eligible for workers’ compensation, you typically need to demonstrate that the accident occurred while you were on the job. Once your claim is approved, workers’ compensation can provide crucial benefits, including coverage for medical expenses related to your injuries and wage replacement if you’re unable to work during your recovery.
Filing a truck accident lawsuit in Chattanooga
For truck drivers involved in rollover accidents, pursuing a personal injury lawsuit is a different legal avenue to consider. This process typically begins by consulting with an attorney who specializes in personal injury cases. Unlike workers’ compensation claims, personal injury lawsuits require demonstrating that someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing played a role in the accident.
It may be advisable for a truck driver to pursue a personal injury lawsuit when there is evidence to support that another party, such as the trucking company, a manufacturer, or another driver, was at fault. Personal injury lawsuits offer the potential for compensation that extends beyond medical expenses and wage replacement, including damages for pain and suffering, lost earning capacity, and other non-economic losses.
Difference between workers’ compensation and a personal injury case
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system designed to provide benefits to employees injured on the job, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. On the other hand, personal injury claims require establishing fault or negligence on the part of another party. In the context of a truck rollover accident, this might mean proving that a trucking company’s negligence, a defective vehicle component, or another driver’s actions contributed to the accident.
The types of compensation available also vary between workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. Workers’ compensation typically covers medical expenses and wage replacement, while personal injury claims can encompass a broader range of damages, such as pain and suffering, lost earning capacity, and punitive damages in cases of extreme negligence.
The decision between the two avenues depends on the specific circumstances of the accident. For example, truck drivers who own and operate their vehicles as independent contractors may need to pursue a personal injury case, while employees hired by a trucking company may be eligible for workers’ compensation. It’s also worth noting that in some cases, both types of claims can be filed concurrently if multiple parties share liability for the accident. Consulting with an experienced Chattanooga injury attorney is advisable in order to determine the most appropriate course of action based on the unique details of your case.
If you were injured in a Chattanooga truck rollover accident, reach out to the team at Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law. The injuries sustained in truck rollover accidents can be severe, and you shouldn’t have to fight a legal battle to receive justice on your own. We’re ready to help. Contact our office or complete out our contact form to schedule your free case review today. We proudly serve Cleveland, Chattanooga, North Georgia, and the surrounding areas.
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