Personal Injury Lawyers Jonesboro, Arkansas

Understanding Traumatic Brain Injuries From Truck Accidents

Doctors consider and discuss magnetic resonance image (MRI) of the brain.

The size and mass of large commercial trucks exert a greater force in a collision compared to smaller vehicles. This increases the risk of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in crash victims. The risk is even greater when truck accidents involve motorcycles or pedestrians, who lack the protection offered by a vehicle frame.

When such devastating injuries result from negligence by a truck driver or a trucking company, victims and their families need to know their legal options. Getting prompt medical attention and seeking help from an experienced truck accident attorney is key to recovery and the potential for financial compensation.

How truck wrecks cause brain injuries

Accidents involving semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, dump trucks, and other commercial big rigs are notorious for their severity and the devastating injuries they can cause. Here's a closer look at how different types of trucking accidents can lead to TBIs:

  • Rear-End Truck Accidents: When a truck crashes into the rear of another vehicle, the sudden jolt can cause the heads of the occupants in the struck vehicle to snap forward and backward rapidly. Depending on the force of impact, this whiplash motion can lead to concussions or more severe TBIs. Example: A passenger car stops abruptly at a traffic light, and an inattentive truck driver fails to brake in time, resulting in a rear-end collision. The occupants of the car experience severe whiplash, leading to TBIs.
  • Head-On Collisions: These occur when the front ends of a truck and another vehicle collide. The intense impact of a head-on collision can cause severe head trauma, leading to TBIs from either direct impact with part of the vehicle's interior or by the brain moving violently within the skull. Example: A truck crosses the median on a highway and collides head-on with an oncoming car, causing significant head injuries to the car's occupants due to the high-speed impact.
  • Rollovers: Commercial trucks can roll over due to loss of control, often caused by taking turns too quickly or unevenly distributed cargo. Example: A truck loaded with heavy equipment takes a sharp turn, tipping and rolling over, causing nearby pedestrians or vehicles to get caught in the accident.
  • Jackknife Accidents: These occur when a truck's trailer swings out and forms an acute angle with the cab, resembling a folding knife. In jackknife accidents, the violent swinging of the trailer can cause collisions with multiple vehicles, leading to a variety of impact forces resulting in TBIs. Example: On a slippery road, a truck driver brakes hard, causing the trailer to jackknife and strike several cars in adjacent lanes, resulting in multiple victims with TBIs.
  • Underride Accidents: These happen when a smaller vehicle slides under the rear or side of a truck, often shearing off the roof of the car and causing catastrophic head injuries to the occupants. Example: A negligent trucker fails to stop at an intersection, and a passenger vehicle crossing through the other side slides under the truck's trailer, causing severe head and brain injuries to the car's passengers.

Common types of traumatic brain injuries from truck accidents

The consequences of truck accident TBIs can be profound and long-lasting. They often cause chronic pain, speech impairments, difficulties with personal care, limb weakness, and overall cognitive functioning. In extreme cases, they can lead to coma, paralysis, or even death. Some of the most common TBIs from truck accidents include:

Brain contusions

The brain striking the inside of the skull can result in brain contusions (bruises on brain tissue) and damaged blood vessels. This may lead to intracranial bleeding or cerebral edema (swelling), heightening the risk of seizures, strokes, and persistent brain damage. The increased pressure inside the skull can push victims into unconsciousness or comas.

The most common types of brain contusions include:

  • Coup contusions: These occur directly under the impact site. If an object strikes the head, the area of the brain beneath that point of impact may suffer a contusion.
  • Contrecoup contusions: These happen on the side of the brain opposite the impact site. When a forceful impact causes the brain to move inside the skull, it can collide with the skull on the opposite side.
  • Coup-contrecoup contusions: This type involves injuries at the site of impact and on the opposite side of the brain. It indicates a severe impact or acceleration-deceleration injury.

Diffuse axonal injury

Diffuse axonal injury is one of the most severe TBIs from truck accidents. They occur when the brain is shaken within the skull, leading to widespread tearing of brain cells. This type of injury can disrupt normal brain function and potentially result in long-term coma or significant cognitive and physical impairments.

Brain hematomas

Brain hematomas are collections of blood outside blood vessels. They can form between the skull and brain (epidural hematoma), under the dura mater (subdural hematoma), or within the brain tissue itself (intracerebral hematoma). Brain hematomas can cause severe neurological problems, and in many cases, surgery is required to relieve the pressure they place on the brain.


Concussions are generally milder than other types of TBIs. However, they still have serious consequences. That includes long recovery times, balance issues, cognitive impairments, memory loss, headaches, sensitivity to light and noise, nausea, and fatigue. Symptoms from such injuries can persist for weeks to months and even longer for second-impact concussions.

Penetrating brain injuries

Unlike closed head injuries, where the brain is injured without a break in the skull, penetrating injuries break the skull and directly harm brain tissues, blood vessels, and membranes. This type of TBI is severe and often life-threatening, as it involves direct damage to the brain caused by the intrusion of foreign objects.

The consequences of a penetrating head injury depend on the object's trajectory, speed, and what part of the brain is affected. These injuries can lead to immediate and severe complications, including bleeding, increased intracranial pressure, and infection. It can also damage specific brain regions responsible for vital bodily functions and cognition.

Truck accident lawyers fighting for brain injury victims

At McDaniel Law Firm, PLC, our truck accident attorneys understand the impact a TBI can have on your health and well-being. Our dedicated legal team is equipped to handle complex truck accident cases and hold liable parties accountable. We investigate negligent truck drivers and their employers and look for evidence that they failed to uphold their duty of care. We also build strong cases for the maximum compensation our clients deserve.

To find out how we can help you, contact us online or call our Jonesboro, Arkansas, law office to schedule a free consultation. We'll answer any questions you have and help you explore your potential legal options.

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