Common Types of 18-Wheeler Accident Injuries

Last updated on: February 1, 2021


If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with an 18-wheeler, you may have suffered severe or life-threatening injuries, or your loved one may have passed away as a result of your injuries. The aftermath of these accidents may often be especially confusing as you begin trying to figure out how you are going to afford your expenses.

If you or a loved one has experienced one of these common types of 18-wheeler accident injuries, you should contact the experienced 18-wheeler accident lawyers from Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 today for a free consultation. If we are not able to win your case, you will not owe us anything.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines a large truck as a commercial or non-commercial vehicle with a weight of 10,000 pounds or more, with the exclusion of buses and campers. Recent statistical data indicates that a significant amount of fatal car accidents involve a large truck. In 2017, 79% of fatal large truck accidents involved trucks with a weight greater than 26,000 pounds. 4,761 fatalities resulted from vehicle accidents that involved heavy trucks in 2017. From 2008 to 2017, there was a 12% increase in the number of fatalities that resulted from vehicle accidents involving 18-wheelers.

Read More: Differences Between 18-Wheeler Accidents and Car Accidents


1. Spinal and Neck Injuries

Injuries to the neck and spinal column can be quite severe especially due to the muscle groups, nerves, and bones that make up the spinal column and contribute to other bodily functions such as the ability to walk, stand, lift, and maneuver in certain ways. Neck and back injuries typically result from the impact of a collision with a large truck, and they can be extremely painful. These injuries often have long-term or even permanent effects such as paralysis, including paraplegia and quadriplegia. The effects of a neck or back injury can significantly reduce a victim’s ability to perform everyday tasks and impact his or her overall quality of life. Like some other internal injuries, neck and spinal injuries may not be immediately evident when you have been in an accident. You should immediately seek medical attention to determine the severity of your injuries and how to best treat them. 

2. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

Cranial injuries are often the result of the victim striking his or her head on part of the vehicle’s interior, such as the steering wheel or window. Whiplash from suddenly braking can also result in cranial injuries. Head injuries can range from mild to severe. Traumatic brain injuries can result in permanent damage and even death. A concussion is another common type of traumatic brain injury that may result from a motor vehicle accident. A concussion occurs when a blow to the head or other part of the body causes the brain to move back and forth inside the skull. Some symptoms of a concussion include headache, impaired motor functions, memory loss, confusion, sensitivity to light or sounds, dizziness, impaired vision, difficulty maintaining balance, and drowsiness or fatigue. Some other types of head injuries that may result from an accident involving an 18-wheeler are lacerations to the head, internal bleeding of the brain, and skull fractures.

3. Internal Injuries

Internal injuries are among the most severe types of injuries that can result from an 18-wheeler accident. Seeking medical attention immediately after a collision occurs is extremely important to determine the extent of any internal injuries that may have been sustained. Some common internal injuries include:

  • Fractured ribs
  • Pneumothorax, also referred to as a collapsed lung
  • Kidney damage
  • Lacerations of the liver
  • Internal bleeding in the abdominal cavity, chest cavity, or other part of the body
  • Internal bleeding of the brain
  • Spleen ruptures
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm – results from trauma to the abdomen which causes weakness and bulging of the lower portion of the aorta

Multiple internal injuries can be interconnected, or one injury may lead to another. For example, a fractured rib could puncture a lung and cause it to collapse. A fractured rib or other bone fracture could also cause damage to other internal organs which leads to internal bleeding. An abdominal aortic aneurysm could lead to potentially fatal internal bleeding. Because of the serious and often life-threatening nature of internal injuries, you should always seek medical attention as soon as possible after a trucking accident, even if you do not immediately appear injured, as many injuries, such as internal bleeding, may often be quite serious especially if not immediately diagnoses and treated.

4. Bone Fractures

Broken bones are common injuries sustained by victims of 18-wheeler accidents. Bone fractures typically result from the impact of colliding with an 18-wheeler or being ejected from your vehicle upon impact. Some of the most common types of bone fractures that may occur in 18-wheeler collisions include:

  • Broken facial bones such as a broken nose
  • Skull fractures
  • Arm fractures
  • Leg fractures
  • Pelvic fractures
  • Broken bones in the foot
  • Broken bones in the hand
  • Ankle breaks
  • Collarbone fractures
  • Sternum fractures
  • Rib fractures

5. Disfigurement

Severe injuries sustained in an 18-wheeler accident can leave a victim permanently disfigured. Lacerations, abrasions, burns, or severely broken bones can result in permanent scarring. Some injuries are so severe that hands, feet, fingers, toes, or entire limbs must be amputated. Some bone fractures can be repaired but are unable to fully regain function. Some victims must undergo extensive physical therapy but may never make a full recovery. Having a permanent disability or disfigurement can significantly reduce a victim’s quality of life. If you were injured in an accident with a large truck that left you permanently disabled or disfigured, you should hire an experienced trucking accident lawyer to handle your case. He or she may be able to help you seek the compensation you may be entitled to for your injuries.

6. Burns

Some large trucks transport flammable materials that could explode if a collision occurs. Several victims of 18-wheeler collisions suffer burns from fires started by gasoline or other flammable materials, a ruptured radiator, or hot pieces of metal from the vehicle. Severe burns can result in permanent scarring, disfigurement, and even death. Burn victims typically undergo a lengthy recovery process and often require reconstructive surgery. Victims of burn injuries are also at risk of other health issues such as shock or infection.

7. Death

Many vehicle collisions involving an 18-wheeler are quite severe and unfortunately result in fatalities. Some fatalities occur immediately at the scene of the collision while others occur later from injuries sustained during the accident. If you suffered the loss of a loved one in an accident involving an 18-wheeler, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim.


Personal injury claims from accidents involving 18-wheelers are often more complex than claims for other vehicle accidents. Insurance companies for trucking companies are often more aggressive than insurers of non-commercial drivers. There are also many standards that apply specifically to commercial truck drivers. Some commercial driving regulations include:

  • Commercial drivers must obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
  • Additional certification is required for drivers who drive trucks or double or triple trailers and those who drive trucks with potentially hazardous materials
  • Commercial drivers have limited hours of service and are required to stop for a rest period after a specific amount of time spent driving
  • Commercial drivers are also subject to testing for drugs and alcohol
  • Restrictions are in place for the use of cellular phones and other electronic devices while operating a large truck


Accidents involving 18-wheelers are often catastrophic due to the size and impact of large trucks. Although truck drivers are encouraged to practice safe driving, many semi-truck accidents continue to occur each year. Some of the most common causes of 18-wheeler accidents include:

1. Driving While Distracted

A driver should devote his or her undivided attention to the road at all times when operating a vehicle. Driving while distracted is extremely dangerous for both the driver and other vehicles on the road. The use of cell phones and other devices while driving is a common cause of distracted driving. If a driver takes his or her eyes off of the road for even a brief moment, an accident could occur, and the results could be catastrophic.

2. Driving While Fatigued

Regulations are in place to prevent commercial truck drivers from becoming overworked and driving while fatigued. Although truck drivers are required to rest periodically after a certain number of hours on the road, many experience exhaustion while driving. Fatigue can impair a driver’s ability to focus and may even cause him or her to fall asleep at the wheel. Driving while tired is hazardous to the driver as well as other vehicles on the road.

3. Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and/or Alcohol

Although there are laws to discourage drivers from operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, unfortunately some choose to do so anyway. Driving under the influence is extremely hazardous to both the driver and others on the road. The use or consumption of drugs and/or alcohol can result in impaired vision, decreased ability to focus, and slower reaction times, often leading to an accident.


At Zinda Law Group, our personal injury lawyers may be able to help you seek the compensation you may be entitled to if you or a loved one has suffered one of the common types of 18-wheeler accident injuries. Our experienced trucking accident attorneys are experienced at negotiating with insurance companies on behalf of clients and seeking the fairest result possible.

Call (800) 863-5312 today for a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers. You will not pay anything unless we can win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.

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