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Truck Accidents: "I Could Have Been Paralyzed"

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Lexington, NCEight years after his truck accident, Troy S. (not his real name) still suffers from severe pain. In fact, on the day I call him he has just returned from yet another MRI and bone scan related to injuries sustained in his accident. Troy has undergone three neck surgeries and has multiple plates and screws implanted—all because a truck driver allegedly fell asleep behind the wheel.

Troy says he was driving home from his brother's house when the accident happened, on February 2, 2000. He says he was going the speed limit and had his seatbelt on. Troy's vehicle and the truck were both traveling south, with the truck slightly behind and to the left of Troy.

Truck Injuries"He [the truck driver] drifted over and my car was going under the front tire of the truck," Troy says. "His bumper was about a foot from my head. I think I intuitively turned the steering wheel to the right because I knew I was going underneath that truck. I went about a hundred yards after he hit me—down an embankment."

Troy was taken to the hospital and says he does not remember a lot about the accident, other than that a family member asked him what happened. "I said, 'I don't know,' and there was a patrolman standing outside my room at the hospital. The patrolman came around the corner and said, 'He fell asleep.' That was it—the truck driver fell asleep."

Troy says the truck driver received a ticket for failure to reduce speed. Troy's car was totaled in the accident and he suffered numerous injuries, including a sprained neck, sprained spine, disc injuries, a curved spine and nerve damage. Troy says he also suffered damage caused by his seatbelt, including pelvic damage and neck and shoulder pain.

"I could have been paralyzed," Troy says. "The three neck surgeries helped, but the pain would make you black out. I don't think people understood how much pain there was. I laid on my back for a year—not literally, but I just wanted to take pills and stay asleep because I was in so much pain. I didn't want to be around people.

"I just had an episode where I had muscle spasms. They gradually come on and I don't realize it until I do something and loosen up my body. There are no pain pills that help me; I have to go to a pain clinic. The mental anguish is probably the toughest thing I deal with now. I am suffering financially. I had to sell something yesterday just to be able to pay my bills.

"My family came by to see the scene after the accident and they saw my car," Troy says. "My mom went to pieces. It looked like someone should have been killed."

In addition to the physical problems, there are also mental aspects to Troy's injury. He speaks slowly and often asks me to repeat my question after attempting to answer it. He also says that his son tells him he has changed since the accident and he admits that is likely true. "I used to have pride and independence," Troy says. "That's changed."

A truck accident can seriously affect a person's life, with physical, mental and emotional ramifications for victims. If you have been injured in a truck accident, contact a lawyer to discuss your legal options.


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