Truck Jackknife Accident Attorneys

You may be entitled to compensation if you’ve been in a jackknife accident. When operated by experienced and well-trained drivers, jackknife accidents are preventable. Here’s what you need to know about legal compensation for jackknife accidents and why hiring a truck accident attorney will help you settle these claims.

What is a Jackknife Accident?

A jackknife accident occurs when a semi-truck attempts to stop, only for its tractor or trailer to slide to the side and form a V-shaped curve. This usually happens when the driver is on slick roads and tries to hit the brakes, only for them to lock up with the rest of the vehicle pointing in the original direction. The name comes from its shape, which resembles the formation of a folding jackknife.

Jackknifing usually happens abruptly and unexpectedly. This can lead to very dangerous road hazards, especially when causing road blockage along the highway. When this happens, there’s potential for multi-vehicle crashes. The truck may also roll over, severely injuring its driver. Even so, jackknifing can be prevented with proper truck maintenance and safe driving practices.

How Does Jackknifing Occur?

Jackknifing can happen for a variety of reasons. The roads may be slick or the vehicle and trailer are improperly lined up with a heavy load. It can also be a case of irregular braking, usually relating to inexperienced drivers. It can also occur if the driver is not making safe decisions on the road, whether they’re distracted or speeding.

There are situations where the equipment simply malfunctions, leading to an unsafe situation. However, these issues can and should be prevented with regular maintenance check-ups. Certain road curves can also lead to jackknifing, but truck drivers are usually experienced enough to prepare for these kinds of turns. This helps them avoid over or understeering when making a dangerous curve.

Who Can Be Held Liable?

More often than not, trucking companies are held liable for jackknifing accidents due to negligence. The trucking firm will be held responsible for hiring the involved driver if they didn’t employ experienced team members or failed to train them to handle everyday road hazards. Before this happens, a negligence claim must be asserted against the trucking company.

The trucking company will likely be held liable through a process called vicarious liability. In simple terms, this holds the employer responsible for the employee’s actions. However, in some cases, the driver themselves may be held liable for the jackknifing accident. This typically occurs if there is evidence to prove that the driver could have prevented the accident.

Jackknife Accident Prevention

Even if it is an unintentional accident, jackknife accidents are preventable. For one thing, trained and experienced truck drivers significantly reduce the risk of a jackknife accident. Operating a complex and technical vehicle like a semi requires immense training. Experienced drivers will understand that gradual braking prevents jackknifing.

At the same time, the trucking company should be performing regular and thorough maintenance inspections on their equipment. This includes ensuring that the vehicle’s brakes are working properly and that the trailer’s cargo is secured. Commercial motor vehicles (CMV) must pass yearly inspections by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

What if I’ve Been in an Accident?

If you’ve been involved in a jackknifing accident, you first need to call the police and receive a medical examination. The police will proceed to file a report that documents essential pieces of evidence that may back up your jackknifing accident claim. Immediate medical treatment will also help since records will detail your injuries after the accident.

Once you’ve recovered, speak with a truck accident attorney to help you decide your next course of action. It may feel tempting to consult your insurance companies first, but this may not always work in your favor. Insurance companies will try to receive a payout as soon as possible, so this is not recommended until you’ve sought legal advice.

Legal Choices for Jackknife Accident Victims

If you’ve been the victim of a jackknife accident, you might be eligible to file a personal injury claim. This will come with compensation that may pay for costs associated with your medical needs. It could also cover bills associated with vehicle damage or other miscellaneous payments.

If you choose to file a personal injury claim, you’ll usually complete this process alongside an insurance company. Once you’ve decided to follow through with legal proceedings, your truck accident lawyer can tell you whether it’s better to file a claim or a lawsuit. They’ll proceed to guide you through the rest of the legal process.

Potential Compensation

Many potential compensatory damages may occur following a jackknifing accident. Some common options include medical costs from ER visits, surgeries, and prescriptions. This can also include wages lost while missing work due to recovery along with any missed benefits like healthcare coverage.

Some other compensatory damages include disability payments for victims who experience chronic injuries due to the accident. This may also involve a loss of earning capacity if your chronic injuries forced you to leave long-term work. It may also involve general pain and suffering in the case of a death related to the jackknifing accident.

Contact a Trucking Accident Attorney

If you’ve been the victim of a jackknifing accident, the best thing you can do is hire a trucking accident attorney. They’ll be able to help you recover losses such as medical bills or wages as a result of the accident. Whether you were injured or a loved one of someone involved in the accident, they will do everything they can to earn maximum compensation for your family.

An experienced truck accident attorney will help you build a winning case that supports you and your family’s needs. If you’re looking for legal representation, contact the Heidari Law Group for a free consultation today!