If you've been harmed in a jackknife truck accident, you deserve justice and fair compensation for your injuries and damages. Take action today by contacting Burg Simpson today for a free consultation.
As a jackknife truck accident victim, you know how devastating these incidents truly are. The sudden loss of control as the truck's trailer swings out to form a V-shape can lead to catastrophic consequences for all other vehicles on the road as well as pedestrians nearby.
Physically, jackknife truck accidents can result in serious injuries, from broken bones to traumatic brain injuries. Emotionally, trauma is also common, with the injured often experiencing anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following the accident.
The financial impact can be just as significant, with medical bills, lost wages, and vehicle repairs all adding up quickly. It's common for victims to get swamped with mounting debt and financial stress due to the accident.
If you were in a jackknife truck accident, seek legal representation from a trusted jackknife truck accident lawyer. At Burg Simpson, we understand truck accident cases thoroughly and have a history of success in representing our clients who have sustained injuries in these types of accidents. Our attorneys will vigorously protect your rights and assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve. Don't suffer in silence. Contact us today for a free consultation.
A jackknife truck crash occurs when a large truck, such as an 18-wheeler or semi-truck, loses control and its trailer swings around to form a "V" shape with the tractor unit. This accident's name comes from the folding motion of a jackknife blade, which closely resembles the contorted position a truck takes during this event.
According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 4,415 large trucks were involved in jackknife crashes, with 445 of those crashes resulting in fatalities or injuries in one recent year alone.
A bustling highway of vehicles can become the scene of a catastrophic accident in the blink of an eye when an 18-wheeler or truck jackknifes out. Understanding the common causes behind these accidents can help improve safety measures to prevent further tragedies.
When a truck driver slams on the brakes too quickly, it can cause the trailer to swing out of control and create that dangerous "V" shape with the truck. Many factors can lead to sudden braking, including distracted driving, falling asleep and then waking up suddenly, following other vehicles too closely, or failing to adjust speed based on road conditions.
Sharp turns can also occur when drivers take corners too quickly. Sharp turns are particularly hazardous on highways with multiple lanes where other vehicles may pass by the large truck.
By speeding, a driver increases the likelihood of losing control in adverse weather conditions, or during sharp turns and sudden stops. According to an Institute for Dafer Trucking 2009-2019 FARS report, large truck crash fatalities increased by 50 percent during that period. This statistic is alarming, given that large trucks weigh up to 80,000 pounds.
Unsafe road conditions include slippery surfaces, potholes, uneven pavement, and construction zones. When the road surface is slick or uneven, it becomes more challenging for truck drivers to maintain control of their vehicles. In addition to causing jackknife accidents, poor road conditions can also lead to other types of trucking accidents, such as rollovers and collisions.
Faulty brakes, tires, or other vehicle components can all cause a driver to lose control of their rig and end up in a jackknife position. When this happens, the trucking company or the equipment manufacturer may be liable for injuries or damages.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has Hours of Service regulations requiring drivers to take 30-minute breaks and 60/70-hour driving limits per week to prevent fatigue-related accidents. Fatigue can affect a driver's reaction time, attention span, and decision-making skills, making handling unexpected situations more challenging and risky.
Many trucking companies rush their drivers through training programs, failing to provide sufficient knowledge and experience to safely operate a large commercial vehicle. This lack of proper training can lead to severe consequences on the road, including loss of control over the truck or trailer, reckless driving, speeding, and more.
Jackknife truck accidents can profoundly negatively impact those involved. The sudden loss of control as the truck's trailer swings out to form a V-shape can lead to severe injuries for nearby motorists. These potentially life-changing afflictions include:
Crush Injuries - Crush injuries occur when something is pressed between two surfaces with extreme force, causing severe damage to the affected area. In the context of a jackknife accident, passengers in other vehicles can suffer crush injuries if the weight and momentum of the tractor-trailer crush their car. This accident can result in debilitating injuries such as broken bones and internal organ trauma.
Traumatic Brain Injuries - A TBI occurs when a sudden impact often causes significant damage or trauma to the brain. Symptoms of TBI can vary greatly but may include headaches, dizziness, confusion, memory loss, a coma, or even death. Sometimes, symptoms may not appear instantly and could take days or weeks to show up.
Spinal Cord Damage - The spinal cord is an essential part of the central nervous system and is crucial in transmitting messages from the brain to other body parts. Severe physical and neurological damage can occur when it is damaged or severed. Some spinal cord injury victims may experience partial or complete paralysis, loss of sensation or control over muscles, and chronic pain.
Bone Fractures - Broken bones are more common in passenger cars that collide with large trucks because the impact force is more significant. These injuries can limit a person's mobility and their ability to perform daily activities independently.
Internal Organ Damage - Internal injuries refer to damage to organs and tissues inside the body, which can often go unnoticed immediately following an accident. These injuries may include internal bleeding, organ damage, and fractures in bones near vital organs.
Mental Anguish - The fear and stress of being involved in such a devastating accident can lead to anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health issues.
The liable party may include the truck driver, the trucking company, manufacturers of the vehicle or equipment, or even third parties such as other drivers on the road. Here are some commonly seen liable parties in jackknife accidents that our lawyers have handled:
Careless Truck Drivers - Negligent behavior can include driving while intoxicated, speeding, and distracted or drowsy driving.
Truck Company - If the company failed to train their drivers properly or didn't maintain their trucks regularly, they may be found negligent in court.
Manufacturers - Vehicle and equipment manufacturers could be liable in jackknife truck accidents if a defective part or component caused the accident. For example, faulty brakes or steering mechanisms can cause a driver to lose control of the truck and lead to a jackknife accident.
Government Entities - If a government agency's failure to maintain proper road conditions or the lack of adequate signage contributes to the jackknife crash, the agency could be liable.
Several parties can potentially sue for damages if a person dies in a fatal jackknife truck accident.
Family members - If a person was killed in a jackknife accident, their immediate family may bring a lawsuit, including their spouse and children. If the deceased was the primary provider for their family, it is highly advisable that their family file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek compensation for lost income, medical expenses, and funeral costs. There are generally rules and regulations that vary from state to state which govern who can file the lawsuit on behalf of the deceased family member, so check with our jackknife accidents lawyers at Burg Simpson to see who is eligible to file in your family’s situation.
Estate - Another party that could bring legal action is the deceased person's estate. The settlement funds would go to the estate to be distributed according to the will the person left behind or however the judge dictates it to be distributed in the case of no will.
Seeking Damages After a Collision With a Jackknifing Tractor-Trailer
A collision with a jackknifed tractor-trailer is a terrible and life altering experience. If you experienced this, you are likely eligible to receive financial compensation to help you recover from your injuries and losses. These damages include:
Keep in mind, you only have a limited amount of time to bring a lawsuit, so don’t waste time seeking legal representation to ensure you file before your statute expires.
The statute of limitations refers to the legal time limit within which you can file a lawsuit for your injuries and damages sustained in the accident. In most states, this timeframe starts usually from the accident date, or sometimes when you discover the injury if it is not immediately apparent after the accident.
The time window to file a personal injury lawsuit varies among states. For example, if you were injured in a jackknife truck accident and live in California, you would have two years from the incident date to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. However, the statute of limitations is four years in Florida.
An insurance company will often try to settle for the lowest amount possible, which may not cover all of your expenses related to the accident. Once you accept an offer, you cannot return and ask for more money later.
Remember that jackknife accidents can result in serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation. You deserve fair compensation for all these costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering from the accident. Don't sell yourself short by accepting any offers too quickly.
Before accepting any settlement from an insurance company, consult a personal injury lawyer who can help assess whether or not the offer is fair and reasonable based on your situation. They can also help negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf so that you receive the maximum that you deserve.
After a truck accident, seek the assistance of a competent lawyer who can advocate on your behalf and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Here are some key factors to consider when choosing a truck accident lawyer:
A skilled attorney will assess your case and gather evidence to determine liability. They will also consult with expert witnesses, investigate potential violations of state or federal regulations, and negotiate aggressively with insurance companies on your behalf.
A jackknife truck accident attorney can help you recover damages for the following:
With multiple parties potentially liable in these cases, including drivers, trucking companies, vehicle manufacturers, or third-party drivers, an experienced truck accident attorney knows how to handle multi-defendant litigation involving accidents between semi-trucks and passenger vehicles.
At Burg Simpson, our team of experienced truck accident attorneys understands the complexities of these jackknife cases. We can help ensure you receive fair compensation for all of your injuries and losses.
Our 40-plus years of representing truck accident victims give us valuable insight into all legal, medical, and financial implications of such accidents. We will investigate every aspect of your case, from determining liability to assessing damages.
We understand that these semi-truck accidents are traumatic and stressful for victims and their families. That's why we always prioritize clear communication with our clients, while working towards obtaining maximum compensation for all damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and future costs associated with rehabilitation.