Commercial truck accidents can manifest in several forms, including head-on crashes, rollovers, and rear-end collisions. Among these, jackknife accidents are particularly treacherous and frequent. At Spetsas Buist, we understand the destructive impact these accidents can have on victims and their families.
We serve clients in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, and our attorneys dedicate themselves to helping truck accident victims obtain compensation for their injuries. By firmly holding trucking companies and other entities accountable for their negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoings, we strive to secure justice for our clients.
Definition of a Jackknife Truck Accident
A semi-truck comprises two sections: the cab containing the engine and the driver, and the trailer housing the cargo. A "jackknife" accident occurs when the cab and trailer move in opposite directions, forming a V-shaped angle akin to a closing jackknife.
This misalignment between the cab and the trailer renders the truck uncontrollable, especially when loaded with cargo. The situation is perilous, as the moving truck can plow through and crush multiple vehicles in its path or potentially roll over, further endangering nearby vehicles.
Common Causes of Jackknife Truck Accidents
Several factors can instigate a jackknife truck accident:
- Speeding: Excessive speed heightens the risk of a jackknife accident. An oversteering or understeering driver navigating a high-speed curve may find the trailer entering a jackknife position. Speeding also contributes to a higher chance of jackknifing when braking.
- Poor Road Conditions: Wet, icy, or snowy roads increase the probability of a jackknife incident. Loss of traction on slick surfaces can cause the trailer to veer off, thus prompting a jackknife situation.
- Defective Brakes or Inadequate Brake Maintenance: Commercial trucks' braking mechanisms differ significantly from those in passenger vehicles. When a truck halts abruptly, the momentum may cause the trailer to jackknife. Poorly maintained or defective brakes can further contribute to this risk by compromising control over the truck's speed or deceleration.
Proving Fault After a Jackknife Accident
Determining fault in a jackknife accident often involves uncovering evidence of human error or negligence. This could be due to the truck driver traveling too fast, misusing brakes, or driving under the influence of fatigue, alcohol, or distractions.
Fault can also lie with the trucking company if they neglected the maintenance of the truck, particularly its brake system. Overloading the truck can also precipitate a jackknife accident, implicating the shipper or the loading company in the liability.
Identifying all liable parties in a jackknife accident is paramount. Each defendant may have a separate and substantial insurance policy. Additionally, each defendant may be held responsible for damages such as:
- Diagnosis and treatment costs for truck accident injuries;
- Past, current, and future costs for personal and long-term assisted care;
- Pain, suffering, disabilities, and permanent impairments;
- Loss of benefits and income, including future earning potential;
- Emotional distress, mental trauma, disfigurement, and scarring;
- Decreased quality of life and loss of enjoyment of life.
Steps After a Jackknife Truck Accident
Following a jackknife accident, victims often find themselves unable to accurately document the incident due to their injuries or disorientation. Common injuries include brain damage, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, broken bones, internal organ damage, amputations, severe burns and disfigurement, and back and neck injuries.
Moreover, the accident scene itself can pose significant hazards, such as explosions, fires, and dangerous debris. In such circumstances, the victim's primary action should be to seek immediate medical attention, ensuring to follow all treatment plans and attend all follow-up appointments. Any delay in medical treatment or failure to seek medical care can be exploited by the liable parties to undervalue your claim.
When able, reach out to an experienced truck accident lawyer. Cases involving truck accidents are among the most complex motor vehicle accident claims. These cases often involve federal agencies, insurance companies, and private accident investigators. It is crucial to act quickly to prevent the loss or destruction of vital evidence.
At this firm, we understand the procedures necessary to gather evidence that proves fault and liability. As you focus on your recovery, we concentrate on securing the evidence necessary to achieve the compensation you deserve.
Do You Need to Speak to a Florida Semi Truck Accident Attorney?
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in an accident involving a semi truck, 18-wheeler, tractor trailer, or any other commercial vehicle, you should speak with a skilled, experienced, and aggressive Florida truck accident lawyer as soon as possible because you may be entitled to compensation. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on our website, or you can call our Orlando, Florida personal injury law firm today at (321) 352-7588 to schedule your free consultation by phone. When you schedule a consultation at our law firm, you will get a consultation with a truck accident lawyer, not a customer service representative or intake person.
If you need a South Carolina personal injury lawyer, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (843) 638-6590. We have at least one lawyer licensed in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. So, if you’ve been injured in the Southeast, we may be able to help you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
For more information on truck accidents, you can download our free e-book: 10 BIG Questions You Need Answered After a Truck Accident.