Jackknife accidents with a truck are classified as serious accidents, leaving victims with life-threatening injuries and losses. Recovering from these accidents can take extensive planning and lots of money. In times like these, it can get more stressful when recovery is needed, but finances are adding up.
A Charleston truck accident lawyer can be of great assistance following an accident. These dangerous accidents will likely require recovering compensation for the damages they cause. A Charleston jackknife truck accident lawyer from Shelly Leeke Law Firm is ready to stand up for those victims of truck accidents and will do what is needed to recover the proper compensation owed.
Damages that May Be Collected Following a Jackknife Accident
Due to the severity of accidents involving trucks, victims typically face many losses, including financial losses and property damages. Luckily, there are common recoverable damages that victims can work towards recovering with the help of a personal injury lawyer in Charleston, such as:
- Medical bills and expenses
- Vehicle damages
- Property repairs
- Loss of income
- Ongoing therapy or rehabilitation
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life
In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded to the victim. These damages are awarded solely to punish the negligent parties in hopes of deterring the same actions from being committed again. For example, if a trucking company fails to perform maintenance checks, gross negligence may be determined. By awarding the victim with punitive damages, the trucking company may pay thousands on top of the recovered losses.
Defining Jackknife Truck Accidents and Their Causes
A jackknife accident occurs when a semi-truck or tractor-trailer overcompensates for the load behind when turning, and the tractor and trailer are next to each other in such a way that nothing can be done. Simply put, when the trailer of a larger semi-truck pushes the front towing vehicle to one side, forming a V. There are a few causes that could allow a jackknife truck accident to occur:
- Lack of driver attention: A common cause of jackknife accidents is driver inattention. When a driver tries to overcorrect a situation or a simple turn, this can happen due to not focusing enough on the road, or allowing ample space.
- Poor vehicle maintenance: If trucks are not properly maintained, this could cause accidents. Inadequate maintenance, brake issues, or bad tires could put a truck at risk for a jackknife accident.
- Unsafe driving: If a driver is operating their truck exceeding the speeds recommended, common outcomes could be jackknife accidents. High speeds will reduce the driver’s ability to react quickly, which will then make it more difficult to control their trucks.
- Fast turning speeds: When a truck driver takes turns faster than they should or faces sharp turns in the road, a truck’s trailer can swing outward, fully causing a jackknife accident.
- Sudden braking: This might not be solely due to the truck driver, but needing to brake quickly on the road, can cause the truck’s trailer to swing around and force a jackknife accident. The sudden change in the momentum of trucks leads to dangerous accidents where the trailer surpasses the towing vehicle.
Parties Held Responsible for Trucking Accidents
The trucking industry is one that’s heavily regulated, which means that state and federal laws will dictate all specifics throughout the industry. Training of staff, truck maintenance, driver health, and road behavior all have specific laws and regulations that start at the federal level. This is why determining negligence for a jackknife truck accident can get tricky.
The Truck Driver
In most cases, the truck driver is the party that will be held liable every time. Ultimately, the truck driver is responsible for his or her actions on the road and should be properly trained to handle any situation that occurs.
The Trucking Company
On the other hand, the specific trucking company can be held responsible for these accidents. If companies delay routine maintenance or don’t keep up with the trucks to regulated standards, then they can be at fault for an accident if a driver loses control. On top of this, companies will sometimes set overly ambitious deadlines or delivery locations for truck drivers.
This causes driver fatigue or other wear and tear on vehicles. Over time, this can lead to accidents. However, commercial trucking companies have their backs covered heavily. The assistance of a jackknife truck attorney in Charleston may be needed.
The Trucks Manufacturer
If the trucking company is up to date with all routine checks and follows the regulations established, then the truck manufacturer may be held accountable. If a mechanical or structural failure occurs while on the road, serious accidents occur. A common manufacturer issue is a brake failure, which puts everyone on the road at risk.
Proving Fault in a Jackknife Truck Accident
There are a few elements that should be looked at when it comes to proving fault and responsibility in a jackknife truck accident. Many victims may be seriously injured and face high amounts of losses. With the help of a jackknife truck accident lawyer in Charleston, the following can be looked at to determine fault:
- A duty of care was assumed: This common law, the duty of care, is put in place for all to follow. This rule states that all those operating vehicles must act reasonably, follow all laws, and make proper decisions so as not to put others at risk.
- A breach in their duty of care: Any of the above parties who could be at fault must have acted recklessly or carelessly, putting others at risk. Did the driver speed well over the given limits causing an accident? Or did the trucking company miss some routine checks, putting everyone on the road at risk?
- Causation: A direct link between negligence and an accident must be clearly proven. If you were a victim in an accident due to someone’s negligence, you must be hurt and face some sort of damages. Ultimately, if everyone on the road followed their duty of care, the accident wouldn’t have occurred, and you wouldn’t have been injured.
- Damages: Losses, injuries, and damages must have occurred, and they must be documented. If there are no serious injuries or damages that will require compensation, you won’t be able to move forward with a legal claim.
In some cases, crucial evidence may be lost when the trucks are repaired and sent back on the road. A truck’s GPS information, black box, and the physical damage to the vehicle may be lost in the restoration. If you involve a jackknife truck accident attorney in Charleston immediately, they may be able to protect critical evidence that helps establish fault.
Speak to a Charleston Jackknife Truck Accident Attorney Today
If you were seriously injured and faced losses following a jackknife truck accident, the legal team at Shelly Leeke Law Firm is ready to represent you. By giving us a call, we schedule your free consultation as soon as possible. In this consultation, we will better get to know your accident, your injuries, and the specifics to determine the best course of legal action, so that your rights are always upheld.