Truck accidents are devastating. Their increased weight and size mean that a minor fender bender can quickly turn life-altering or even lethal. When a large truck jackknifes, this becomes a much scarier situation.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, it is crucial to contact an experienced South Carolina jackknife truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Our team at Shelly Leeke Law Firm can assist. One of our experienced South Carolina truck accident lawyers can help navigate the particular needs of a successful truck accident case.
Jackknife Truck Accident Claims Can Be Challenging
When dealing with a truck accident case, you and your attorney are frequently working against a very well-funded team of lawyers and investigators with the trucking company. They have teams ready to come in immediately after an accident to build their case, denying liability or attempting to allocate fault to you. Contacting a personal injury lawyer in South Carolina right away can get the process started in securing and preserving valuable evidence for your case.
These are some of the intricacies of a truck accident that make it different from a typical car accident involving personal vehicles. This includes the number of parties that might be responsible. Many people are involved in the safe functioning and operation of an 18-wheeler.
Drivers of 18-wheelers are held to strict standards by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This includes limits on driving times, the time required to rest, and how they spend their ‘off’ time. Truckers must keep detailed logs of this information, and the trucks carry logs of run time and distance as well.
Points of Liability
When investigating the causes of an accident, one of our attorneys will likely want to explore all avenues of liability diligently. Typically, the employer insurance will be the first to pay out for any claims. However, they may not have adequate insurance to fairly compensate you for your current or future medical bills or emotional pain and suffering.
To appropriately determine liability, one of our South Carolina jackknife truck accident attorneys might investigate:
- Employee Records
- Driver History
- Driver Logs
- Truck Data
- Maintenance Logs
Other factors to consider are how the truck was loaded and the weather conditions. These can contribute to accidents like jackknife accidents that can quickly cause more than the typical injuries in both volume and severity. This may also inform the driver’s degree of liability.
Jackknife Truck Accidents
A jackknife truck accident happens when the truck’s cab becomes misaligned with the cargo hold, making a 90-degree angle folding up like a knife. This can happen for several reasons. Some may be due to negligence, but others may be out of anyone’s control.
The causes of a truck jackknifing can be various things, most of which can be planned for with routes or loads being adjusted appropriately.
- Improper turns or turning too quickly
- Improper braking
- Weather conditions
- Poorly loaded or empty trailer
- Improper maintenance
Many of these come down to driver knowledge and experience, but some can be due to the trucking company or mechanics’ negligence.
Jackknife accidents can end up being more devastating because it means that the truck trailer is out of control of the driver. Even if they are aware that they will hit something, there is not much they can do to prevent it once it happens. An 18-wheeler trailer can span several lanes of traffic, hitting multiple cars, or even come off the road and hit pedestrians or cyclists.
Comparative Negligence and Statute of Limitations
Ideally, you should contact an attorney immediately. However, if you are concerned with your role in the accident and that has caused a delay in getting an attorney, you may still be able to recoup some of the compensation you are due. South Carolina has a three-year statute of limitations on a personal injury claim and comparative negligence laws.
Collecting and preserving crucial evidence is easiest as soon as the accident occurs. However, legally, you can make a personal injury claim as long as it is within three years of the date of the accident. You can speak with one of our team to see if you may still be eligible to claim your compensation.
Comparative negligence laws can also work in your favor because they state that you are eligible for compensation if you are 50% or less responsible. Your liability will reduce your awarded compensation, meaning that if you were found 15% at fault because you were speeding, but the truck is 85% responsible, you are awarded $100,000.00. You would see that amount reduced by 15% (your liability) and receive $85,000.
Damages someone might be eligible for can vary significantly depending on the case. You and your lawyer will determine what is best for you. Some things they may discuss pursuing on your behalf would be economic and non-economic damages and, in extreme cases, wrongful death.
A spouse or next of kin can make a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased. These funds can be used to cover medical or funeral costs or preserve quality of life by compensating for loss of income. This can also go to domestic support services that the deceased may have been primarily responsible for in the home.
Economic and Non-Economic Damages
Economic damages apply to more quantifiable monetary losses due to the accident. These include medical bills, replacement of property damaged in the accident, or lost wages. Your lawyer can work with you to determine an appropriate amount.
Non-economic damages apply to less tangible costs. This will be things like loss of quality of life, loss of earning potential, or general pain and suffering. These might be pursued if you are unable to continue your current job due to your injuries or if you are experiencing additional stress or anxiety because of the accident.
Reach Out to a Jackknife Truck Accident Attorney in South Carolina
If you have sustained significant injuries in a jackknife truck accident, you should reach out to our jackknife truck accident attorney in South Carolina. We know how stressful recovering from injuries can be. You deserve to focus on you while we build your case.
Don’t let concern for finances hold you back. We work on a contingency-based fee system, meaning you don’t owe us anything unless we secure compensation. Your best chance of receiving maximum compensation is to schedule one of our free case consults immediately.