Philadelphia Jackknife Accident Lawyers
Semi-truck accidents can leave crash victims with serious injuries and catastrophic losses. Of all the different types of 18-wheeler accidents, jackknife accidents are among the most dangerous, because a jackknifing truck means that the truck driver has lost control of the vehicle. An out-of-control commercial truck can affect nearly every other nearby vehicle on the road, leading to serious injuries and damages for occupants of multiple vehicles.
If you or a loved one has been severely injured in a crash caused by a jackknifing truck, schedule a free consultation to learn more about your legal rights and options. Our experienced attorneys have the skills and the resources to take on deep-pocketed trucking companies and insurance companies. Let us help you during this difficult time.
What Is a Jackknife Accident?
A jackknife accident occurs when an articulated vehicle, such as an 18-wheeler, folds in such a way that the cab of the truck shifts backward at an acute angle, resembling the folding motion of a pocket knife.
What Causes a Truck to Jackknife?
Trucks can jackknife several different ways including:
- Improper braking
- Heavy rain or snow and ice, leading to slippery road conditions
- Taking a turn too quickly
- High winds
- Improperly loaded or secured cargo, or an overloaded trailer
- Driver error
- Coupling device failure
- Brake failure
- Improper maintenance of the vehicle
Inexperienced and untrained truck drivers are more likely to cause a jackknife accident, especially when they do not know how to properly control an 18-wheeler in tight maneuvering situations.
In addition, improper maintenance of a truck and trailer, negligence in loading, and defective parts can all lead to a catastrophic crash.
Proving Fault After a Jackknife Accident
Following a jackknife accident, there may be several pieces of evidence that can show that the crash was caused by the negligence or recklessness of the truck driver, trucking company, and/or other parties. Evidence may include:
- The truck driver’s logs: Truck drivers are limited by state and federal law in the number of hours they may drive in a certain period. When drivers exceed these limits, usually to meet strict delivery schedules, they can become fatigued behind the wheel. A tired truck driver poses a greater risk of making an error behind the wheel that can lead to a jackknife accident.
- The truck driver’s toxicology report: When a truck accident leads to serious property damage, personal injury, or death, the truck driver may be required to take a blood test. If a truck driver was intoxicated behind the wheel, the driver’s impaired judgment and reduced reaction times can easily cause a jackknife accident.
- The truck’s “black box” data: Many 18-wheelers are equipped with a “black box” system that records data such as the truck’s position, speed, and steering, acceleration, and braking inputs. If this data is available, it can show whether the truck driver made inputs that led to a jackknifing.
- The load manifest: Jackknife accidents can be caused when a truck’s cargo is improperly loaded or secured, or when the truck is loaded beyond its hauling capacity. The load manifest can show whether an improper cargo load may have contributed to the jackknife accident.
- The truck’s maintenance logs: A jackknife accident may also be caused by a failure of some part or system in the truck, which itself may have arisen due to improper or inadequate maintenance. Maintenance logs can show whether the truck was properly maintained.
Evidence of fault in an accident can point to one or more parties, including the truck driver, the trucking company, the freight company that loaded the trailer, the mechanic responsible for the truck’s maintenance, or the truck’s manufacturer.
Compensation for Damages
After you’ve been injured in an 18-wheeler accident, such as a jackknife accident, you may be entitled to compensation for current and future damages, including:
- Past and future medical expenses, including hospital bills, doctor’s office visits, prescription medication, physical rehab, medical and mobility equipment, and even renovations to your home, office, or vehicle to accommodate disabilities caused by your injuries
- Lost wages, for time you miss from work while recovering from injuries
- Lost earning capacity, if your injuries prevent you from returning to your old job and you suffer a reduction in your income as a result
- Lost quality of life, including physical disfigurement, disability, or inability to participate in activities you previously enjoyed
- Pain and suffering, or the physical and emotional distress and anguish brought about by your injuries
- Property damage, such as the cost to repair damage to your vehicle, or the value of your vehicle if it was totaled in the accident.
How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
After a serious crash, a truck accident lawyer can help you and your family pursue a legal claim for compensation for your injuries and damages by:
- Thoroughly investigating your accident
- Securing critical evidence from the trucking companies
- Working with experts to develop a strong legal case
- Documenting the full extent of your damages
- Preparing to take your case to court and advocating on your behalf for a verdict in your favor
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck jackknife accident, contact Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., to schedule a free case review today. One of our experienced attorneys will meet with you to discuss the details of your case and explain more about how our firm can help you pursue the recovery you need and deserve. Call us today or reach us online.