A jackknife accident involving a tractor-trailer can leave you with significant damages. Severe injuries, missed time from work, or the death of a loved one can forever change your life.
If the careless actions of a commercial truck driver left you with medical costs and emotional, psychological, and physical scars, a lawyer could help you.
Hiring a personal injury or wrongful death lawyer takes the management of your case off your shoulders. Consider reaching out to an experienced civil lawyer today.
How Jackknife Accidents Occur
A jackknife accident occurs when the semi-truck cab and the trailer swivel and fold in on one another. Among the most common reasons for this type of accident is braking.
Sudden braking, especially at high speeds, can cause jackknifing to occur. The force of the brakes leaves the trailer with nowhere to go other than to swing outward and toward the cab. This action can result in significant destruction for anyone in the trailer’s path.
Poor brakes can contribute to an especially tragic jackknife accident.
In addition to braking, a jackknife accident can occur due to:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Aggressive driving
- Drowsy driving
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the trucking industry by setting strict rules regarding safety.
A jackknife accident happens suddenly, leaving other road users with little to no opportunity to escape harm. A split-second accident with catastrophic results demands accountability. If you or a loved one suffered severe harm due to the negligent actions of a commercial truck driver, an attorney can help you fight for justice.
Jackknife Accidents and Your Injuries
If you or a loved one just suffered severe injuries in a jackknife accident, the medical bills are only beginning to arrive. You cannot predict complications and your future medical needs. Fighting for the best compensation possible now is essential for safeguarding your future.
Catastrophic injuries can impact your relationships, your career, and your hobbies.
Your lawyer can help you fight for justice and compensation for such injuries as:
- Paralysis: A spinal cord injury can result in partial or complete paralysis. Power chairs, home modifications, and other needs can cost millions throughout a patient’s lifetime.
- Severe brain injury: A traumatic brain injury (TBI) due to a jackknife accident can result in extreme changes to brain function. A loved one who experiences a severe TBI may exhibit changes in behavior and emotions. These changes are hard to witness as you search for help with your loved one’s care.
- Bone fractures: Depending upon the type of break, you may face multiple surgeries or possible amputation. Bone fractures can require a long recovery, resulting in significant time missed from work.
- Burns: A jackknife accident involving flammable materials can result in painful burns. Treatment at a burn treatment center can involve plastic surgery and painful skin grafts.
- Internal bleeding: Internal bleeding is dangerous and requires immediate medical care. Because it is an injury that typically exhibits no visible symptoms, accident victims must seek medical attention—regardless of how they feel.
Your jackknife injuries demand your full attention and focus. If you or your loved one face a long recovery or permanent damage, consider hiring an attorney to manage your civil case. The faster you contact an attorney, the sooner they can get to work for you.
The Trucking Industry and Insurance Companies
The trucking industry generates billions of dollars in revenue and carries insurance that protects their best interests. For example, when a severe accident occurs involving a trucking company’s driver and truck, the company relies upon its insurance carrier to fight civil claims on their behalf.
High-pressure tactics by insurance adjusters who represent trucking companies can confuse accident victims. Such tactics typically include convincing accident victims to agree to a settlement before the victim has an opportunity to contact an attorney.
When accident victims feel most overwhelmed, a settlement offer may seem like the answer to their situation. With medical bills arriving almost every day and a loss of income, some accident victims may feel they have no choice but to accept a settlement offer. After all, the offer may seem like enough money to ease the victim’s financial stress.
The reality is that most initial settlement offers are not enough money to carry you through your uncertain future. The changes to your life are new and just beginning. You need a truck accident lawyer, working with your doctor, to estimate your future medical needs, should your injuries worsen.
The trucking company and its insurance representatives generally seek to pay as little as possible in civil cases. However, a low-sum settlement is unacceptable when you suffer severe and possibly preventable injuries.
Accepting a settlement closes your claim and prevents you from pursuing future legal action. Before you sign or agree to a settlement with an insurance company, consider contacting a personal injury lawyer for help.
How You Can Help Your Lawyer
Your lawyer needs access to your medical reports and bills. Providing your lawyer with as much information as soon as possible can help them prepare for negotiations and a possible trial.
In addition to information regarding your injuries, your lawyer may need the following:
- Contact information for eyewitnesses: phone numbers for anyone who witnessed the accident
- Photographs and video of the accident scene: smartphone images or video captured by you or witnesses
- Official police report: a police report detailing the accident
The police report contains a wealth of information, including whether the responding officer charged the truck driver with a violation or crime. Drunk driving, speeding, or another type of charge may make the driver liable for your damages.
Understanding how to interpret evidence is a crucial skill that an experienced lawyer brings to your case. In addition, a civil attorney knows the necessity to apply civil law while, at the same time, providing you with care and compassion.
A lawyer will work hard on your behalf, and you can help them get started by providing as much information as possible—as soon as possible.
Fatal Jack Knife Accidents
The loss of a loved one due to a jackknife accident can devastate you. The permanent loss of your loved one can leave you with a broken heart and financial stress. If your loved one contributed to your household income, the loss of financial contribution can leave you feeling anxious.
A wrongful death claim and lawsuit are sometimes possible, depending upon your relationship with the decedent. Surviving spouses, children, and parents are among the key qualifiers for pursuing compensation. If you are uncertain if your relationship qualifies you for legal action, a free case consultation can help you learn if you are eligible and, if so, how to proceed.
Like personal injury claims and lawsuits, wrongful death cases are bound by a statute of limitations.
Once you file your lawsuit, your attorney may pursue compensation for:
- Final medical bills: any medical bills relating to your loved one’s injuries
- Lost income: The income lost due to their death and future earnings possible, had they survived
- Loss of inheritance: any loss of inheritance for surviving children
- Loss of companionship: friendship and intimacy lost due to your loved one’s untimely death
Wrongful death cases generally involve two types of damage: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are easier to relate to an insurance company—and if necessary—to a judge and jury. These damages include fixed costs, like medical bills.
Non-economic damages are more challenging due to no fixed value. The loss of your loved one’s company is invaluable to you; assigning the loss a monetary value is where a lawyer can help your case.
The sudden loss of a loved one is a highly emotional time. It is not the time to deal with aggressive insurance adjusters pressuring you to settle your case.
Free Case Evaluations Are an Important First Step for Your Case
A free case evaluation is an essential first step to learning about your legal options. Most civil cases begin with a personal injury or wrongful death claim. The goal is to settle the claim through negotiations to avoid the time and expense of a trial.
Negotiating a settlement with an insurance company requires focus, experience, and skill. Insurance companies typically use a variety of tactics designed to delay, deny, or underpay accident claims. The trucking company and their insurance representatives will fight hard to protect profits, no matter how serious your injuries are.
Contacting a personal injury or wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible can help prevent you from falling for insurance company tactics. The trauma of the accident, along with medication and your painful injuries, can cloud your judgment. This vulnerable time is no time to make such an important financial decision without the help of a lawyer.
Can You Afford a Lawyer?
The answer is that most people cannot afford not to hire a lawyer. While thoughts of legal fees may worry you, the fact is that most civil attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This simply means that you do not owe them money unless they secure compensation for you.
The outcome of your case depends upon, or rather is contingent, on your lawyer’s success. If they cannot secure compensation for you, you do not pay their legal fees. Understanding that you do not need a retainer or down payment to hire an attorney can make reaching out to a law firm easier.
It is impossible to predict the outcome of civil cases, and no one civil case is alike. The facts regarding your jackknife accident may seem similar to another case yet differ in one crucial detail. The success of a like case does not guarantee the same outcome for your case.
A personal injury or wrongful death attorney is on your side, protecting your best interests throughout your case. In addition, allowing your attorney to manage the details of your case can ease your mind as you deal with your significant life changes.
The Best Time to Contact a Lawyer Is Now
The statute of limitations is a state law regarding the time allowed for filing a civil lawsuit. If you do not file your suit within the deadline period, you generally lose any opportunity to pursue compensation.
Your lawyer understands civil law and court deadlines. You have enough to deal with as you navigate your medical care. A lawyer can ensure your lawsuit meets all court requirements and deadlines.
Time can pass quickly as you experience treatments and procedures. If you lost a loved one, time can become a blur as you plan a funeral or memorial service. Having someone on your side can protect your best interests during this challenging time.
Missing the statute of limitations can severely impact your life. The traumatic jackknife accident you experienced causes you enough stress. A free case evaluation can help alleviate some of your stress and help you to learn more about how to move forward.
Get Help With Your Jackknife Accident Damages
Consider hiring a lawyer without delay if you suffered severe injuries or lost a loved one due to a jackknife accident. A personal injury or wrongful death lawyer can protect your best interests by holding those liable for your harm accountable for their actions.
Your case may involve the truck driver, the trucking company, or both. Civil law is complex and best left in the hands of a professional, licensed attorney. Proceeding with a civil claim and lawsuit is an intricate process. Your lawyer can keep you informed as they negotiate with the trucking company’s insurance company.
While there is no way to predict the outcome of your case, fighting for compensation is your right. Consider seeking the help you need for your jackknife accident damages by reaching out for a free case evaluation today.
Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.