A jackknife truck accident occurs when the trailer of a large truck skids out of its lane and up toward one side of the cab, forming an angle much like that of a folding pocketknife.
A jackknifing trailer can easily sweep across multiple lanes and collide with other vehicles. Cargo may spill out of the trailer and cause additional damage. If the driver cannot regain control of the vehicle, the truck could roll over, causing more destruction and injuries.
If you were involved in a Florence jackknife truck accident caused by someone else’s negligence, the knowledgeable attorneys at Jebaily Law Firm want to help you seek fair compensation for your losses. We know first-hand the challenges you likely face following a severe crash. We care about your recovery, and we’ll leverage our 100 years of combined legal experience to advocate skillfully and aggressively for your rights and help you get your life back.
Contact us today to discuss the details of your jackknife accident case in a free initial consultation.
Why You Need a Lawyer After a Jackknife Truck Accident
If you were involved in a jackknife truck accident in Florence, South Carolina, you may be tempted to allow the insurance companies to handle everything. However, you’re better off working with an experienced attorney because:
- A lawyer can explain your rights and the South Carolina trucking laws that apply to your case.
- A lawyer can communicate with trucking industry representatives, insurance representatives, and other attorneys on your behalf.
- A lawyer can investigate the truck accident, uncover useful evidence, and work with experts who can provide professional insight into the causes and effects of the accident.
- A lawyer can negotiate aggressively for an appropriate settlement and, if necessary, take the case to court to pursue full and fair compensation for your losses.
What Causes a Truck to Jackknife
In most cases, trucks jackknife when the cab of the truck slows down too abruptly. The trailer’s momentum keeps it moving quickly, and the trailer pivots too far to one side of the truck as a result.
Many jackknife accidents occur when truck drivers make sudden changes in speed, take turns or downhill roads too quickly, or lose control due to a part failure or poor road conditions.
Injuries Associated with Florence Jackknife Truck Accidents
Jackknife truck accidents often result in serious and potentially life-altering injuries such as:
- Skull and jaw fractures and dental trauma
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Concussions and permanent brain damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Partial or total paralysis
- Scarring and permanent physical disability
- Surgical or traumatic limb amputations
- Dislocated, fractured, or shattered bones
- Abdominal injuries and internal bleeding
- Heat, friction, or chemical burns
- Whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Other emotional and psychological injuries
- Wrongful death of driver or passengers
Causes of Jackknife Truck Accidents in Florence
Some of the most frequent causes of jackknife truck accidents include:
- Distracted driving – Distracted truck drivers are more likely to overlook changes in traffic flow, important road signs, or upcoming turns. When distracted truckers fail to react in time or react too sharply by braking and steering abruptly, they are more likely to lose control and jackknife.
- Drowsy driving – Many commercial drivers work long, irregular hours and suffer from chronic fatigue. Tired truck drivers are more likely to drift or nod off at the wheel and lose control of their vehicles.
- Driving under the influence – When commercial drivers are drunk or high behind the wheel, they may cause jackknife accidents when they misjudge distances, overlook other road users, or fail to react in time.
- Reckless driving – Drivers who engage in reckless driving behaviors such as speeding, lane weaving, or tailgating frequently create driving conditions that contribute to jackknife accidents.
- Driving errors – Poorly-trained or inexperienced truck drivers are more likely to commit driving errors, such as following too closely, making abrupt turns, overcorrecting, or failing to yield the right of way, any of which may contribute to jackknifing.
- Defective truck parts – When faulty brakes, steering systems, or tires fail on the road, truck drivers can lose control and jackknife.
- Improper cargo loading – When the cargo in a truck’s trailer is overloaded, imbalanced, or improperly secured, the truck will generally have less traction, and its center of gravity may shift wildly in transit. These conditions significantly increase the likelihood of jackknifing.
- Poor road conditions – Dangerous roads with large potholes, inadequate drainage, or missing signs may contribute to loss-of-control truck accidents that end in jackknifing.
Finding Out Who Is Responsible for Florence Jackknife Truck Accidents
Truck accident injury claims are particularly complex because more than one party is often liable for the injuries and losses that result. Responsible parties may include:
- The truck driver – In most jackknife truck accidents, the truck driver is at least partially responsible. Fatigue, impairment, distraction, as well as speeding and other dangerous behaviors, could cause an accident or prevent the truck driver from reacting safely to a hazard.
- The trucking company – The trucking company that hires the driver may bear responsibility if it failed to properly screen or train the driver or if its policies encourage unsafe driving practices. If the driver is an employee, the trucking company could be held vicariously liable for the trucker’s negligence.
- The truck owner – Often, the owner of a truck is different from the driver or trucking company. The truck owner involved in a jackknife accident might be liable if they were negligent in maintaining or repairing the truck or knowingly allowed an unqualified person to operate their vehicle.
- The cargo loading company – Cargo loading teams or companies may be partially at fault for jackknife accidents if they overload trucks with too much cargo or fail to balance or secure trucks’ cargo properly.
- A truck repair technician or facility – Repair technicians or facilities that work on large trucks may be liable if they fail to properly inspect, address, or repair critical truck components, systems, or defects.
- A truck parts manufacturer – When a defective truck component fails and contributes to a jackknife accident, the manufacturer may be at fault if it was negligent in the design, manufacture, or distribution of the faulty part.
- A government agency – If poor road conditions contribute to a jackknife truck accident, the government agency responsible for maintaining the road may bear liability. Filing claims against government agencies can be tricky. If you suspect you have such a claim, it’s in your best interest to consult an attorney as soon as possible.
Statute of Limitations in a Jackknife Truck Accident Case
After a Florence jackknife truck accident, South Carolina’s statute of limitations law gives you just three years from the date of the accident to file an injury lawsuit. This three-year deadline can approach more quickly than you might think, but a trusted and experienced attorney can help you file an error-free and timely claim.
Talk to a Jackknife Truck Accident Lawyer Now
If you were injured in a jackknife truck accident, you deserve a dedicated attorney who can support you through every stage of your claim. Contact the Jebaily Law Firm today to learn more about your options for recovery in a free initial case review.