Virginia jackknife accident attorneys
Helping victims of serious Virginia truck crashes
Jackknife accidents, like all trucking accidents, can be devastating. People often endure pain and suffering for years after a jackknife collision.
Jackknife refers to the trailer of an 18-wheeler swinging to the side, creating an angle with the cab of the truck, which resembles a partially opened jackknife. When this happens, the trailer can hit other vehicles on the road, or even buildings if the truck is in a residential area. Trailers are big and heavy, weighing 80,000 pounds or more. When they are out of control, no one in the vicinity is safe.
The GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys team has worked with many clients involved in trucking accidents, and we have seen the devastation firsthand. No one should have to suffer because of someone else’s negligence. That’s why we work aggressively until our clients receive the justice and compensation they deserve. While we can’t change what happened, we can at least make sure our clients live a comfortable life. If you have been the victim of a jackknife accident, contact us today at (804) 413-6777 for a FREE consultation.
Jackknife accident causes
While jackknife accidents are not as common as other types of trucking accidents, such as underrides, they can still happen fairly frequently and easily. They usually occur when the driver loses control of the trailer, as the wheels lose contact or friction with the road. This is why the trailer will then swing out to the side. Scenarios that can cause that loss of contact include:
- Aggressive driving
- Malfunctioning auto parts
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Sharply curved roads
- Excessive speeding
- An inexperienced driver
- Wet or icy roads
No matter the reason for the jackknife, the end results can be devastating. Jackknife accidents often lead to catastrophic injuries and broken bones. They can also cause extreme property damage. When filing a claim for a trucking accident, always keep in mind what types of compensation you can be awarded if you win your case.
What injuries may be caused by jackknife accidents?
When a jackknife accident happens, it may create an obstruction that blocks several lanes of traffic. This can cause a major pileup, with drivers in several cars colliding into each other at high rates of speed. These are very dangerous conditions for drivers and passengers in regular vehicles. If the jackknifed truck is a tanker truck transporting flammable contents, fire and explosions may also occur.
Jackknife accidents cause serious consequences, including:
- Severe brain injuries (TBI)
- Neck, back, and spine injuries
- Burn injuries
- Loss of limb
- Internal injuries
- Broken bones
- Hip injuries
- Wrongful death
Are jackknife accidents preventable?
Truck drivers and trucking companies can take many steps to prevent tragic jackknife accidents. One of the most important steps is hiring experienced drivers and keeping them properly trained. Although truck drivers are taught to never slam on their brakes, an inexperienced driver often panics and hit the breaks hard when another vehicle stops in front of them.
Jackknife accidents can also happen when a driver attempts to change direction too quickly, especially if the roads are slippery from ice or rain. This is something that drivers learn to avoid over time. That’s why trucking companies that try to save money by hiring inexperienced drivers are putting people and their families at risk.
Truck drivers can also prevent jackknife accidents by making sure their cargo is evenly distributed and not overloaded. It’s also important for drivers to check the condition of their tires to prevent blowouts, which can cause jackknifing.
What to do after a Virginia jackknife accident
Immediately get the appropriate medical attention after you have been in a jackknife accident. Keep records of all your surgeries, doctor’s appointments, ambulance transport, and rehabilitative care. And be sure to tell your doctor about any pain or discomfort you are experiencing as a result of the accident.
As soon as possible after the accident, contact an experienced truck accident attorney. Insurance companies are in business of making money and maximizing their profit margins; they do this by paying out as little in claims as possible. That’s why you don’t want to accept any offers from the insurance company or make any statement about the accident to an insurance agent until you have spoken with a personal injury attorney who knows how to get you the best possible settlement.
What can you recover?
You can recover two types of costs if you file a claim after a trucking accident. The first and more common is economic damages. This refers to things that have financially impacted your life, such as property damage, medical bills, and lost wages. This is usually what people assume they will receive when they file a claim.
However, what most people don’t realize is that it’s possible to receive non-economic damages. These can cover a variety of impacts to your life that aren’t directly monetary. So, you may be able to be compensated for things like emotional trauma, a lower quality of life, and pain and suffering. This means that if an accident did not cost you much financially, but did cause you a lot of pain, you may still be able to be compensated.
Liability in jackknife accidents
When it comes to jackknife truck accidents, many parties can be at fault. Because truck drivers are working when they’re on the road, rather than just traveling like most other drivers, determining liability can be more complicated. It all depends on the facts and circumstances of your case.
Truck driver: The first person our investigation will look into for liability is the truck driver. The driver may have been distracted, intoxicated, or driving aggressively. He or she also may not have paid attention to poor weather and driven on a slippery road, or may not have examined the rig properly before starting the day’s route.
Trucking company: The trucking company, or whatever company that employs the truck driver, can also be held liable under certain circumstances. Companies operate to make a profit, and that means they may cut corners when it benefits them. It isn’t uncommon for trucking companies to push their drivers to meet deadlines, even if that requires them to miss out on much needed rest or to speed through parts of their route. Businesses are also responsible for hiring responsible drivers. If it’s found that a company knowingly hired a driver with past DUIs, for example, then they can be considered responsible if that driver causes an accident.
Mechanic: Trucks require constant maintenance due to regular wear and tear from overuse. If the person responsible for the maintenance of the truck, whether that be a mechanic working at the trucking company or a third-party, neglects to fix a clear issue with the truck, and that issue is found to be part of the cause for the jackknife accident, that mechanic may be liable for your damages.
Trucking parts manufacturer: When 18-wheelers are built, or their parts are replaced during maintenance, all parts used are expected to work properly. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Sometimes manufacturers cut corners to make a greater profit. They use cheap or old materials, or don’t bother with proper testing. Whatever the cause, if a part malfunctions because the manufacturer did not make it properly, that manufacturer may be found responsible for the accident.
Road maintenance department: Because the root cause of a jackknife is a loss of control and friction between the tires and the roads, wet and icy roads pose a greater risk. Those in charge of keeping roadways safe, such as the town, city, or county where the road is located, have a responsibility to plow and salt roads after snowstorms or freezing weather, as well as make sure all roads drain properly during rainstorms. Sometimes the department in charge of maintaining proper road safety is responsible for a jackknife accident.
An excellent, empathetic approach to every case
Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. When our Virginia truck accident lawyers take on a new client, we work aggressively for them until our mission is complete, and our client is satisfied.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a jackknife accident, reach out to us at (804) 413-6777 or toll-free at (855) 781-6777. We will meet with you for free and go over all of your options with you. You won’t owe us anything unless we take and win your case.
Call our Eastern Virginia office today for a free consultation
at (804) 413-6777 or toll free (855) 781-6777.
It costs you nothing for our firm to represent you. We only get paid when you do. Learn more
Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.
- Safety Education
GibsonSingleton launches “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
- Annual Coat Drive
During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
- Hands-on Service
John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
- Supporting Local Schools
The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.