Jackknife Truck Accident Lawyer in Wheeling, WV
One thing that makes semi-trucks so dangerous on West Virginia roads is the large, heavy trailers they tow behind them. In certain circumstances, a truck’s trailer can swing to either side of the cab and begin traveling on a different trajectory, causing both the cab and trailer to sweep across the road out of control. This is known as a jackknife accident, a type of crash that can devastate anyone unfortunate enough to be nearby.
If you have been injured in a jackknife truck accident in West Virginia, contact Jividen Law Offices, PLLC right away. Our personal injury lawyers have more than 50 years of combined experience helping people who have been seriously injured in accidents caused by others. We can use that experience to help you demand as much compensation as possible for your medical expenses, lost income from missed work, and other accident-related losses. We can deal with the insurance companies while you focus on your medical treatment.
What Is Jackknifing?
Tractor trailers are extremely heavy. Improper braking or a loss of traction at high speed can cause the tractor and trailer to get out of alignment, causing the trailer to swing wide of the tractor. The trailer’s motion pivoting on the truck hitch and folding around the tractor resembles the closing of a pocket knife.
What Causes a Truck to Jackknife?
Jackknife accidents are more likely to occur when trucks are traveling at higher speeds on highways such as Interstate 70 or I-470 in West Virginia.
Some of the common causes of jackknife accidents include:
- Drivers braking improperly – Truck drivers should anticipate stops and apply the brakes gradually to allow the trailer to slow down. Sudden braking can cause the cab to slow as the momentum of the trailer continues moving forward at a higher speed. If the speed of the cab and trailer get out of alignment, it can cause a jackknife accident.
- Speeding – The faster a truck is moving, the harder the truck’s brakes have to work to slow it down, making it more likely the truck’s wheels will lock up and cause a jackknife collision.
- Distracted driving – Truck drivers need to watch what they are doing at all times because of how heavy and unwieldy semi-trucks are. A distracted truck driver might have to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting another vehicle and inadvertently cause a jackknife accident.
- Drowsy driving – There are rules regarding how much time interstate truck drivers can spend behind the wheel without stopping for a break. Not all commercial truck drivers follow these rules, however. A dangerously fatigued driver is more likely to make a mistake that causes a jackknife collision.
- Brake failures or malfunctions – A semi-truck’s weight means its brakes require more maintenance and adjustment than smaller vehicles. A truck’s brakes can fail if they are not adequately serviced. Defective brakes can make it impossible for a truck driver to maintain control, leading to a jackknife crash.
- Unqualified truck drivers – A commercial truck driver who does not have a lot of experience with tractor-trailers might not realize how difficult these vehicles are to handle safely. An unqualified or inexperienced truck driver is more likely to make an error leading to a jackknife accident.
Common Jackknife Accident Injuries
Jackknife accidents can cause serious injuries to other road users, such as:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Neck and back injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Severed, crushed, or amputated limbs
- Injuries to internal organs
- Internal bleeding
- Broken bones
- Sprains, strains, and other soft-tissue injuries
- Mental and emotional distress
Who Is Liable for a Jackknife Truck Accident?
There are multiple parties who may be at fault for a jackknife accident, either on their own or together. They include:
- The truck driver – If a truck driver’s negligent actions led to the crash, the truck driver could be liable for any injuries that you sustained. Common truck driver errors that can cause a jackknife crash include driving under the influence of alcohol, distracted driving, drowsy driving, speeding, and aggressive driving.
- The trucking company – Trucking companies are responsible for making sure their drivers are fully licensed and qualified and monitoring the actions of their drivers. If a trucking company ignored a truck driver’s unsafe driving, hired a driver without the necessary qualifications, or failed to maintain the vehicle, they could be liable for a jackknife accident. If the company directly employs the truck driver, they can be held responsible for their employee’s negligence.
- Parts manufacturers – Brake and steering system failures can cause jackknife accidents. If they failed due to a manufacturing or design defect, the company that made the defective parts can be held financially liable for a subsequent collision.
- Maintenance workers – Some trucking companies contract with a repair garage to maintain their fleet of large trucks. The business that performs maintenance on commercial trucks has a responsibility to make sure all necessary repairs are made correctly. If a jackknife accident occurred because of shoddy maintenance work, whoever was supposed to make the necessary repairs could be liable for the crash.
What Damages Can You Recover After a Jackknife Truck Collision?
A jackknife truck accident can cost you physically, emotionally, and financially.
Depending on the circumstances of the crash, you could be owed money for your:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages and reduced future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
- Damaged personal property
Contact a Jackknife Truck Accident Lawyer in Wheeling
The Wheeling jackknife truck accident attorneys at Jividen Law Offices, PLLC are ready to fight for your rights after a collision. Call us today or visit our contact page for a free, no-obligation case review.