Louisville Jackknife Collision Lawyers
Were you involved in a jackknife accident involving a commercial truck? Was it due to the truck driver, trucking company, or another negligent party’s actions? Did you sustain injuries requiring emergency medical care or ongoing treatment? If so, contact Sampson Law Firm right now to speak with us about the circumstances so we can determine the options available to hold the at-fault party liable.
Jackknife truck accidents can be destructive and cause severe injuries to the occupants of smaller cars. A jackknife collision occurs when a commercial truck’s front cab and back trailer swing towards each other at an angle. It can result from the trucker making a sudden maneuver, such as slamming on the brakes or overcorrecting their steering to avoid a hazard, causing the trailer to slide across the pavement and fold into the front of the vehicle.
At Sampson Law Firm, our Louisville truck/18-wheeler accident lawyers understand the devastation that follows an accident. You might face a long road to recovery and worry about the cost of your medical bills. Many people can’t afford the expenses resulting from a collision involving a commercial truck and face significant debt. You can depend on us to fight hard for the maximum compensation possible to cover your incurred expenses.
Learn more about how we can help you after a jackknife accident by calling (502) 584-5050 or completing our online form for a free consultation.
Common Causes of Jackknife Collisions
When a truck jackknifes, it can sweep across the pavement, crashing into any vehicle that stands in its way. The trailer could end up on top of a small car, crushing the occupants inside. It can be a life-threatening situation for anyone to find themselves in, leading to debilitating injuries and even death.
The most common factors contributing to jackknife collisions include:
- Defective truck or part
- Overloaded or improperly loaded cargo
- Taking a turn too fast
- Speeding or driving too fast in poor weather or road conditions
- Failure to check blind spots before changing lanes, merging, or turning
- Steering overcorrection
- Sudden braking or maneuvering
- Distracted driving
Many times, the truck driver is responsible for causing a jackknife accident. However, there are scenarios where the trucking company could be at fault.
For example, an employer might have knowingly hired an inexperienced trucker due to a staffing shortage. Although the driver didn’t know how to operate a commercial truck safely, resulting in a collision, their employer could be liable for negligent hiring procedures.
Federal Regulations for the Trucking Industry
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, trucking companies and truck drivers must follow various regulations for the safe operation of a commercial truck. These regulations include:
- Be at least 18 years old to operate within the state or 21 years of age or older to drive beyond state lines
- Speak, read, and write English at a high enough level to understand traffic signs, maintain a driver’s log, and communicate with other people
- Hold and maintain a valid commercial driver’s license
- Complete and pass all necessary tests and certifications
- Inspect the truck at the end of each driving shift
- Drive for a maximum of eleven hours after being off duty for ten hours
- Take at least a 30-minute break after eight consecutive hours of driving
For Trucking Companies
- Provide ongoing training to all truck drivers
- Perform a complete background check, including criminal records, experience, qualifications, and prior accident reports, on new employees
- Perform random alcohol and drug testing on all truckers employed by the motor carrier
- Maintain every truck in the fleet regularly and repair damage or defects promptly
- Enforce regulations for driving limits, breaks, and off-duty hours required during every 24-hour period
- Use the correct securement systems and stay within weight and size limits when loading cargo
Violating a federal regulation can place other drivers and passengers at risk of harm. Violations can also lead to expensive fines.
Parties You Could Hold Liable for a Jackknife Collision
The truck driver isn’t the only party responsible for taking the necessary safety precautions to avoid causing an accident. Other parties could be held liable for an accident victim’s injuries if their actions contributed to the crash. These parties can include:
- Manufacturer of a defective truck part
- The company that used defective securement devices or loaded cargo over the size and weight limits
- Third-party owner of the cab or trailer for failing to perform adequate maintenance and repairs
Compensation Available for Injuries in a Jackknife Accident
The Federal Motor Carrier Administration regulates insurance requirements for trucking companies. All motor carriers operating commercial vehicles must purchase liability coverage to cover an accident victim’s injuries and losses if the trucker is at fault for a crash.
The minimum liability limits required by federal law include:
- $300,000 for trucks less than 10,001 pounds containing non-hazardous cargo
- $750,000 for trucks over 10,000 pounds transporting non-hazardous materials
- $1 million for trucks carrying oil
- $5 million for trucks transporting other hazardous freight
If the truck driver or trucking company’s action contributed to the accident, you could file a claim with their liability insurance company. The settlement you receive could compensate for a range of losses suffered from the jackknife collision, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
You might also be able to receive punitive damages. However, an award of this type is only available in a lawsuit, not an insurance claim. This is a form of compensation meant to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior in the future.
A jury will only award you punitive damages if you can prove that the at-fault party acted with fraud, malice, or oppression. Your evidence must be clear and convincing.
Let Sampson Law Firm Help You Fight for Justice
The Louisville jackknife collision lawyers of Sampson Law Firm have been fighting for accident victims since 1997. We will advocate for your rights and work hard to try to achieve your desired outcome.
You don’t have to go through this traumatic experience alone. Our legal team will be there for you every step of the way. You can count on receiving ongoing communication and support until the end.
If someone else’s negligent actions caused your injuries in a jackknife collision, call Sampson Law Firm for your free consultation at (502) 584-5050 today.