What Do I Do After a Jackknife Truck Accident?
A tractor-trailer or big rig has two separate parts: a cab where the driver sits and operates the vehicle and a trailer that holds cargo. Due to the separated nature of these large vehicles, sometimes the trailer will swing out to one side of the cab, forming an “L” or “V” shape as it continues with forward momentum. This can cause a devastating accident across multiple lanes of traffic. If you or a loved one ever suffer injuries in a jackknifing truck accident, you should have some idea of what to expect from a legal standpoint.
Keep Personal Safety a Top Priority
Accidents involving large commercial vehicles have a very high chance of causing traumatic or fatal injuries to other drivers. If you experience a crash, check yourself and your passengers for injuries and wait for paramedics to arrive if you cannot move or suffered any kind of serious injury.
If possible, take pictures of your injuries, the damage to your vehicle, and the accident scene for use in a future lawsuit. The physical evidence from the scene of the accident will not last long, as once the police arrive to assess the situation and make a report, they will clear it away to restore the flow of traffic.
When the police arrive, they will interview everyone involved in the accident and paramedics will transport injured victims to the nearest hospital for medical treatment. When speaking with the police, answer all their questions honestly and concisely, but do not admit fault in any way.
Even seemingly innocent phrases like “I’m sorry,” are open to misinterpretation, and the police may take such statements as admissions of fault. Once the police allow you to leave, seek medical treatment even if you think your injuries are only mild.
Your doctor can examine you to determine whether you suffered internal or other undetectable injuries and provide you with a full report of your medical condition. This report will be very important for your Phoenix truck accident lawyer, if you intend to pursue legal action for your jackknife accident damages.
Determining Liability for a Jackknifing Accident
A jackknifing truck accident may implicate one or more parties as liable for the resulting damages. Generally, a trucking company is responsible for the actions of its drivers, so any failure to adequately screen drivers and ensure proper training before assigning them work could cause the trucking company to face liability. If the driver was acting outside the scope of work, engaged in any illegal activity, using the vehicle for personal reasons, or driving under the influence, the driver will likely be held liable.
Driver error is a common cause of jackknifing accidents. A driver who overcorrects steering could cause the trailer to swing out to one side. Taking a curve too fast may also cause a jackknife accident. Third parties may also cause a truck driver to swerve and jackknife by aggressive driving, passing too close to the truck, or suddenly braking in front of the truck, causing the truck driver to panic.
Poor cargo loading practices may implicate a loading company or distributor. Tractor-trailers have higher centers of gravity than smaller passenger vehicles, so they are more vulnerable to tipping over with an unbalanced load. A trucking company or vehicle maintenance technician or service provider may also bear liability if a preventable mechanical failure causes a jackknife accident.
Find Legal Counsel
Truck accidents can lead to some of the most complicated personal injury claims, and they also often involve substantial damages. Anyone injured in a trucking accident should hire an attorney as soon as possible to discuss the available options for legal recourse and assess the full extent of the victim’s damages. Jackknifing accidents often involve multiple vehicles and determining liability can take quite a long time in some cases. Finding the right Phoenix accident attorney can make a significant difference in your recovery after a jackknifing truck accident.
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The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.