A jackknife accident may be terrifying for others on the road in California. Jackknifing refers to situations in which a driver in the cab of a truck loses control of the trailer, and as a result, the trailer swings into an L or V that looks like an unfolded pocketknife. This extends the truck over several lanes of traffic or even onto the other side of the highway if there is no concrete barrier. If you are hurt in a jackknife accident, you should retain a Sacramento truck accident lawyer to help you pursue your damages. Often, trucking companies, insurers, and attorneys use aggressive tactics to try to avoid liability, and it is important to have your own attorney to maintain equal footing.Holding a Trucker Accountable for a Jackknife Accident
Why does a tractor-trailer or another large truck jackknife? Typically, it is due to a loss of traction. Jackknifing may happen due to a collision, speeding, improper braking that results in the brakes locking, or slippery roads. When a truck is traveling at an excessive speed, the brakes may not be able to stop a trailer that is being towed, resulting in the wheels locking up and swinging outward toward other vehicles. The consequences may be devastating, since a tractor-trailer may weigh over 80,000 pounds. Often, there are multiple victims in this type of accident.
As with other accidents, to recover compensation from the driver of the truck for your injuries, you probably will need to establish the driver's negligence. You will need to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the driver owed a duty to use reasonable care but failed to meet that duty and caused the accident that produced your injuries. In some cases, such as when a jackknife accident occurs due to a truck driver trying to avoid another collision or being hit by another vehicle, there may be multiple negligent parties. You may bring all of the parties at fault into the lawsuit.
In California, you may hold a defendant jointly and severally liable with regard to economic damages. For example, if a big rig collided with a tractor-trailer, and the tractor-trailer jackknifed, you might bring in both the driver of the big rig and the driver of the tractor-trailer to improve your chance of recovering the full scope of your damages. Each defendant that bears some degree of responsibility will be only severally liable for noneconomic damages like pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.
In some cases, a truck driver will blame the brakes for a jackknifing accident. It is not typical that there is something wrong with the brakes, but we can investigate to find out whether the manufacturer should be brought into the litigation and whether any product liability theories may apply.Retain an Experienced Sacramento Attorney Following a Truck Accident
Trucking insurers and attorneys will look for ways to blame others, including accident victims, even when a jackknife accident is clearly the fault of a truck driver or trucking company. Our principal, Travis G. Black, previously worked in the insurance industry and understands how insurance adjusters think. If you suffered injuries or a loved one was killed in a jackknife accident in the Sacramento area, you should consult us. We provide skillful legal representation from our Folsom office. To obtain a free consultation with a motor vehicle collision lawyer, call Travis G. Black & Associates at 916-962-2896 or contact us online.