If you’ve been injured in a jackknife truck accident caused by a reckless driver, you may be owed significant compensation. At OnderLaw, LLC, our St. Louis truck accident attorneys are committed to helping those injured by the negligent actions of others. We have a strong track record of success, and we can help you, too.
Truck drivers take on a huge responsibility when they get behind the wheel of such a large vehicle because the stakes are high if anything goes wrong. In Missouri, 129 people were killed in 2018 in accidents involving a large truck, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Jackknifing, when the cab and trailer fold together to create a 90° angle, is one common type of truck accident that can be extremely dangerous, leaving severe injuries and fatalities in its wake.
The attorneys at OnderLaw, LLC have vast experience handling truck accident cases and helping the victims receive fair compensation for their injuries. Contact OnderLaw, LLC today at (314) 963-9000 to schedule a free consultation.
Why You Need a Lawyer
Truck accidents are much more complicated than an accident between smaller cars. The injuries are usually more severe, and there is frequently more than one vehicle involved, especially when the truck jackknifes. Even when it seems clear who is liable, and the trucking company will have a team of lawyers working hard to defend the company and pay you the lowest amount of compensation possible.
When you’re recovering from serious injuries, the last thing you want is to have to try to figure out a complicated legal process. We will take care of gathering evidence and medical records, making phone calls to insurance companies, and interpreting laws specifically related to your case. From the moment we first meet, you can count on us to support you through the legal process.
Why Choose Us?
A skilled attorney will be able to listen to your individual case and clearly explain your options so you can feel comfortable with the course of action we choose to pursue together. OnderLaw, LLC was founded in 2002, but founder James C. Onder has over 25 years of legal experience. His main area of focus is helping victims of catastrophic accidents receive compensation for their injuries.
Since he has handled many catastrophic trucking accidents in his career, you can trust that James C. Onder and his team of highly skilled attorneys will understand the unique complexities of your jackknife truck accident case. Our attorneys will utilize every resource available to secure compensation for you.
Our attorneys have earned numerous honors in recognition of the successes we’ve achieved on behalf of our clients. Martindale-Hubbell gave us the highest AV rating, and we also attained honors from SuperLawyers, Litigator Awards, and the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers. We’ve been named to multiple prestigious groups throughout the country, such as the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and The American Trial Lawyers Association.
How Do Jackknife Truck Accidents Occur?
A jackknife accident typically occurs when a truck brakes incorrectly or swerves suddenly, causing the trailer to skid. There are many factors that can lead to a jackknife accident, including vehicle malfunction, environmental or road conditions, and driver error. Following are some of the most common factors:
Environmental and Road Conditions – A wet or icy road could cause the truck to lose control if the driver brakes suddenly. Trucks also have a hard time staying in control when driving on curvy roads or making sharp turns because the load can easily become unbalanced.
Vehicle Malfunction – If the truck’s brakes have not been serviced properly, they could be ineffective when it comes time to stop suddenly. Jackknife accidents occur when the truck brakes too hard, causing the axles to lock and the truck to skid. Hydraulic failure or another mechanical failure can also lead to a jackknife accident. A truck with recalled parts could be at greater risk for malfunction. An empty or very light truck may be more likely to jackknife than a full, heavier truck because of how the weight is balanced.
Driver Error – There are a variety of potential driver errors that could cause a jackknife accident. Driver errors may include speeding or driving too fast for conditions, following too closely, distracted or drowsy driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances, turning abruptly or other steering mistakes, or improper braking.
Improperly Loaded Cargo – If the truck is improperly loaded, the weight of the load can shift while driving, causing instability and making the truck more difficult to maneuver.
Driving a truck is a complicated skill to learn, and mistakes are more common among inexperienced drivers. Learning to drive a semi-truck requires intensive training and practice, but, unfortunately, some trucking companies rush through the training process to quickly meet the demand for more drivers. This practice is dangerous and is one reason why a trucking company could be held liable when their driver is involved in an accident.
Often, it is a combination of multiple factors that lead up to a jackknife accident. Our attorneys will utilize many resources, including an accident reconstruction team, medical records, police reports, truck maintenance records, and other pertinent information to understand the whole picture of what events caused the accident, and who was at fault.
Trucks are large and heavy compared to the average passenger vehicle, and when they collide, the results can be catastrophic. Common injuries from jackknife truck accidents include:
- Scrapes and bruises
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Spine and nerve damage
In a jackknife accident, the trailer portion of the truck can swing across multiple lanes of traffic. On a busy highway, this can cause many cars to be involved in the accident. Multi-vehicle pileups are common in this scenario, which creates the potential for multiple injured victims.
Types of Compensation
The amount of compensation you are owed will vary depending on the severity of your injuries and other factors. When you meet with an attorney, they will be able to analyze your case and give you an idea of the types of compensation you may be owed. In general, you may be owed compensation for:
- Current and future medical bills
- Long-term care and rehabilitation
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning potential
If your family member was killed in a jackknife truck accident, you may choose to file a wrongful death claim to recover compensation for funeral and burial expenses, loss of companionship, and loss of future earnings.
Perhaps you feel nervous about the prospect of having to go to court. The good news is, most personal injury cases can be settled outside of the courtroom. Your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company of the at-fault driver to hopefully reach a reasonable settlement. If they do not reach a settlement, our attorneys will file a lawsuit. If this is necessary, we will provide the support you need to feel prepared for the trial.
When you are involved in an accident with a large truck, it can be difficult to determine who was at fault. Sometimes, multiple parties are actually at fault in jackknife accidents. For example, if a mechanic made a mistake while performing maintenance on the braking system, and the driver also committed an error, both the driver and the mechanic may be partially at fault for a jackknife accident due to their negligence.
A person or company’s actions are negligent if the following apply:
- The person or company had a duty (driving safely, maintaining the vehicle, etc.)
- They failed to fulfill their duty
- Their negligence caused an accident
- Your injuries are a direct result of that accident and not some outside event
Missouri, like many other states, follows the law of comparative negligence. This means that each involved party will be assigned a percentage that they were at fault. If you were partially at fault for the accident, you will still be owed some compensation, but the amount you receive will be dependent upon the percentage you were at fault.
The trucking company and their insurance company likely have a team of attorneys who will try to show that you were significantly at fault in order to pay out less money in compensation. An experienced attorney will help you build a strong case to refute their claims and fight for full and fair compensation.
Statute of Limitations
It is best to act as soon as possible to seek compensation for your injuries after a jackknife truck accident. According to the Missouri Code section 516.120, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is five years, which means you have a limit of five years to file the claim. As time passes, it becomes increasingly difficult to gather evidence and remember details. The sooner you act, the easier it will be to receive the compensation you are owed.
Contact a St. Louis Truck Accident Attorney
Being involved in a jackknife truck accident is a traumatic experience and can leave you wondering if you will ever be able to move past this horrible time of your life. The truck accident attorneys at OnderLaw, LLC are devoted to helping our clients feel relaxed as we move through the legal process together. We will work our hardest to secure the compensation you need to move forward and heal physically and emotionally.