Understanding Jackknife Truck Accidents in Alabama

Are you struggling to regain your footing after a jackknife truck accident in Alabama? Let the attorneys at the law firm of Stokes Stemle, LLC, assist you through this tough time. Our jackknife truck accident lawyers are committed to fighting for your rights and demanding the compensation you need to start rebuilding. Let us handle all of the legal details while you concentrate on healing.

Don’t wait to get the legal help you need. Contact Stokes Stemle, LLC, today for a free initial consultation, and take the first step toward getting your life back on track.

The Dangers and Impacts of Jackknife Accidents

Jackknife accidents pose serious risks on the road, especially when large commercial trucks are involved. They often occur suddenly and can result in catastrophic injuries and property damage.

Jackknifing occurs when the trailer of a large truck, such as an 18-wheeler, swivels too far to one side at the pivot point where the trailer and cab connect. When this happens, the trailer can form an acute angle with the cab, resembling a folding pocket knife.

Jackknifing usually happens when the truck’s drive wheels lock up during braking, particularly on slippery roads or when braking abruptly. As a result, the driver can lose control, causing the trailer to swing out and create a V shape with the cab. Because of a truck’s size and weight, it is almost impossible for a driver to regain control once jackknifing begins.

Consequences of Jackknife Truck Accidents

The consequences of jackknife truck accidents are often severe. These accidents frequently lead to multi-vehicle pile-ups, significant property damage, and serious injuries or even fatalities. Given the size and mass of a jackknifed truck, it can easily cover multiple lanes, leaving little to no room for other vehicles to maneuver or stop safely. That poses a direct risk to road user safety, causes long traffic delays, and can trigger secondary accidents.

Causes and Liability in Jackknife Accidents

Jackknife accidents can turn highways into danger zones in the blink of an eye. Understanding what causes these accidents and who could be liable is essential for anyone injured in a jackknife truck wreck.

What Causes a Truck to Jackknife? 

Several factors can cause a truck to jackknife. Poor road conditions, such as icy or rain-slicked surfaces, make it harder for trucks to maintain traction, which can lead to skidding and jackknifing. Speeding or sudden braking can also force a truck’s trailer to swivel uncontrollably and jackknife. Improperly loaded or overloaded trailers can unbalance a truck, increasing its risk of jackknifing. Lastly, driver errors, such as distracted driving or turning too sharply, can also lead to jackknife accidents.

Who Is Liable for a Semi-Truck Jackknife Accident?

Each jackknife truck accident is unique, so identifying liable parties requires a thorough investigation. Depending on the circumstances, any of the following parties could be liable when trucks jackknife:

  • The truck driver – If the accident results from speeding, distraction, or other driver error, the truck operator could be responsible.
  • The trucking company – A trucking company might be liable if the accident stems from inadequate training, forcing drivers to work long hours, or not maintaining the truck properly. If the trucker was an employee (not an independent contractor), the company would be vicariously liable for the driver’s negligence.
  • The maintenance company – If improper maintenance of the truck led to the accident, the company responsible for the truck’s upkeep could be at fault.
  • The manufacturer – The manufacturer of the truck or its parts could be liable if a mechanical failure caused by a product defect leads to an accident.
  • Other drivers – Sometimes, another driver’s actions might force a truck driver to brake suddenly or swerve, leading to jackknifing. If so, the driver of the other vehicle could be responsible.

Legal Rights and Compensation for Victims of Jackknife Crashes in Alabama

Standing up for your rights is the first step toward recovery after a traumatic event like a jackknife collision. If you have been injured in a jackknife truck accident, it’s important to understand your legal rights and the compensation you might be entitled to.

First, you have the right to seek compensation for the financial losses you have incurred due to the accident. That includes money for your medical bills and lost wages if you can’t work because of your injuries. You can also claim compensation for the personal harm you have suffered due to the accident, such as physical and emotional pain and suffering and loss of quality of life.

Keep in mind that there are time limits on how long you have to file a claim. Our experienced attorneys can help you understand your rights and guide you through the claims process to seek the resources you need to recover. 

Role of Personal Injury Attorneys in Jackknife Truck Accident Cases 

An experienced truck accident lawyer from Stokes Stemle, LLC, can handle every aspect of your personal injury claim while you focus on healing and getting back on your feet. Our attorneys can help you by:

  • Investigating the details of the accident
  • Gathering evidence to support your claim
  • Interviewing witnesses who saw the accident
  • Consulting with experts in accident reconstruction
  • Reviewing the truck driver’s driving record and employment history
  • Analyzing the trucking company’s compliance with federal regulations
  • Identifying all potential sources of liability
  • Calculating the full value of your injury claim
  • Negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf
  • Filing all claim paperwork accurately and on time
  • Recognizing and countering unfair settlement offers
  • Filing a lawsuit if necessary
  • Representing you in court
  • Advocating for your rights throughout the legal process 

Statute of Limitations to File a Truck Accident Claim

If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident in Alabama, you need to act quickly to file a lawsuit for your injuries. That is because Alabama’s statute of limitations gives you just two years from the accident date to file a case. If you wait too long and miss this two-year filing window, you won’t be able to take your case to court, which means you could lose your chance to get compensation for your injuries and other losses.

Because of this strict deadline, it’s wise to contact our lawyers as soon as possible after a jackknife truck accident. Our lawyers can help you understand your rights and start working on your claim quickly. We can also gather the necessary evidence, complete all the paperwork, and finish everything before time runs out. That way, you maximize your chance of getting the full compensation you deserve.

Types of Evidence in Jackknife Truck Accident Claims

When you work with our knowledgeable lawyers after a jackknife truck accident, we can gather various evidence to prove your case and recover compensation. Here are some examples of the types of evidence we might use:

  • Police reports
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Photos of the accident scene
  • Video footage from traffic cameras or dashcams
  • The truck driver’s logbooks
  • The truck’s electronic control module (ECM) data
  • Maintenance records for the truck and trailer
  • Employment records of the truck driver
  • Safety records for the trucking company
  • Medical records documenting your injuries
  • Receipts for medical expenses
  • Expert witness testimony
  • Reconstruction analysis of the accident
  • Weather and traffic reports from the day of the accident
  • Traffic citations or violations related to the accident
  • Proof of lost wages and earning capacity

Damages Available in a Jackknifing Truck Accident Lawsuit

The purpose of the damages you receive from a truck accident claim is to help you pay for your financial, physical, and emotional recovery from the aftermath of the accident. It can cover accident-related losses such as the following: 

  • Medical bills for any medical attention you’ve already received
  • Projected medical care costs you will likely incur in the future
  • Lost wages if you’ve missed work due to your injuries
  • Loss of earning ability if you can’t work as much as before
  • Pain, suffering, and diminished quality of life

Staying Safe: Can Drivers Avoid a Jackknife Accident?

By understanding how trucks maneuver and the challenges truck drivers face, drivers of passenger vehicles can take proactive steps to avoid being involved in jackknife tractor-trailer accidents. Here’s what you can do to keep yourself safe on the road: 

  • Maintain a safe distance from trucks to allow them ample space to stop or maneuver.
  • Avoid cutting in front of trucks quickly or without enough space.
  • Stay out of trucks’ blind spots, especially on the sides and behind.
  • Pay attention to trucks’ turn signals and give them plenty of room to change lanes or turn.
  • Be cautious when overtaking trucks, ensuring you can see the driver in your mirror before passing in front of them.
  • Avoid driving between two or more large trucks for extended periods.
  • Adjust your speed to maintain a safe distance when behind a truck, especially in bad weather.
  • Be patient around trucks, understanding they have different capabilities and limits.
  • Use your signals early when changing lanes or turning near a truck.
  • Stay alert and focused on the road, avoiding distractions like texting or phone calls.
  • Understand that trucks have longer stopping distances, and adjust your driving accordingly.
  • If a truck seems to be losing control, slow down safely and try to move away from it.
  • Be extra cautious at intersections, watching for trucks that might need to swing wide to turn.
  • Practice defensive driving and stay prepared for unexpected moves by trucks or other vehicles.

Contact Our Alabama Truck Accident Attorneys to Learn More 

Ready to take action after a jackknife truck accident in Alabama? Stokes Stemle, LLC, is prepared to guide you through your next steps. Our team understands the challenges truck accident victims face, and we are ready to fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. Learn how by contacting us for your free consultation today.