Utah Jackknife Truck Accident Attorney
Jackknifing occurs when a sudden change in momentum causes a semi-truck’s trailer to fall out of sync with its tractor unit, swinging forward in a position similar to the folding of a pocketknife. These accidents are hazardous because they turn the truck into a wrecking ball, swinging across the roadway and putting everyone else in harm’s way. And when a large truck collides with a smaller vehicle, the people inside often suffer serious injuries.
Were you hurt in a Utah jackknife truck accident? You could be entitled to substantial compensation for your injuries if someone else was at fault. The truck accident lawyers at Swenson & Shelley can represent you and demand the compensation you deserve from the responsible party.
Our legal team knows the stress and financial strain accident victims experience after a wreck. We can help. Put our knowledge, resources, and experience to work for you. Contact us today for a free consultation with a jackknife truck accident lawyer in Utah.
What is a Jackknife Truck Accident?
A truck jackknifes when the cab and trailer swing toward each other at an acute angle. Typically, jackknifing occurs when the truck driver maneuvers incorrectly, such as approaching a turn too fast or improperly braking while driving down a steep hill. When the trailer’s momentum is too great for the towing tractor to control, it essentially pushes the tractor out of its way, dragging it along at its connection point.
Causes of Jackknife Truck Accidents
Driver error commonly leads to truck accidents. However, jackknifing is a unique situation. Specific circumstances must happen for the cab or trailer to move in an unintended direction.
The most common causes of jackknife accidents include:
- Sudden or unsafe braking
- Taking a turn too fast
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- Overloading cargo
- Unbalanced loads
- Driving too fast for weather or road conditions
- Weaving in and out of traffic
The truck driver isn’t necessarily the only one at fault for a truck accident. A trucking company might be liable under certain circumstances. For instance, motor carriers must hire drivers with specialized licensing and training. However, the trucking industry is plagued by a nationwide driver shortage. Negligent companies might compensate for staffing shortages by cutting corners and hiring dangerous and unqualified drivers. In a case like that, the motor carrier could be held liable for failing to comply with state and federal regulations.
Other parties, such as cargo loading companies, mechanics, and other drivers, could also share the blame for a jackknife accident. A seasoned truck accident lawyer can investigate your case so that you pursue compensation from all responsible parties.
Legal Options for Injury Victims After Jackknife Accidents
Truck accident victims have multiple options for seeking compensation for their losses. In Utah, every driver must purchase personal injury protection (PIP) insurance with at least a $3,000 limit. These policies cover certain accident-related expenses regardless of who was at fault.
You might be entitled to compensation from the other driver’s liability insurance if you meet one of the requirements in the serious injury threshold, such as:
- A bone fracture
- Permanent disfigurement
- Permanent disability or impairment
- At least $3,000 in medical expenses
Most truck accident cases end with an insurance settlement. However, if the insurer won’t make a fair offer, you might need to file a truck accident lawsuit to maximize your compensation. In Utah, the statute of limitations on such claims allows a four-year timeframe to file suit against the at-fault party. This window begins on the day of the accident.
What Compensation is Available After a Jackknife Truck Accident?
Your first avenue for compensation is your own PIP insurance, which pays up to the policy limit for financial losses like:
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Medical bills
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Loss of household services
PIP doesn’t cover non-economic losses like pain and suffering, and coverage often isn’t high enough to compensate for the severe injuries that often accompany car accidents. If you meet the serious injury threshold, you can file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Whether you file a liability claim or lawsuit, you can demand compensation for losses like:
- Pain and suffering
- Ambulance services, hospital stays, rehabilitation, and other medical treatment
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Reimbursement for household assistance, such as laundry and childcare
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Property damage
Should I Take the Offer From the At-Fault Party’s Insurance Company?
Ideally, you should consult an experienced truck accident attorney before engaging in any talks with the insurance company. An attorney can handle all settlement negotiations with the insurance adjuster so that you don’t fall prey to tactics meant to minimize or deny the amount of compensation you receive.
Remember, the insurance company isn’t on your side. Its goal is to avoid significant payouts. If the adjuster can find a valid reason to offer a low settlement or deny your claim, they will. Rather than rely on an adjuster’s appraisal of your case, an attorney can investigate your claim and negotiate for you.
Accepting a settlement offer too soon can end your chance of recovering the full amount you deserve. There’s no going back for more money later. You could end up paying out of pocket for future medical care, lost wages, and household assistance without a lawyer’s help.
Contact a Jackknife Truck Accident Lawyer in Utah
A jackknife truck accident can alter the course of your life. It’s a traumatic experience, especially if you sustain debilitating injuries. You might require months or years of treatment to get your life back on track. And while you might be owed compensation from the at-fault party, the process of demanding it can be complicated.
You don’t have to face this challenge alone. The trusted truck accident lawyers at Swenson & Shelley can take over and aggressively seek full and fair compensation from the at-fault truck driver or another liable party. Call or contact us online for a free consultation today.