Jackknifing happens when the cab of a commercial tractor-trailer stays in place, but the trailer moves to the side at a 90-degree angle—resembling an open pocket-knife. There are numerous reasons jackknifing may happen, including negligent braking, adverse road conditions, or equipment failure. It most commonly happens because a driver brakes suddenly so that the back of the trailer swings to the side and skids. Once jackknifing starts to happen, the situation can spin out of control quickly. The truck may crash into multiple other vehicles or cause a fatal underride accident. If you have been hurt in a jackknife accident, you can seek guidance from the Los Angeles truck accident lawyers at Sharifi Firm.Pursuing Damages after a Jackknife Accident
It is critical to retain an attorney who understands the different possible causes of jackknife crashes, works with experienced accident reconstruction experts, and can sue the appropriate parties. In many cases, jackknife accidents are the result of a driver hitting the brakes too hard. This can happen because the driver is traveling too fast.
An accident victim may sue the truck driver for negligence. In that case, the victim will need to prove the truck driver's duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and actual damages. If a truck driver is traveling too fast for conditions or failed to respond in a reasonable way to the potential of a jackknifing accident, this is a breach of duty that can result in serious harm.
Sometimes, jackknifing occurs because of faulty brakes. In that case, the truck driver or trucking company may be held accountable for negligent maintenance. It may be helpful to hold a trucking company liable, since in most cases it has greater insurance coverage. Jackknifing accidents often have multiple victims who were not negligent but are seriously injured. All of these drivers may make a claim against the truck driver's policy, which may not be sufficient to cover multiple catastrophic injuries. Therefore, it is crucial for your lawyer to look at all available sources for recovery.
Another possible cause of a jackknife accident is a defectively designed braking system or a manufacturing defect. In that case, it may be possible to bring a product liability claim against the truck manufacturer.
In some cases, multiple defendants are at fault for a massive accident. In that case, the jury can apportion fault. Defendants may be held jointly and severally liable for economic or special damages. These are tangible damages like medical bills, lost income, lost earning capacity, vocational rehabilitation, property damage, and out-of-pocket expenses. However, each defendant is only responsible for an amount of the noneconomic or general damages equal to its own degree of responsibility for the injuries. For example, if the victim's economic damages are $500,000, and the driver is 40% responsible, the trucking company is 40% responsible, and the manufacturer is 20% responsible, the victim can recover the full sum from one of the defendants. However, if the victim's noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering and mental anguish, are $1 million, the driver will be responsible for $400,000, the trucking company for $400,000, and the manufacturer for $200,000.Contact a Los Angeles Lawyer to Discuss a Truck Crash Case
If you are hurt in the Los Angeles area due to a motor vehicle collision involving a commercial truck, the attorneys at Sharifi Firm can assist you. We understand the trucking industry and have worked on many of these complex types of cases. Sharifi Firm also represents truck accident victims in Temecula, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, and San Bernardino, among other Southern California cities. Contact us at (866) 422-7222 or through our online form for a free, no-obligation consultation.