Jackknife Accident Attorneys in Colorado Springs
A fully-loaded commercial truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. So when a big rig skids out of control, the shifting load can trigger a jackknife accident. The cab will move in one direction, and the trailer in another, swinging across traffic as it "folds in" on the cab. Drivers who are in nearby lanes are at high risk of suffering serious or fatal injuries. Victims who survive will have sky-high medical bills, be unable to work, and have a host of other expenses related to the crash. That is why speaking to a Colorado Springs truck accident attorney is vital.
Contact The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. at (719) 475-2555, as soon as possible after an accident with a large truck as your future may depend on it.
The most common reasons a truck will jackknife include:
- Speed: A driver operating a commercial truck at an unsafe speed may be forced to come to a sudden stop. If the brakes lock up, the trailer can swing to the side.
- Weather Conditions: In Colorado Springs, weather conditions can change rapidly. A truck can lose traction on wet, snowy, or icy roads, causing the trailer to skid separately from the cab.
- Driver Fatigue: Federal regulations require truck drivers to get sufficient sleep. Tired drivers have slower reaction times and impaired judgment. When a driver has gone beyond the hours-of-service limits to deliver a load on time, he may react too slowly to a road hazard, jam on the brakes, and jackknife.
- Improperly Maintained Brakes: There are braking systems on both the tractor and the trailer. If the brakes on the trailer lock before the brakes on the tractor, the driver will lose control of the whole rig.
- Alcohol or Drug-Impaired Driver:A truck driver may be operating an 18-wheeler while under the influence of alcohol, prescription or recreational drugs. In any case, reaction time and judgment are impaired.
- Improperly Loaded Trailer: A truck's load must be evenly balanced, or the trailer can sway, leading to a jackknife, rollover, or collision.
Particularly on two-lane highways, a jackknifed truck can sweep into oncoming lanes, destroying other vehicles in its path. The injuries sustained in these incidents are often life-threatening, and include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Fractured bones
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Internal injuries
- Crush injuries
- Loss of limb
After a truck crash in which bystanders were injured or killed, various parties may be liable, including the:
- Truck driver
- Trucking firm
- Truck maintenance firm
- Truck leasing firm
- Truck manufacturer
- Truck parts manufacturer
The victim's lawyer will need to establish liability before the victim can receive compensation. There are four essential legal elements to liability:
- Duty: A truck driver has the responsibility to drive safely, and a trucking firm or truck maintenance company the responsibility to comply with federal regulations on loading, maintenance, and training drivers to operate trucks safely.
- Breach: It must be established that certain parties breached their duty to others on the road.
- Causation: It must be proven that the breach was the cause of the victim's injuries.
- Damages: The jackknife must have resulted in tangible injuries or harm to the victim.
Any trucking accident that causes severe injuries or loss of life will require an extensive investigation, including a full review of the driver's file, called a "Driver Qualification File" or DFQ. This file reveals information about the driver's record, test results, hours of service, licensing, annual reviews, and other facts. Commercial trucks also have a "black box" that tracks the truck's speed, stops, and additional information, which could supply vital data on how the jackknife occurred.
State and local police and federal investigators may all be involved in investigating a serious truck accident. Their reports can provide vital information to support your claim for compensation.
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a jackknife accident, you need the support of a skilled Colorado Springs injury lawyer. At The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., we have extensive experience in personal injury law and will take immediate action to protect your right to full and fair compensation.
Truck accident claims are aggressively defended by corporate attorneys, who employ various tactics to attempt to reduce the amount of money paid to victims. We perform a full review of the facts of the accident and present a fully documented case to the insurance company, or to a jury at trial, if necessary. Call us at (719) 475-2555 today.