What Should I do After a Jackknife Trailer Accident?
Being on the road is an important aspect of our work lives. While we all want the roads to be as safe as possible, accidents happen. At best, car accidents can ruin your whole day. At worst, the effects will follow you throughout life. When an 80,000-pound vehicle is involved, things are bound to get messy. It’s common to have questions about your accident. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions to help guide you.
Florida offers a variety of compensation benefits for persons injured in big rig accidents. Some of these include monetary payments for pain and suffering, permanent damage to the victim’s body, lost wages, future medical care costs, loss of income, physical disability resulting from the accident, and more. The trucking companies are often responsible for paying all of these, but sometimes they won’t be able to cover everything themselves. In these cases, the victims need to find a lawyer who can assist them in filing a lawsuit against the trucking companies.
What is a “Jackknife Accident”?
Tractor-trailer cab accidents are always devastating due to their weight and size. But it gets even worse when you add the 50-foot long trailer in the mix. A “jackknife” accident is what happens when the trailer of the truck manages to move past the truck cab, and the driver no longer has control over it. Usually, the brakes have failed to stop the trailer, or it has lost traction altogether.
A fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. It’s easy to see how a loaded semi-truck losing control could wreak major havoc. Any person unlucky enough to cross its path is likely to get gravely injured. These are called “jackknife accidents” because of the shape the tractor-trailer looks like after the accident – similar to a small folding knife.
Why do Jackknife Trailer Accidents Happen?
While jackknife accidents are far less common these days, they do still happen. In 1991, the FMCSA required all truck tractors to be equipped with an antilock brake system. (Or ABS for short.) They also demanded that indicator lights be added in the truck cab, or on the outside of the vehicle while still visible to the driver. This way if the brakes do need attention, the driver will be able to tell at a quick glance. Trailers have also been equipped with an automatic braking system in case they become disconnected from the tractor truck.
The FMCSA has detailed data about crashes going all the way back to 1975.
What’s important to take away from that data is that out of 475,000 reported crashes in 2016, 104,000 were injury crashes, and 3,864 were fatal. In other words, 22 percent of all crashes caused injuries, and 0.8 percent were fatal.
What Damages Can be Compensated?
Jackknifed semi-truck accidents are likely to cause major injuries. Many victims suffer from a traumatic brain injury, a spinal cord injury, a permanent physical limitation, or they might even get a lifelong disability due to the accident. Total (or partial) paralysis, disfigurement, and permanent scarring are unfortunately also quite common. The bills for hospitalization, treatment, rehabilitation, prescriptions, co-pays, and more can quickly put you in debt for the rest of your life. And if you have lost your job, or are unable to work due to the crash, the mountain of debt can seem insurmountable.
Damages that you can file for include (but are not limited to) any medical expenses, any out-of-pocket expenses, disfigurement or disability, loss of earning capacity (an inability to work due to the accident), and all the physical pain and mental anguish that came with the accident.
What Should I do Directly After an Accident?
Safety should always be your number one priority. Assuming the accident has already happened, and you are in a safe location (such as a hospital), you should reach out to an experienced truck accident lawyer. You should not consent to anything, sign anything, or agree with anything before speaking to your lawyer. Make sure to save copies of all your medical documents and billing information.
Darrigo & Diaz Will Fight for You
Nobody wants to experience an accident, and that’s exactly why it’s so important to reach out to the right law firm. An experienced lawyer will make all the difference. Your lawyer will help you move forward after an accident has made the world feel like it stopped.
Hesitating to contact a lawyer will ultimately lead to issues as time passes. One of the most important aspects of your case is timing. The sooner the investigation starts, the better. So, if you’ve been involved in a Jackknife trailer accident, contact Darrigo & Diaz immediately by calling us at (813) 774-3341 for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation right over the phone. You can also contact us online with any questions.