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Commercial truck liability and jackknifed trailer accidents

March 26, 2018

When a commercial truck hauling a trailer jackknifes, the damage is often enormous. A single truck and trailer that jackknifes out of control can crush many other smaller vehicles or send them flying into other lanes of traffic and nearby obstacles. On the highways and interstates, jackknifed trucks often cause death or serious injury to others, as well as immense property damage.

If you recently experienced an accident involving a jackknifed truck and trailer, you understandably have some concerns about who will ultimately pay for your medical expenses and compensate you for other losses you suffer in the accident — like wages from a job you cannot work — or bodily function lost because of injuries.

Generally, do not wait to begin building your claim if you suffer losses in a commercial truck accident. These matters can take a long time to sort out, and you may need medical care and other assistance well before then. An experienced attorney can help you examine the details of your accident and determine strong strategies you can use to protect your rights and seek fair compensation.

Is jackknifing always the legal liability of the truck driver?

Many people assume that the truck driver or the company hiring the trucker to haul goods is responsible any time that a truck jackknifes and causes an accident. However, this is not always the case. As a victim of the accident, it usually preferable to seek to hold the trucking company or truck driver liable, because the insurance policies that these parties carry generally have much more coverage than those carried by consumer drivers. However, any party’s actions or negligence, the road conditions or other factors may have caused or contributed to the accident. In some instances, the liability may not be assigned to the truck driver even if the trailer and cab cause significant damage. It may rather lie with other parties.

If, for instance, a truck driver swerves to avoid another vehicle whose driver makes an error, the truck driver may well not be at fault in the accident. Similarly, if the truck driver jackknifes the trailer because of poor road conditions or debris in the road, assigning liability may prove very complex.

It is always important to build a strong case because the damages may prove too extensive to receive full coverage from a single consumer vehicle’s insurance policy.

Build a strong claim, regardless of liable party

As this illustrates, liability issues in jackknife accidents can get complex, possibly involving a range of different parties. If you suffered significant losses or injuries, you generally should build a strong claim as soon as you can to ensure that you have a good chance of recovering fair compensation. The longer you wait to begin building your claim, the less time you have may to deal with potential complications. Be sure that you have all the insight and guidance that you need to preserve your rights and priorities during your recovery.

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