If you suffered severe injuries or your loved one was killed in a jackknife accident in South Carolina, you will want to be sure that you do not wait too long to seek qualified legal representation.
For more than two decades, Attorney Paul Hammack has been the go-to attorney for truck accident cases in the state. He gained valuable insight into how the insurance companies work, having worked for fifteen years in trucking accident defense. Now, as an aggressive civil litigator working for victims who’ve been hurt, he can rely on his in-depth knowledge and experience to fight for the fair compensation you’re owed.
A jackknife accident is an unfortunately common type of crash involving an 18-wheeler in which the tractor skids and the trailer swings out to the side at a 90-degree angle, similar to the folding of a jackknife. Jackknife accidents often have the potential to involve numerous other motor vehicles in many other lanes of traffic because of the wide range that a trailer may swing.
Jackknife collisions can also cause extremely serious and possibly fatal injuries. Those who have been hurtin a jackknife crash could be entitled to significant compensation from the party responsible. Determining liability for a jackknife accident can often be complicated because it may be possible that multiple parties are liable for damages.
Attorney Hammack and his team understands the many challenges injured victims face after a jackknife crash, and we’ll fight for fair compensation for you while you focus on your recovery. We will be ready to discuss all of your legal options with you when you call (864) 479-8949 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Do I Need A Jackknife Accidents Lawyer?
Insurance representatives for commercial truck companies are often very aggressive in protecting the rights of drivers and trucking companies, and some insurers may even dispatch agents to the scene of a crash to get victims to give recorded statements or sign away their rights to pursue compensation.
If you are presented any paperwork to sign by an insurance company representative, you should politely refuse to sign it until you have had the opportunity to have it reviewed by legal counsel.
In general, you want to limit whatever you say to any insurance company for a negligent party involved in your jackknife accident, and never provide any kind of recorded statement. You will want to contact an attorney who can deal with the insurer on your behalf and also help you avoid inadvertently saying anything that possibly damages your case.
More importantly, a lawyer is going to be able to conduct their own rigorous investigation into your crash to get answers as to how a jackknife accident happened and who can be held liable. You want to contact an attorney as soon as possible so they can preserve as much evidence relating to your case as possible.
You could also be offered a lump sum settlement by an insurance company but know that whatever you are being offered is probably far less than what a lawyer could negotiate for you. An attorney will be able to determine the true value of your case and try to earn a settlement that covers all of your past, present, and future expenses, but they can also file a lawsuit when it is needed to get you full and fair compensation.
Why Choose Hammack Law Firm To Handle My Jackknife Accidents Case?
Hammack Law Firm has a Client Bill of Rights that provides you with a 30-day unconditional satisfaction guarantee. We are a bilingual firm that converse with clients in English and Spanish.
Paul Hammack received the AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, denoting the highest level of professional excellence. He is licensed to practice in all South Carolina and Georgia state courts as well as the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Attorney Hammack is a member of the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys, as well as the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Trucking Litigation Group. He’s a former member of the Trucking Industry Defense Association, and previously worked with the South Carolina Trucking Association.
Types of Jackknife Accidents Cases We Handle
Jackknife crashes can stem from a variety of causes, but one of the most common claims of 18-wheeler truck drivers is that their brakes locked up and they lost control of their vehicles. In many other cases, slick roads are blamed for causing jackknife accidents.
It may be possible in some cases that a commercial truck jackknifes after colliding with another motor vehicles. Some of the other kinds of driver error that could cause a jackknife crash include, but are not limited to:
- Unsecured loads
- Aggressive driving
- Brake failure
- Sudden braking
- Distracted driving
- Driver fatigue
- Reckless driving
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol
- Overloaded trailers
- Failure to maintain vehicle
- Mechanical defects
- Failure to yield
- Lack of familiarity with roadway
- Inclement weather
- Inadequate driver training
Your first step after any jackknife accident should be to get immediate medical attention. This is true even when you do not think you were hurt, as insurance companies often use any delays in treatment to claim that injuries were not serious or properly cared for and are thus not compensable.
Another valuable step after a jackknife crash can be for people to use any kind of camera (such as the one often found on most cell phones) to try and take as many pictures as possible of accident scenes. You will want to try and get photographs of vehicles and people involved as well as other telling signs such as skid marks or obstructed road signs.
If other people saw your accident, ask them for their names and phone numbers or some kind of contact information in case they are needed as witnesses. When you cannot take these steps yourself, then ask anybody you know to do this for you.
Some of the possible injuries that could result from a jackknife accident may include, but are not limited to:
- Internal organ injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Neck injuries
- Muscle strains
- Burn injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
If a person does not survive their injuries, their surviving family members could be eligible to seek compensation through a civil wrongful death claim. If successful, they could recover compensation for funeral expenses, burial costs, loss of financial and emotional support, and other damages.
Who could be held liable for a jackknife accident?
Truck drivers are frequently at fault for many jackknife accidents, but they also rarely have the personal automobile insurance policy limits or personal wealth needed to pay the kinds of damages involved in jackknife accident claims. Trucking companies could also be liable for the acts of their employees under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, which holds that employers can be held liable for the acts of employees in the scope of their employment. In addition to the trucking companies that employ drivers, other liable parties could include:
- Truck owners
- Shipping agencies
- Parts manufacturers
- Third-party maintenance companies
- Drivers of other vehicles
In certain cases, governmental agencies could also be held liable for defective or unsafe roadways that cause jackknife accidents. Any legal action involving a public entity becomes more complicated and could be subject to a much tighter statute of limitations.
What kinds of damages could I be entitled to for a jackknife accident?
If you’ve been hurt due to the negligence of any of the above-mentioned parties (or another party), you could be owed compensation including:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
South Carolina does also allow for punitive damage awards, but these are quite rare and are usually reserved only for cases in which the court wants to punish a defendant for a particularly egregious act of negligence. The legal standard for punitive damages is also clear and convincing evidence, which is a much higher bar to satisfy than a preponderance of the evidence.
Will a jackknife accident that occurs in bad weather be impossible to recover compensation for?
No. While a truck driver might be quick to blame their accident on poor weather conditions, that does not mean that they were not still responsible for operating their vehicle in a safe and reasonable manner. When it can be shown that a driver did not safely operate their truck in these circumstances, they can still be held liable regardless of how much the weather may have contributed to their crash.
Jackknife Accidents Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated in an Analysis of Fatal Large Truck Crashes that about 10 percent of combination truck occupant fatalities are associated with jackknife accidents. Over 90 percent of jackknife fatalities involved a combination truck with a single trailer.
The Large-Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) conducted by NHTSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that jackknife events caused 436 single-vehicle truck accidents. Jackknife events were also responsible for multi-vehicle crashes involving 1,044 trucks.
According to FMCSA, there were 194 fatal jackknife crashes in 2016, 226 fatal jackknife crashes in 2015, and 193 fatal jackknife crashes in 2014. FMCSA also reported that there were 2,000 injury accidents and 3,000 property damage crashes involving jackknife accidents.
Contact a Jackknife Accidents Attorney in South Carolina
Did you sustain catastrophic injuries or was your loved one killed in a jackknife accident anywhere in South Carolina? Be sure that your first phone call is to Hammack Law Firm.
Our firm has a record of success that includes a $1.6 million settlement for a husband and wife who were critically injured in a head-on collision with a tractor-trailer. Call (864) 479-8949 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.