Thousands of large trucks travel through the Chicago region each day. While truck drivers are subject to strict state and federal regulations, the reality is that they often do not follow the rules and end up causing serious, even deadly accidents. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a jackknife accident that was not your fault, we can help. At Therman Law Offices, our Wheaton and Schaumburg truck accident attorneys can examine the facts of your case and determine the exact causes of an accident. We are committed to holding negligent truck drivers accountable for the harm that they cause as well as getting you the compensation to which you are entitled.Causes of Jackknife Accidents and Related Legal Claims
Jackknife accidents take place when the trailer part of a truck swings out to one side, resembling a partially opened blade of a jackknife. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, jackknifes are a contributing factor in approximately 10 percent of fatal combination truck accidents. Many factors can cause or contribute to a jackknife accident, including:
- Wet, icy, or slippery roads;
- Improperly secured cargo;
- Failing to slow down to turn on curved roads;
- Poor lighting conditions;
- Driver error, such as over-braking or under-braking;
- Failing to maintain or inspect tires, brake systems, or other parts of the truck;
- Driver inexperience;
- Distracted or fatigued driving; or
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
It is important to note that when jackknife accidents take place at high speeds, there is an increased chance of a rollover accident, which can lead to spilling dangerous cargo and can even increase the likelihood of catching fire.
If you have been injured in a jackknife accident caused by a truck driver’s negligence, you may be able to file a claim against that at-fault truck driver. Negligence takes place when a truck driver fails to exercise reasonable care while operating a truck, thereby causing an accident and resulting harm to another person on the road. In the context of truck accidents, reasonable care is defined as how a prudent or sensible truck driver would act under the same or similar circumstances. For example, if a truck driver causes a jackknife accident and your resulting injury because cargo was improperly secured on the vehicle, that driver would likely be liable. This is because a prudent truck driver would take care to securely fasten the cargo on a truck, understanding the risk of a jackknife accident associated with failing to do so.
In some cases, you may be able to file a claim against the negligent truck driver’s employer as well, under the legal principle of vicarious liability. This may be appropriate when the truck driver’s negligence took place while the truck driver was working. Put another way, the truck driver caused the jackknife accident while they were acting in the scope of employment, such as by picking up a load for the employer.
Jackknife accidents often involve numerous vehicles and can lead to catastrophic injuries. These injuries can take a burdensome toll on the victim and the family involved. Under Illinois law, a truck accident victim may recover a variety of damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, loss of companionship, depression, future medical care, and disability costs. Of course, the exact amount of compensation that a plaintiff will ultimately receive will vary depending on the nature and extent of the injuries suffered.Contact a Knowledgeable Truck Crash Attorney in Schaumburg or Wheaton
Jackknife accidents can lead to serious and long-term injuries. In the most serious cases, these accidents can lead to death. If you or a family member has been seriously injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, you should speak with an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible. At Therman Law Offices, we have years of experience holding commercial drivers and trucking companies accountable for the harm that they cause, whether this involves a violation of a regulation or an incident of ordinary negligence such as failing to check a blind spot. We represent victims in communities such as Schaumburg, Wheaton, Norwood Park, Edison Park, Harwood Heights, Norridge, Elmwood Park, Park Ridge, Des Plaines, Rosemont, Elk Grove Village, and Mt. Prospect. For a free case evaluation, call us at 312-588-1900 or contact us online.