A Wisconsin truck accident jackknife injury can have profound and long-lasting effects on a person’s life. The consequences can feel overwhelming, from mounting medical bills to long-term pain and suffering. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a jackknife truck accident, it is crucial to seek legal representation to protect your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve.
Schwaba Law Firm understands the complexities of trucking accident cases and has a proven track record advocating for victims. With his experience and dedication, Andrew Schwaba will fight tirelessly to hold the responsible parties accountable and secure the maximum compensation possible.
Let Andrew provide the guidance and support you need during this challenging time, helping you rebuild your life and obtain the justice you deserve. Contact Schwaba Law Firm today to speak with a Wisconsin jackknife truck accident lawyer.
What is Jackknifing?
Jackknifing is a term for the specific type of trucking accident that occurs when a semi truck’s trailer swings out to the side, forming an angle with the cab of the truck. It resembles an open jackknife.
What Causes Jackknife Truck Accidents in Wisconsin?
There are several different scenarios for what causes a truck to jackknife. Excessive braking is one primary cause of jackknifing. When a semi-truck’s wheels lock up during braking, the trailer can lose traction, causing it to swing out to the side.
How else does a truck jackknife? Speeding is another cause, especially on slippery or icy surfaces. A truck becomes challenging to control when it goes too fast for road conditions, increasing the risk of the trailer skidding out.
Uneven weight distribution within the trailer can also lead to a jackknife accident. If the weight is not balanced correctly or secured, it can shift while driving, destabilizing the trailer and causing it to skid out.
Sharp and sudden steering maneuvers are also common causes of a trailer jackknife. Abrupt turns or swerves can disrupt the truck’s stability, causing the driver to lose control.
What Are the Most Common Jackknife Truck Accident Injuries?
Jackknife truck accidents can cause a variety of injuries, some of which can be pretty severe, including:
- Back Injuries – The jarring impact of a jackknife accident can cause spinal injuries, such as herniated discs, fractured vertebrae, or sprained back muscles. These injuries can result in chronic pain, limited mobility, and long-term disability.
- Broken and Fractured Bones – The forceful impact of a jackknife accident can cause fractured and broken bones throughout the body.
- Head and Brain Injuries – When an occupant’s head collides with the steering wheel, dashboard, or windows, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can occur. TBIs range from concussions to severe brain damage, leading to cognitive impairments, memory loss, or permanent disabilities.
- Internal Injuries – The violent nature of the accident can cause internal injuries such as organ damage, internal bleeding, or punctured lungs. These injuries may not be immediately apparent and can pose life-threatening risks if left untreated.
- Lacerations and Contusions – Occupants may sustain cuts, bruises, and deep gouges from broken glass, loose objects, or impact with the vehicle’s interior. Severe lacerations may require stitches or reconstructive surgery.
- Whiplash and Neck Injuries – Due to the sudden and forceful impact of the accident, other vehicle occupants may experience whiplash or neck injuries. The rapid back-and-forth movement of the head can strain or injure the neck muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
How Is Liability Determined Liability in a Jackknife Truck Accident?
In Wisconsin, determining fault and liability in a jackknife truck accident follows the general principles of negligence law. Basically, did someone act reasonably under the circumstances? Factors to look at when evaluating liability include:
- Driver Behavior – The actions of the truck driver and other involved drivers, including behaviors like speeding, reckless driving, distracted driving, or failure to yield.
- Road Conditions – The road condition and any contributing factors, such as hazardous weather, potholes, or inadequate signage, may have played a role in the accident.
- Vehicle Maintenance – The truck’s maintenance records will show whether the trucking company and maintenance personnel maintained the vehicle and complied with all safety regulations.
- Witness Statements and Evidence – Eyewitness testimonies, surveillance footage, accident reconstruction analysis, and any other available evidence can establish a clear understanding of how the accident occurred.
Based on the gathered evidence, the truck driver, trucking company, maintenance crew, or other parties involved in the accident may each have liability. Wisconsin follows a modified comparative negligence system, which means that fault is apportioned between multiple parties, and compensation may be reduced proportionally based on each party’s degree of responsibility – so long as you are less than 51% responsible for the accident.
The complexities of Wisconsin’s comparative negligence law make hiring an experienced trucking accident attorney essential. Andrew Schwaba is skilled at evaluating liability and working to reduce any liability others may argue you have for the accident.
What Are Recoverable Damages or Compensation in a Wisconsin Jackknife Truck Accident?
Jackknifed semi-truck accident victims in Wisconsin may be eligible for various types of compensation. These can include:
- Lost Wages – If the injuries result in missed work or a reduced earning capacity, victims can pursue compensation for lost wages and potential future income.
- Medical Expenses – Victims can seek compensation for past, current, and future medical costs, including hospitalization, surgeries, rehabilitation, medications, and therapy.
- Pain and Suffering – Non-economic damages, such as physical pain, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and mental anguish, may be compensated.
- Punitive Damages – In exceptional cases where the defendant acted maliciously or with intentional disregard, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the responsible party and deter similar actions in the future. Wisconsin caps punitive damages at over $200,000 or twice the compensatory damages. However, if drunk driving caused the accident, this cap does not apply.
- Wrongful Death Damages – In Wisconsin, survivors of a victim who died due to a jackknife trucking accident may be entitled to wrongful death compensation. This compensation aims to provide financial support to the surviving family members who have suffered a loss. It typically covers damages such as funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, lost income, loss of companionship, and emotional distress.
What Is Your Time Limit for Filing a Jackknife Truck Accident Lawsuit in Wisconsin?
The statute of limitations in Wisconsin sets the deadline for filing a lawsuit after a trucking accident. Trucking accident victims have three years from the accident date to initiate legal action seeking compensation for their injuries or property damage.
It’s important to note that this three-year time limit applies to personal injury claims resulting from a trucking accident. But if the accident resulted in the death of an individual, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is generally two years from the date of the person’s death.
Adhering to the statute of limitations is crucial when considering legal action after a trucking accident. Failing to file a lawsuit within the prescribed timeframe can result in the court dismissing the case, barring you from relief. Promptly contacting a Wisconsin truck accident lawyer is essential, so that you don’t miss the deadline for filing a claim.
Steps You Should Take After a Jackknife Truck Accident
After a jackknife truck accident, you should take actions to help preserve and strengthen your claim. Here are important steps to take:
- Seek and Document Your Medical Attention – You want to see a doctor and create a medical record of your injuries that you can use as evidence.
- Document the Scene – Gather evidence at the accident scene, including photographs or videos of the vehicles involved, skid marks, road conditions, and any visible injuries.
- Gather Information – Collect the truck driver’s information, including their name, contact details, license plate number, and insurance information. Obtain contact information from any witnesses present as well.
- Report the Accident – Contact local law enforcement and report the accident. Ensure the police create a report, as it can provide valuable information about the incident.
- Preserve All Evidence – Keep all medical records, receipts, and invoices for your injuries and treatment. Also, save any communication or correspondence with insurance companies, healthcare providers, or the trucking company. Keep these documents organized and safe.
- Consult an Attorney – Seek legal advice from a skilled Wisconsin personal injury attorney experienced in trucking accidents. They can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and help build a strong case for litigation.
It’s important to act promptly and avoid discussing faults or making statements to insurance adjusters without legal counsel. By following these steps and involving an attorney, you can preserve your claim for litigation and increase your chances of obtaining fair compensation for your damages.
Get in Touch with a Wisconsin Jackknife Truck Accident Attorney
If you were injured in a Wisconsin jackknife truck accident, seeking help from an experienced personal injury attorney is important. Andrew Schwaba has substantial experience with personal injury cases involving truck accidents, with the knowledge and resources necessary to help you navigate the complexities of your case.
Don’t face the aftermath of a jackknife trucking injury alone. Contact Schwaba Law Firm today to protect your rights and maximize your chances of obtaining a fair and just resolution.