Ventura Tractor-Trailer Jackknife Accident Lawyer
If you’ve landed on this page, chances are you’re looking for solid, easy-to-understand information about tractor-trailer jackknife accidents. Hopefully, it’s not because you or someone close to you has been involved in such a terrifying ordeal. If it has, Zavala Law can help you get the compensation you need to deal with the harm you’ve suffered. These accidents are complex events mechanically speaking, and they can be equally complicated to sort out from the legal angle as well. Start by calling our office for a free consultation. Learn more about these serious crashes below, and contact our dedicated Ventura tractor-trailer jackknife accident lawyer if you need assistance with a claim.
What Exactly Is a Tractor-Trailer Jackknife Accident?
Picture this: you’re driving down the highway, and suddenly, you notice an 18-wheeler skidding out of control. The wheels of the cab lock up, but the trailer keeps going, swinging out to the side across multiple lanes of traffic before folding back in on the tractor until the entire vehicle resembles a pocket knife that’s partially open. That’s a jackknife accident. Typically, these accidents occur due to driver error in choosing the wrong braking method to bring the semi to a quick stop on a slick road. Whatever the cause, the aftermath can be catastrophic, involving severe injuries and extensive property damage to multiple vehicles and their occupants.
Why Ventura County Is a Hotspot for Jackknife Accidents
The 101 (the Ventura Freeway) cuts right through Ventura County, linking Los Angeles to the rest of California, and Oregon and Washington as well. In Los Angeles, the 101 shares major junctions with Interstate 5 and I-10, sending truck traffic across the country in north-south and east-west directions. While the Ventura Freeway sees less big rig traffic compared to those other interstates, the climate and terrain near the Pacific Coast raise the stakes for truck drivers who must make snap decisions about how to stop an 18-wheeler on a wet road.
Negligent actions on the part of the truck driver, the trucking company, the freight shipper and other parties can all lead to a jackknife accident and the catastrophic injuries that result. Leading factors that can cause a truck to jackknife include:
- Braking errors. If you need to stop suddenly, you slam on the brakes; that’s your only choice. When a trucker needs to quickly stop an 18-wheeler, the driver has more than one choice, and choosing the wrong method can cause the truck to jackknife. For example, the driver can choose to lock the drive axles, lock the trailer axles, or lock the steering axle brakes. Do you know which action is most likely to end in a jackknife? Hopefully the truck driver does, but training and experience vary widely across the nation’s trucking fleet.
- Negligent driving. Speeding, passing on the right, or making unsafe or aggressive maneuvers can cause a jackknife. Truckers who are impaired by alcohol or fatigued from too much driving are more likely to make a mistake that causes the rig to jackknife.
- Improperly loaded truck. If the trailer is overloaded or if the load is unbalanced or unsecured, the driver could more easily lose control of the vehicle. A loaded tractor-trailer can weigh 80,000 pounds, and once the driver loses control, the outcome is likely to be severe.
- Truck defects. A defect in the braking system, steering components, or the hitch and coupling devices could all lead to a jackknife. A skilled truck accident attorney will have his work cut out for him determining whether the cause was a defect in the design or manufacture of the truck or some component, or due to inadequate maintenance or faulty repair by the trucking company or a third party. Knowing the right party or parties to hold accountable is key to the success of your claim.
Insurance Claims and Legalities in Tractor-Trailer Jackknife Accidents
Insurance companies are notoriously challenging to deal with, especially when substantial claims are involved. They’ll try to minimize payouts or even dodge liability. In a complex case like a jackknife, there are many different insurance policies covering different aspects of the vehicle, and the insurers take advantage of this fact to create confusing situations where no one wants to take the blame.
That’s where Matt Zavala, the lead attorney at Zavala Law, shines. With a decade-long background in insurance defense plus years of litigation and trial experience, he knows the tricks and tactics that insurance companies use, and he knows how to investigate a trucking accident case and determine liability.
With Zavala Law, you get more than an experienced and successful lawyer dedicated to winning results. Here, you can trust Matt Zavala to go out of his way to make sure you are being taken care of. Matt makes himself accessible to you and keeps you informed and updated, ensuring you have a positive client experience while we work to achieve a good outcome for you.
Contact Zavala Law Today
We know that talking about legal issues can be overwhelming, especially when you’re already dealing with the emotional and physical toll of a serious accident. That’s why we offer a free consultation to discuss your case in a no-pressure environment. Call 805-429-4292 to talk about what happened. We’ll explore your options with you and give you our best advice on how to proceed. If you have questions, we have answers, so call us today.