The Kentucky State Police reports that, in 2020, commercial trucks are the second most common type of vehicle in all crashes. Trucks were involved in approximately 8,667 (or 5%) of all 2020 crashes in Kentucky. Even so, accidents involving trucks comprised nearly 9% of all fatalities in Kentucky’s 2020 motor vehicle collisions.
Truck accident victims and surviving family members may be struggling under the weight of crushing medical bills. Wondering where to turn, they may ask themselves, How much is the average settlement for a jackknife truck accident?
Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC, helps victims and surviving family members recover the compensation they deserve and need to move forward. Our extensive experience gives us a framework for the average settlement for a jackknife truck accident. We devote ourselves to fighting for victims and surviving family members, leaving no stone unturned. We help them secure a fair settlement for their jackknife truck accident claim.
What Is a Jackknife Truck Accident?
A jackknife accident occurs when the trailer of a commercial truck pushes the truck’s cabin (“tractor”) out to a right angle of the trailer. People commonly refer to this as a jackknife accident because the configuration resembles a half-open pocket knife. Gravity can cause the truck to swing back and forth, causing the truck to roll over. Unfortunately, when a commercial truck rolls over, it can leave a wake of devastation.
Causes of a jackknife accident include:
- Improper braking,
- Faulty brakes,
- Mechanical failure,
- Poor road conditions,
- Having to make a sudden lane change to avoid an object or car, and
- Inexperienced or distracted driving.
In 2020, the Kentucky State Police reported that fatal collisions resulted in 23 deaths on I-64, 20 deaths on I-65, and 19 deaths on I-75. In that same report, KSP reports that nearly 47% of all fatal crashes occurred on “state-numbered roads.” This makes these some of the most dangerous roads in Kentucky for all accident types.
Jackknife accidents can be more common on interstate highways and parkways. Because interstate highways may have a higher ratio of passenger vehicles to commercial trucks, it can lead to more accidents.
How Much Is the Average Settlement for a Jackknife Truck Accident?
The unpredictable nature of jackknife accidents means that each case is different. There is no set average settlement for a jackknife truck accident. That said, there are common themes when calculating the average settlement for a jackknife truck accident.
Consider that an average empty (“unladen”) commercial truck weighs about 35,000 pounds. A commercial truck with or without cargo can weigh up to a legal maximum of 80,000. Because of the sheer size of an empty commercial truck, the physical injuries and property damage can be immense. In a jackknife accident, the trailer may swing so that it’s perpendicular to the road. This expands the path and reach of the truck as it careens down the road.
Calculating the Average Settlement for a Jackknife Truck Accident
The settlement amount for a jackknife truck accident is typically a combination of three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. The applicable law and the cause and circumstances of the jackknife crash, among other factors, can influence these figures.
As you know, jackknife truck accidents can cause tremendous physical injury and property damage. Victims and surviving family members must shoulder the mountain of medical bills while also navigating the complex claims process.
Economic damages can’t undo the havoc wreaked by the crash. But a financial award can help alleviate the financial burdens of an accident. Economic damages include compensation for:
- Medical bills,
- Lost wages,
- Lost earning potential,
- Property damage repair,
- Rehabilitative therapy,
- Injury-related home modification,
- Prescription medication, and
- Transportation to and from accident-related appointments.
Economic damages consider your current, injury-related financial harm and future economic harm.
For example, Northwestern University’s 2016 estimates report that the lifetime cost of treating a traumatic brain injury is between $85,000 to $3 million. If you suffer from a traumatic brain injury after a truck crash, the settlement you receive typically takes into consideration your to-date and future medical and other expenses.
Physical injuries aren’t the only harms endured by truck crash victims and their families. They are also left to carry the psychological and social scars of the accident. Often, the effects persist long after the accident happens.
No amount of money may truly repair you or make you whole after a truck crash. But providing you with financial compensation may help ease the burden and give you the space to embark on your journey of healing and recovery.
Noneconomic damages compensate you for these invisible wounds. Categories of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of enjoyment of life,
- Loss of quality of life,
- Loss of consortium,
- Loss of a relationship,
- Permanent disfigurement, and
- Emotional distress.
Because of the nature of these harms, they are more difficult to calculate. A common practice is to use the victim’s economic damages or average pre-accident wages to calculate non-economic damages.
Multiple factors influence the financial award victims to receive for noneconomic injuries:
- The circumstances leading to the accident,
- The defendant’s conduct,
- The percentage of fault attributable to the victim,
- The likelihood that the victim will make a full recovery,
- The financial awards that similarly situated victims received in past cases, and
- The applicable law.
The best way to calculate and maximize your noneconomic damages is to contact an experienced attorney. Insurance companies may try to downplay these invisible harms and present you with a low-ball settlement offer. We help shield victims from these practices and fight to help them receive a settlement that represents the true value of their physical and emotional injuries.
When wrongdoers intentionally, recklessly, or by egregious conduct cause an accident, justice may require a penalty. As the name suggests, punitive damages serve the purpose of penalizing the at-fault party for their actions. Further, they operate to deter wrongdoers from committing the same or similar harms in the future. But you should know that punitive damages are awarded relatively infrequently.
Gladstein Law Firm Fights for Kentucky’s Truck Accident Victims
For over a decade, Gladstein Law Firm has devoted itself to fighting for victims of truck accidents. Seth Gladstein’s robust background is the edge clients need to stay ahead of the opposition. Seth helps clients obtain a fair settlement, considering all aspects of the accident, the injury, and the effects. Call us today, or contact us online.