Jackknife accidents are among the most dangerous situations drivers face, and they can commonly lead to collisions with multiple other vehicles. In 2018, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported 4,862 fatal and 112,000 injury crashes involving a jackknife truck.
If you have suffered damages in this type of accident, contact The Vance Law Firm today. Our truck accident attorneys can help you navigate the complex legal process that often results from trucking accidents and help you maximize your compensation.
Jackknifing occurs when a semi-truck’s trailer swings away from its cab, creating an angle similar to a pocket knife closing. The most common cause of jackknifing is when a truck’s cab slows more quickly than the trailer behind it. However, it can also result from a truck driver accelerating too hard into a turn.
Many factors contribute to a jackknifing accident, including:
Brake failure can cause a semi-truck to jackknife. Many semis have air brake systems that regulate pressure and move the air through brake lines. These components are activated when a driver presses the brake pedal.
If the brake line fails, many semis have emergency brakes as a backup. When these systems aren’t maintained properly, or the driver fails to brake in time, it can cause the trailer to jackknife.
Speeding can cause semi-trucks to jackknife. Jackknifes occur when the trailer doesn’t slow down at the same speed as the cab. If the driver goes too fast and tries to stop quickly, the trailer will likely continue at excessive speed, causing a jackknife.
Improperly loaded cargo can cause a jackknife. If the truck’s trailer carries cargo that exceeds its capacity, or the cargo is loaded too far to the front, back, or one side, it can affect the trailer’s ability to stop, resulting in a jackknife.
Trucks can jackknife due to poor road traction because of weather, such as heavy rain, sleet, snow, or an icy road. Poor traction can make it difficult to properly slow the trailer, leading to jackknifing. Sharp turns, steep declines, and sloped roadways can exacerbate traction issues.
Regardless of the cause of your jackknifing accident, you should contact a law firm with experience handling car accident injury cases, such as The Vance Law Firm. Our lawyers will use every available resource to determine the cause of the accident and get you the restitution you need.
Liability can fall on several parties in a jackknifing accident, depending on the circumstances of your case. Some parties that may be liable for a jackknifing accident include:
The truck driver may be liable for your injuries under certain circumstances. For instance, if the driver was fatigued, intoxicated, speeding, or failed to adjust to the current roadway conditions, they may be held liable for your damages.
If your jackknifing accident was caused by equipment failure, the truck’s owner may be liable. Owner liability often occurs as a result of poor truck maintenance. For instance, if the truck owner fails to maintain a safe braking system through regular maintenance and testing, they may be liable for your injuries.
The trucking company responsible for packing and securing the shipment might be liable if the jackknife is due to improperly loaded cargo. These companies must ensure that cargo is loaded safely and does not exceed the truck’s weight limits. If their failure to secure the cargo results in a jackknife, you may seek compensation from the trucking company.
Though rare, a truck’s equipment can fail even when properly maintained and at no fault of the driver. If your accident happened due to an equipment defect, the vehicle manufacturer might be liable for your injuries.
With so many parties involved, determining liability in jackknife accident cases can be complicated. Choosing the right attorney for your case, like the Montgomery truck accident lawyers at The Vance Law Firm, can help you hold the correct parties responsible.
If you were injured in a jackknife truck accident, contact The Vance Law Firm. Our experienced truck accident lawyers can investigate your crash, determine liability, and collect evidence to support your claim, winning the settlement you deserve.
Schedule your free consultation today through our online contact form to explore your legal options.