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Jackknife Trucking Accidents

An average 18-wheeler or semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Thus, when a truck jackknifes, the consequences can be very serious. What is a truck jackknife? The term denotes a situation where a truck’s trailer folds on its hinge, resulting in an acute angle with the cab of the truck. Very sudden and extreme braking and skidding are the most common situations when a truck jackknife takes place.

Causes for Jackknifing Accidents

Some of the deadliest and serious trucking accidents occur because a large 18-wheeler or semi-truck has jackknifed. There are only a couple of ways a jackknife accident can occur. The main reason can be attributed to a traction problem. Traction concerns a wheel’s grasp on the surface of the road. When a road is slippery or when a truck does not brake properly, tires will skid along the road, which can lead to jackknife accidents. Because jackknifing is the result of tires that fail to grip the road properly, slamming on the brakes, which might seem like a good idea, actually make matters worse and can contribute to a truck jackknifing.

Surprisingly, most of the time when a jackknife occurs, the trailer is empty. The heavier a truck is, the more it weighs down on the road, which in turn creates greater friction with the road and better traction with the road. Braking suddenly, or slamming on the brakes, can be leading causes for trucks to jackknife. While many people do not know this, the truth is that any truck that is towing a trailer can lead to jackknifing.

Jackknifing is not reserved just for 18-wheelers or very large trucks. There have been preventive measures that have been implemented by engineers and technological advances that have aimed to help prevent jackknife accidents. In particular, anti-lock brakes on a trailer can counter the likelihood of jackknifing. Anti-lock brakes stop your wheels from locking up, which will halt the likelihood of jackknifing. Sensors are installed to make sure there isn’t heavy or unusual braking, and if the driver over-brakes, a sensor is activated to lessen the pressure placed on the wheel A similar technology addresses the problem with empty trailers by having a road-sensing regulators hat lessens the brake pressure to eh wheel, especially when the load is not heavy.

How can truck driver avoid jackknifing?

  • Do not drive too fast
  • Know when to brake and when to accelerate
  • Watch side mirrors for trailer swing
  • Keep a safe distance from other cars on the road

Common Reasons for truck jackknifing:

  • Curvy roads
  • Snowy and icy roads
  • Crashes
  • Improperly weighted trucks
  • Driver error
  • Sleepy driver
  • Distracted driver

Among the most common reasons is when a truck’s braking system has not been checked and maintenance has not been done on the truck’s brakes and tires. In addition, there have also been many accidents that are caused by truck drivers who are simply not equipped to drive a rig that is not fully loaded.

A rig that is not weighted with freight is the most likely to be the reason for a jackknifing truck because of the physics involved. Many times a trucking company will not employ an experienced, veteran driver who knows how to handle a truck that may jackknife if not properly freighted. In addition, an inexperienced driver may not know how to handle a truck and keep it from jackknifing if the conditions are poor.

What is important to understand is that a claim should, in most cases at least, be made against the trucking company and not just the driver. The reason for this is that the trucking company has a duty to make sure their truck is safe and the driver is properly trained to drive the truck. In many cases, through the legal process it can be shown that the trucking company failed in this, thus making them liable for your injuries.

Common Jackknifing Injuries

If you have been struck by a truck that has jackknifed, you likely have serious injuries that require immediate medical care. While it is your decision as to the kind of provider that you should seek, among them are medical doctors, such as an orthopedic doctor, a chiropractor, or a massage therapist. The most common injuries from these accidents are:

  • Broken bones
  • Whiplash
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Bulging disc
  • Herniated disc
  • Concussions

If you have suffered any of these injuries, you should seek immediate medical care from a qualified healthcare provider.

How The Jackman Law Firm can Help

Any time you have been in an accident, you have to prove a number of key elements. Among them are proving that you were owed a duty, the truck driver breached that duty, and your injuries were directly caused from the breach of the truck driver’s duty. There are times when the at-fault truck driver may claim that a driver swerved into his lane or braked too suddenly, thus making it seems as though the accident is not his fault.

If this is the case, then you need an attorney who can assist you in proving that the accident was not your fault. At The Jackman Law Firm, we can help by interviewing witnesses, including the police, assuming one came to the scene of the accident, subpoenaing important documents, including from the trucker, and obtaining surveillance footage that may have captured the accident.

In addition, The Jackman Law Firm can help you:

  • Obtain money for medical bills
  • Obtain money for pain and suffering
  • Obtain money for lost wages
  • Obtain money for out of pocket expenses

The Jackman Law Firm has handled many trucking cases and we know how to prove the trucker and the trucking company likely caused the accident that resulted in your injuries. Put our experience and hard work to test and see the results you can achieve.

Feel free to call for a free consultation today.

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