Jackknife accidents can be catastrophic for other drivers in the path of the out-of-control truck. A classic jackknife truck accident occurs when the trailer portion of a semi pivots at its hitch and swivels towards the truck cab. When this happens, the trailer passes into the neighboring lanes of traffic, and forms a "V" shape with the cab.
When jackknife accidents occur, they stretch across multiple lanes of traffic and often result in multi-car pileup accidents with large numbers of serious injuries such as broken bones, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and head injuries. Many jackknife accidents also result in fatalities.
What Causes a Jackknife Accident?
A jackknife accident can occur suddenly. The jackknifing often happens when a truck driver improperly brakes or quickly applies the truck's brakes in order to avoid a collision.
Jackknife accidents often occur due to:
- Drowsy truck drivers
- Inattentive or distracted truck drivers
- Medicated truck drivers
- Truck drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Jackknife accidents may also be caused by:
- Unbalanced or poorly loaded cargo
- Accelerating on a low friction surface
- Engine retarders
- Entering a curve too quickly
- Adverse road conditions
- Bad weather
Sometimes jackknife accidents occur because of faulty brakes, poorly-adjusted brakes, and brake failure. The suddenness of a jackknife accident doesn't give other drivers a chance to react. This can cause multi-car pile-ups and secondary accidents.
Who's Liable for a Jackknife Truck Crash?
Because a truck jackknife can be caused by a variety of factors such as driver error, mechanical failure, and road or weather conditions, it can be difficult to determine who's liable for the accident and who should pay the damages for your injuries. An experienced truck crash attorney will investigate all possible sources of compensation and make sure all liable parties pay what they owe.
Depending on the exact cause of the jackknife, some possible liable parties include the following:
- Driver’s employer
- Owner of the truck
- Party responsible for loading the truck
- Mechanic responsible for inspecting and maintaining the truck
- Manufacturer of defective part
- Government entity responsible for maintaining the roadway
It's possible that more than one of these parties is responsible for your injuries and can be required to pay damages, but you will need an attorney on your side arguing your case.
Possible Damages Following a Catastrophic Truck Accident
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may be eligible to recover a substantial amount in damages. The insurance company for the truck driver or trucking company is required to cover all of your medical expenses, including emergency treatment, hospital procedures, surgeries, doctor visits, physical therapy, long-term care, assistive devices, and other necessary procedures.
In addition, a settlement should include payment for the following:
- Lost wages. If you're unable to work while recovering from the accident, the liable party should pay your lost wages and reimburse you for any vacation or sick time you had to take.
- Pain and suffering. These non-economic damages are difficult to determine, but if you suffered a catastrophic injury that caused extreme pain, you deserve to be compensated for this suffering.
- Wrongful death. If a loved one was killed in a jackknife truck crash, as a surviving family member, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, burial expenses, loss of future income, and loss of companionship from the party or parties responsible for your accident.
Our Truck Accident Attorneys Can Help
Our accident attorneys have experience helping victims of jackknife trucking accidents. We're able to investigate the 18-wheeler crash, determine the cause of the accident, and get clients the best possible insurance compensation for injuries, lost wages, and other losses.
If you have sustained serious injuries after a collision, you need an experienced truck accident lawyer to represent you and your injury case. Contact us online or call us directly to schedule a free consultation.