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Jackknife Truck Accidents

A jackknife truck accident occurs when a large truck or trailer skids and the trailer swings out, forming an acute angle with the tractor resembling a folding pocket knife. These accidents are particularly dangerous as they often lead to significant destruction and serious injury on the road. Understanding more about these accidents and how a lawyer can help is essential if you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence.

Jackknife Truck Accidents

Causes of Jackknife Truck Accidents

Jackknife accidents can be caused by a variety of factors that disrupt the safe operation of large trucks, often leading to hazardous conditions on the road. Here are some common causes:

Improper Braking: Rapid or improper application of brakes can cause a truck’s trailer to skid and form an angle with the cab.

Speeding: Excess speed reduces reaction time and increases braking distances needed, contributing to jackknifing situations.

Equipment Failure: Defective or poorly maintained brake systems can lead to a loss of control over the trailer.

Poor Road Conditions: Slippery roads due to rain, ice, or spilled substances increase the risk of a truck’s wheels losing traction and jackknifing.

Sharp Turns: Taking turns too sharply at high speeds may cause the trailer’s momentum to pull away from the truck cab in an uncontrolled manner.

Inexperienced Truck Driver: Driver inexperience can contribute to miscalculated maneuvers and difficulty responding appropriately to traffic conditions, which might initiate a jackknife scenario.

Fatigue: Long hours on the road without adequate breaks often result in reduced alertness and slower reaction times, which can contribute to improper handling of the truck and increase the risk of a jackknife accident.

If you or someone you know has been injured in this type of accident, reaching out for legal support can help you determine the cause and who is responsible.

Who Could Be Liable in Jackknife Truck Accidents?

Understanding liability in jackknife truck accidents involves examining multiple parties whose actions, or lack thereof, could have contributed to the occurrence and severity of the accident. Here is a breakdown:

Truck Drivers

Truck drivers may be found liable if their actions led to the jackknife incident. This can include sudden braking, improper handling of the vehicle under adverse weather conditions, or negligent driving behaviors such as speeding or driving under the influence.

Trucking Companies

The companies employing truck drivers have a responsibility to ensure their fleet is maintained properly and that their drivers are adequately trained. Failure in either of these areas can contribute to a jackknife accident, making the company liable.

Vehicle Manufacturers

If a mechanical failure, such as brakes malfunctioning, contributed to the accident, the manufacturer of the vehicle or the defective part may be held responsible for the accident. 

Government Entities 

In instances where road design or maintenance played a significant role in an accident, local or state government entities could be found liable. It is their duty to ensure roads are safe for all vehicles, including commercial trucks.

Other Drivers

Other drivers besides the truck driver could also be found liable in jackknife truck accidents. For example, if a car suddenly cuts off a truck, causing the driver to make a sudden maneuver that leads to the jackknife, that car’s driver may be held accountable.

If you’ve been injured by a jackknife truck accident, securing legal representation is crucial.

How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help

After a truck accident, having an experienced lawyer by your side can be invaluable. They help navigate trucking accident claims by taking the following steps:

Investigate and Gather Evidence: Your legal team will scrutinize the details of the accident and gather evidence, like witness statements, photos of the scene, and video footage if available. 

Negotiate With Insurance Companies: Truck accident lawyers are skilled negotiators who can communicate with insurers on your behalf. They understand the tactics these companies use and fiercely advocate for a settlement that covers the full extent of your damages.

Interpret Laws and Regulations: The trucking industry is heavily regulated, and attorneys knowledgeable in this field understand regulations and state laws. They will evaluate how these may affect your case and work to prove violations.

Calculate Damages: Your attorney will assess the full scope of your losses to arrive at an accurate amount that you’re entitled to so nothing is left on the table. 

Represent You in Court: If settlement negotiations fail, a Phoenix truck accident lawyer will take your case to trial.

In the aftermath of an accident, the support of a personal injury lawyer is critical in seeking justice and compensation. For help, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.