Jackknife Truck Accidents

Just the name “jackknife truck accident” sounds like something nobody wants to be involved in. These incidents often result in major injuries and property damage for those involved, particularly those inside smaller passenger vehicles caught up in the accident. Here, we want to properly define a Jackknife truck accident, discuss their causes, and review whether or not you may need an attorney for these particular types of incidents.

Jackknife Truck Accidents

What is a Jackknife Accident?

A jackknife accident occurs when a large truck, such as a semi-trailer or tractor-trailer, folds in on itself at the point where the trailer connects to the cab, forming a sharp angle similar to a folding jackknife. This type of accident is particularly dangerous and often results in significant traffic disruptions and severe injuries. It typically involves only the truck itself, but it can become much more hazardous if the truck collides with other vehicles or obstacles as a result of jackknifing.

What Causes Jackknife Accidents?

Jackknife accidents can be triggered by a variety of factors, often related to driver actions, vehicle conditions, and environmental circumstances:

  • Sudden braking. If the driver brakes suddenly and forcefully, the trailer may continue to move forward while the cab slows down, causing the trailer to swing out and form an angle.
  • Speeding. Driving at excessive speeds increases the likelihood of jackknifing, especially in emergency braking situations or when navigating curves.
  • Poor road conditions. Slippery roads from rain, ice, or snow can reduce the traction of the truck’s tires, making it harder for the driver to maintain control and increasing the risk of a jackknife.
  • Equipment malfunction. Faulty brakes or other mechanical failures can lead to unexpected responses from the truck, contributing to jackknifing.
  • Improper loading. Incorrectly loaded or unbalanced cargo can shift the center of gravity of the trailer, making it unstable and prone to swinging out during maneuvers.
  • Driver error. Lack of experience, fatigue, or not adjusting driving techniques to match road and weather conditions can lead to mistakes that cause the truck to jackknife.

Determining Liability After a Jackknife Collision in Tennessee

Determining who is at fault in a jackknife accident in Tennessee involves a detailed investigation into the many aspects of the incident. The evidence used to determine liability will be gathered not only at the scene of the incident but also by examining records and documents in the days, weeks, and months that follow the incident. Ultimately, the most common liable parties after a jackknife truck accident include:

  • Truck driver. The driver could be liable if their negligence, such as speeding, improper braking, or not adjusting to road conditions, caused the accident.
  • Trucking company. If the accident was caused by factors like inadequate driver training, poor truck maintenance, or enforcing unrealistic driving schedules, the trucking company might be held responsible.
  • Maintenance service providers/companies. Companies responsible for the maintenance of the truck could be liable if a mechanical failure that contributed to the accident was due to improper maintenance or repairs.
  • Cargo loaders. If improper loading of the truck’s cargo led to the accident, the cargo loading company might be liable for failing to properly secure the load correctly.
  • Parts manufacturers. If a defective part, such as brake failure, played a role in the truck collision, the manufacturer of that part could also be held accountable.
  • Other drivers. Sometimes, actions from other drivers on the road, like cutting off a truck or erratic driving, can force truck drivers into emergency maneuvers that result in a jackknife.

Each of these entities could be responsible, alone or in combination with others, for a jackknife accident. Legal experts specializing in truck accidents can help determine all liable parties by gathering evidence, consulting with experts, and reconstructing the accident scenario. 

What Common Injuries Can Occur?

Unfortunately, jackknife truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries for drivers and passengers in regular vehicles, as well as for motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians involved in these incidents. Some of the most common injuries associated with jackknife truck accidents in Tennessee include:

  • Significant soft tissue trauma
  • Internal bleeding or organ damage
  • Concussions
  • Whiplash
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord trauma
  • Fractured bones
  • Crush injuries or amputations
  • Severe lacerations

Truck accident victims are also likely to experience significant emotional and psychological trauma associated with these types of incidents. This can include prolonged symptoms of anxiety, fear, and stress, and even symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How Can a Truck Accident Attorney Help?

Understanding the ins and outs of a truck accident claim in Tennessee can be challenging, and you should not have to understand every bit of it. After a jackknife truck accident, your focus should be on recovering from your injuries and getting your life back to normal. A truck accident lawyer in Nashville will help handle every part of your claim so you can focus on what comes next. Your attorney will:

  • Help communicate every detail of the claim to you in a way that is easily understandable
  • Ensure you are evaluated by trusted medical and economic professionals
  • Conduct a thorough investigation into the collision to gather the evidence needed to prove liability
  • Handle all negotiations with the insurance carriers or attorneys for the other parties
  • Meticulously preparing your claim for trial to ensure you are taken seriously by all other parties

Your lawyer can help you recover compensation if another party caused the accident. Even though these claims are challenging, that should not deter victims from seeking rightful compensation from a truck driver, trucking company, or another responsible party. Victims may be able to receive compensation for:

  • All medical bills associated with the jackknife truck injuries
  • Lost wages if a victim is unable to work
  • Property damage expenses and rental vehicle costs
  • Out-of-pocket expenses are rising due to the injuries
  • Physical pain and suffering damages
  • Emotional and psychological distress damages

The total amount of compensation available for accident victims after a successful claim will vary depending on factors related to each particular situation. Your lawyer will fight vigorously to help you recover the compensation you need in a timely manner.