What Exactly Is a Jackknife Accident?

Jackknife accidents occur when a semi-truck or similar commercial motor vehicle’s trailer slides to the side and moves even with the cab somewhat like a jackknife opening. This creates a 90-degree formation of the cab and trailer with the potential for dangerous accidents.

Drivers near a truck that has jackknifed often have little or no time to react. This can cause multi-car pileups that lead to injuries or even death. Those involved in jackknife truck accidents should contact an experienced lawyer for possible recovery of damages or loss.

Frequent Causes of Jackknife Accidents

Trucks typically jackknife from traffic conditions such as having to slam on the brake, which causes the part of the truck where the trailer and cab meet to pivot. Factors that can increase the chances of a jackknife accident include:

  • Winding roads
  • Rain, snow, or other inclement weather
  • Driving too fast for conditions
  • Malfunctions such as brake failure
  • Driver error or other negligent actions

Common Injuries Involved in Jackknife Accidents

Several frequently reported injuries in a truck accident include:

  • Cuts and contusions.
  • Traumatic brain injuries.
  • Spinal cord injuries.
  • Internal organ damage.
  • Burns, should the accident cause fire. Many commercial vehicles transport hazardous and flammable materials.

Families can suffer catastrophic losses after a truck accident. The good news is an experienced attorney can give families a better chance at maximum recovery of losses and damages.

Who Is Responsible in Jackknife Accidents?

Personal injury claims resulting from a truck accident are different than regular auto crashes. This is because, in the case of a commercial vehicle, there may be multiple parties responsible for the accident rather than just another driver.

A court can hold truck drivers liable in several types of accidents. Some of these circumstances include if he or she was violating rules about how many hours a person may drive on the road before taking a break to rest, disobeying traffic laws, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Sometimes, however, there are other liable parties in jackknife truck accidents. This may include the truck company itself, which has a legal responsibility to vet drivers and verify their experience or see that new employees have sufficient training to handle the vehicle and loads they will be responsible for. Trucking companies must also maintain a safe fleet of trucks with regular maintenance to ensure the truck is safe to operate. Truck accident lawyers will be able to obtain vital documentation regarding truck maintenance schedules. They can also determine if the driver was keeping the electronic log where they record the hours they drive and rest and determine if they were following the rules and not driving drowsy.

Many times accidents involve a combination of driver error and trucking company irresponsibility. It may be that a defective part on the truck failed and the part manufacturer is partially responsible for the accident. It takes an experienced truck accident attorney to determine the defendants from whom compensation can be sought. Those injured or who have a loved one injured in a trucking accident should contact an experienced attorney for the chance of compensation from all potential liable parties.

Filing a Claim or Lawsuit for Jackknife Accidents

A person injured in a truck accident should begin the process of seeking compensation as soon as possible after the incident. This is because Tennessee law limits the amount of time victims, or the family of victims, may file a claim to seek compensation after accidents. The claimant must file a claim in the mandated time period or he or she may lose the right to any compensation.

The first thing an injured party should do after an accident is to seek medical attention. Not only is this vital for one’s health and well-being, it is also essential to document exactly what kind of harm resulted from the jackknife accident.

A successful case can result in compensation for the following expenses, damages, and losses:

  • Medical costs including ambulance, extended hospital care, or related medical procedures.
  • Physical therapy following an injury.
  • Follow-up visits and treatment following an injury.
  • Lost wages and income.
  • Ongoing medical care costs following an accident.
  • Pain and suffering.

The lawyers at Larry R. Williams understand the unique circumstances of Nashville area truck accidents. Contact our team of trusted attorneys today. We will work aggressively to get you the compensation you deserve.