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Jackknife Truck Accident Lawyers

A jackknife truck accident, also known as a jackknife collision or jackknifing, is a dangerous type of accident that involves a truck and its trailer skidding out of control and collapsing at a sharp angle, resembling the shape of a folding pocket knife.

These accidents occur when the trailer portion of the truck swings out to one side, perpendicular to the cab, creating a V- or L-shaped formation. This puts the vehicle in a precarious position, often leading to a complete loss of control and potential collision with other vehicles or objects on the road.

The main cause of jackknife truck accidents is sudden loss of traction between the truck’s tires and the road surface. A range of factors, such as slick or icy roads, excessive speed, sudden braking, or a sudden swerving maneuver can cause this loss of traction. When the tractor-trailer loses traction, the trailer can swing out to the side, creating the jackknife effect.

Jackknife accidents are hazardous due to the unpredictability of the trailer’s movement. As the trailer swings out, it can collide with nearby vehicles, block multiple lanes of traffic, or roll over, causing severe damage, injuries, and even fatalities. Additionally, the truck driver may lose control of their vehicle, making it difficult to maneuver and potentially leading to secondary accidents involving other vehicles on the road.

Jackknife accidents are always serious, causing lots of property damage and injuries. If you’ve been involved in a jackknife accident, call the jackknife truck accident lawyers at Torgenson Law. We’ve been representing Arizona drivers for over two decades and have seen all types of accidents. Our personal injury attorneys will work with you to identify who was at fault and build a compensation case.

What Causes Jackknife Accidents?

Several causes of jackknife truck accidents include adverse weather conditions, equipment failure, driver error, and improper braking techniques.

Adverse weather conditions like rain, snow, or ice can greatly reduce traction between the tires and the road surface. This lack of traction can cause the truck wheels to lock up or slide, leading to a loss of control and a subsequent jackknife situation. Additionally, high winds can exert lateral forces on the trailer, causing it to swing out of alignment with the cab.

Equipment failure is another common cause of jackknife truck accidents. Malfunctioning brakes, faulty steering systems, or worn-out tires can undermine the driver’s ability to maintain control of the vehicle. For example, if the brakes fail or are improperly adjusted, sudden or uneven braking can cause the wheels to lock up and the trailer to swing out, resulting in a jackknife.

Driver error is often a significant factor in jackknife truck accidents. Inadequate training, fatigue, distracted driving, or excessive speed can all contribute to the driver losing control of the truck. An inexperienced or poorly trained driver may apply the brakes too hard or steer too abruptly, resulting in a jackknife. Moreover, distracted or tired drivers often have a tough time reacting to changing road conditions, increasing the likelihood of a jackknife situation.

Improper braking techniques are also a contributing cause of jackknife truck accidents. In some cases, when a truck brakes too quickly or aggressively, the trailer’s wheels may lock up while the cab continues moving forward. As a result, the trailer swings out laterally, leading to a jackknife. This can occur when a driver fails to apply the brakes gradually or does not properly adjust the braking force when navigating slippery surfaces or making sharp turns.

Common Injuries in Jackknife Truck Accidents

Common injuries caused by jackknife truck accidents can be severe and life-threatening due to the significant force of impact and the potential for multi-vehicle collisions. Some of the injuries that may occur include:

  • Whiplash. When a truck suddenly jackknifes and crashes into other vehicles, the abrupt movement can cause the neck to jerk forcefully. This can result in whiplash, which is a strain or sprain of the neck muscles and ligaments. Whiplash can cause pain, stiffness, headaches, and reduced range of motion.
  • Spinal injuries. The impact from a jackknifed truck accident can exert tremendous force on the spine, leading to fractures, herniated discs, or spinal cord damage. These injuries can cause permanent disability, paralysis, or chronic pain.
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). In a severe jackknife accident, the head can strike the windshield, steering wheel, or other objects within the vehicle. This can cause traumatic brain injuries, ranging from mild concussions to severe brain damage. TBIs can have long-lasting effects on cognitive abilities, motor skills, and overall mental function.
  • Broken bones and fractures. The forceful impact caused by a jackknife accident can cause fractures or breaks in various bones, such as the arms, legs, ribs, or pelvis. Fractures may require surgery and extensive rehabilitation, which can lead to long-term pain and impaired mobility.
  • Internal injuries. A tractor-trailer truck accident’s sudden jolt and violent impact can cause internal injuries, such as organ damage, internal bleeding, or ruptured blood vessels. These injuries may not always be immediately apparent but can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated promptly.
  • Psychological trauma. Being involved in a jackknife truck accident can have long-lasting psychological effects. Survivors may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions that require professional treatment.

Victims of jackknife truck accidents need to seek immediate medical attention and comprehensive evaluation to identify and treat any injuries. Additionally, legal advice from experienced jackknife truck accident lawyers should be sought to understand the potential for compensation for medical expenses, rehabilitation, lost wages, and pain and suffering resulting from the accident.

Who is Liable in a Jackknife Truck Accident?

In a jackknife truck accident, liability typically falls on the party or parties that were negligent or responsible for causing the accident. Due to the complexity of these accidents and the involvement of multiple factors, determining liability can be challenging. However, there are several potential parties that may be held liable in a jackknife truck accident.

The truck driver can be held liable if their negligence or careless driving led to the jackknife accident. This may include actions such as speeding, sudden braking, aggressive driving, or failure to maintain control of the truck. If the driver was intoxicated, fatigued, or distracted at the time of the accident, their liability may be heightened.

The trucking company can also be held liable in certain cases. They are responsible for the actions of their drivers if there is a failure to properly train, supervise, or monitor them. Additionally, if the trucking company didn’t maintain the vehicle in a safe condition, such as faulty brakes or inadequate maintenance, they may be held liable for the accident.

Furthermore, liability may also extend to other parties beyond just the truck driver and their company. For instance, if a defective truck part or equipment caused the accident, the manufacturer or distributor of the faulty product may be held liable. In Arizona, road maintenance authorities or other drivers involved in the accident could also be held partially responsible, depending on the circumstances.

Contact Torgenson Law

It’s important to note that determining liability in jackknife truck accidents requires a thorough investigation and analysis of the accident scene, witness statements, driver records, maintenance logs, and other relevant evidence. Consulting with experienced jackknife truck accident lawyers at Torgenson Law, who specialize in truck accidents, can help you understand your rights and navigate the legal process to hold the appropriate parties accountable.

If you have been injured in a heavy truck accident, reach out to our personal injury lawyers with extensive experience with these types of accidents. For more than two decades, Torgenson Law has protected the rights of Arizona drivers. Our attorneys work with you to evaluate your situation and build a persuasive case to compensate you for your damages. And remember, we don’t get paid unless we win you compensation for your injuries. For a free and confidential evaluation, call us at 602-726-0747 and let us get justice for you and your loved ones.

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