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jackknife truck

It’s no surprise that large truck accidents are extremely dangerous, with the potential to result in very severe injuries. But did you know that there are different types of truck accidents? Cars and passenger vehicles can get into several different types of accidents, such as head on collisions, T-bone accidents, and more. Large trucks are the same way in this regard. One of the most dangerous types of big rig crashes is a jackknife truck accident.

At Reich & Binstock, we have considerable experience handling jackknife truck accidents. When a truck jackknifes, it is often the result of negligence from the truck driver, mechanic, trucking company, or another party. If you were injured in a jackknife accident, you deserve compensation for the damages you suffered. To schedule a free consultation with a Houston truck accident lawyer, please call Reich & Binstock at 713-622-7271 today.

What Is Jackknifing?

If you’ve ever driven on a highway, interstate, or major roadway, chances are you’ve seen a large truck with a trailer attached. There are many names for these large commercial vehicles, including tractor trailer, big rig, semi truck, and more. A jackknifing truck accident occurs when the cab (the front portion of a towing vehicle) and the trailer are no longer in alignment, meaning the trailer swings wide to form a 90-degree angle with the cab. These accidents can also occur when the cab swings backward.

Why Is It Called Jackknifing?

jackknife truck accident

The term jackknifing comes from the name of a particular type of knife. Knives that have folding blades are called jackknives. Perhaps the most common example of a jackknife is a pocket knife. When a truck bends at the point where the cab attaches to the trailer, it is called jackknifing, as the motion of the truck mimics the motion of a jackknife.

What Causes Jackknife Truck Accidents?

Jackknife accidents are extremely dangerous, not only because they involve large semi trucks, but also because they can completely block major highways. So what are the causes of jackknife accidents?

In many cases, faulty brakes are the culprit. If a truck is not properly maintained by a trucking company, this could open the door for serious accidents. On the other hand, truck drivers can also be held liable. For example, let’s say that a truck driver is following a passenger vehicle too closely. If something happens, they likely will not have enough space to brake properly, causing them to apply the brakes harder than they should.

When a truck’s brakes are applied too hard and too fast, this can lock up the truck’s front axles. However, the attached trailer will continue to move, swinging around the cab in a jackknife motion. This can result in an accident that spans multiple lanes of traffic, causing serious injuries to those involved.

Is a Jackknife a Preventable Accident?

In many cases, yes. Accidents involving passenger vehicles, semi trucks, and other vehicles are often the result of negligence. In other words, safe driving practices can help reduce the risk of jackknife accidents, but cannot eliminate it completely. Mistakes can still happen, and even the safest drivers can become truck accident victims. The most common mistakes that lead to jackknifing truck accident cases include the following.

  • Improper or late braking
  • Excessive speeding
  • Driver intoxication
  • Truck driver fatigue
  • Mechanical failure
  • Inadequate experience or training
  • Unbalanced load in the trailer
  • Defective vehicle parts
  • Poor weather or road conditions

Who Is Liable in a Jackknife Truck Accident?

jack knife truck

This heavily depends on the facts of your case. Without a proper evaluation from a personal injury attorney, it can be difficult to determine fault after jackknife crashes. Due to the nature of these cases, there are many potentially liable parties, including the following.

  • Truck driver
  • Passenger cars
  • Trucking company
  • Owners of the trucks
  • Manufacturer of defective parts
  • Maintenance and repair crews
  • Cargo loaders

After you’re involved in a serious accident, it is crucial that you speak with a seasoned attorney. We offer an initial free legal consultation in which we evaluate the facts of your case and advise you on the best course of action. Our attorneys can help you seek compensation for your losses after a serious jackknife accident.

Types of Injuries Caused by Jackknifing Tractor Trailers

Many truck accidents result in serious injuries because of the size and weight of big rigs. Those involved in jackknifing accidents could sustain the following injuries.

  • Neck injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Head trauma and TBIs
  • Broken bones
  • Internal injuries
  • Severe bruising
  • Crushing injuries
  • Disfigurement
  • Wrongful death

Who Can Sue in a Fatal Jack Knife Crash?

In non-fatal jackknife accident cases, the accident victim can sue those deemed responsible for their injuries. But who files a lawsuit if the person driving the passenger vehicle dies from the accident? Generally, a representative of the deceased person can file a wrongful death claim rather than a personal injury claim. Some potential plaintiffs in these cases include spouses, immediate family members, parents, and others.

What to Do if You’ve Been Involved in a Jackknife Car Accident

jack knife accident

After any accident involving a jackknifing truck, it’s important to understand how to handle the aftermath. We recommend taking the following steps after trucks jackknife and cause a crash.

  • Check yourself and others for injuries. Call for immediate medical care if anyone is injured.
  • Call the police so they can write up an official police report about the incident. Get a copy of this police report as evidence for your claim.
  • Take pictures and videos not only of the damage to your vehicle, but also of your injuries. Bruises fade and injuries heal, so capturing the extent of the damage when it is fresh is the best course of action.
  • Move your car out of the roadway if possible. This is often not an option if the jackknifing trailer blocks multiple lanes of traffic, so only move your vehicle if it is safe to do so.
  • Speak to witnesses. Write down their names and contact information so that your attorney may contact them later.
  • Seek medical attention, even if you don’t see any visible injuries. Many injuries do not show symptoms until later, so seeing a doctor as soon as possible will connect your injuries more closely with the accident.
  • Speak to an experienced semi truck accident lawyer. This will ensure that your case is handled correctly from the start, giving you a better chance of a successful outcome.

Do I Need a Jackknife Crash Attorney?

While you are not required to work with an attorney, we strongly recommend doing so. Truck drivers and trucking companies often have teams of lawyers on your side. This makes it extremely difficult for victims to hold the liable party accountable for their damages. Working with seasoned attorneys, however, can give you the edge you need in settlement negotiations and in court, if necessary.

How Do Truck Accident Lawyers Calculate a Settlement?

Without speaking with a lawyer about your claim, it is very difficult to determine an estimate of what your claim is worth. Due to the serious nature of tractor trailer crashes, many of these cases involve large settlements. But what goes into determining the value of a claim?

Our attorneys will investigate the facts of your case and calculate the damages you suffered as a result. In order to calculate the approximate value of your claim, we will add together the values of the following damages.

  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Emotional distress
  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Wrongful death

Deadline for Jackknife Truck Accident Claims

jackknife truck accidents

It’s important to understand that nearly every personal injury claim has what is known as a statute of limitations. This is the latest possible time for an accident victim to file a claim for fair compensation after an accident happens. After the statute of limitations passes, jackknife accident victims are barred from pursuing compensation.

We recommend scheduling a free case evaluation with a seasoned personal injury lawyer about your claim. This will give you a better idea of how long you have to pursue compensation for your losses. In Texas, victims have just two years to file a lawsuit. The reason for these limitations is to keep the evidence as fresh as possible.

It’s important to ensure that you receive immediate medical care after an accident. Treating your injuries and prioritizing your health is always the most important thing, but don’t wait too long before filing your claim. The longer you wait, the more the reliability of your evidence will dwindle. Speak with a jackknife accident lawyer as soon as possible to give your case a better chance at success.

Contact a Michigan Truck Accident Attorney Today

At Reich & Binstock, we make it our top priority to fight for the rights of jackknifing truck accident victims. With the help of our seasoned attorneys, you can gain a better understanding of the claims process, gather enough evidence to build a strong case, and gain insight into what your case is worth. We can even work with the trucking insurance company, as well as your own insurance company. That way, you can focus on recovery while we focus on securing compensatory damages on your behalf.

To schedule your free consultation with us, please call our office at 713-622-7271 or fill out our online intake form.