How Dangerous Are Jackknife Truck Accidents?

October 25, 2021

jackknife truck accidents
jackknife truck accidents

Commercial trucks are massive vehicles that weigh much more than standard cars. Passing by a commercial truck can be intimidating for some drivers. Those fears are often justified because commercial vehicles can cause serious truck accidents.

There are many different types of truck accidents, but one certain type is particularly dangerous: jackknife truck accidents. Jackknife truck accidents happen when the trailer swings out, usually because of a slippery road or the driver hitting the brakes too hard. This leaves the semi-truck in a jackknife position. Since the truck driver has lost control of the trailer, this type of accident is incredibly dangerous, often causing serious injuries or even death.

Any accident involving a massive truck has the potential to cause death or life-altering injuries. The most common jackknife truck accident injuries include:

  • Burns
  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Internal bleeding
  • Organ damage
  • Amputation
  • Paralysis

Each of these injuries can cause a lifetime of bills and medical care. It is also very likely that you suffer multiple injuries, compounding the amount of time it will take for you to recover and increasing the amount of money you will need to pay for treatment.

How Do Jackknife Truck Accidents Happen?

When a tractor-trailer jackknifes, cars in nearby lanes are in great danger. This is the case because the trailer will swing around the cab of the truck, potentially slamming into vehicles on either side of the large commercial vehicle.

One common cause of jackknife truck accidents is hazardous road conditions, including inclement weather. Slick roads make for hazardous conditions for a semi-truck, especially at high speeds. When a driver is going too fast for poor road conditions, they may not be able to slow down in time to avoid a collision. If they try to slow down, that could send the trailer swinging out of control.

Other causes of jackknife truck accidents occur when a driver is not paying attention. Distracted driving is a problem for everyone, and that problem is only intensified when the driver who is distracted is a truck driver. When the truck driver is not paying attention to the road, they could be startled and hit the brakes quickly. This action can cause the trailer to swing out of control, resulting in a serious jackknife truck accident.

Who Could Be Liable for a Jackknife Truck Accident?

With any truck accident, there are many potential liable parties, which is different than a standard collision. There could also be multiple causes of the collision, meaning that you could attempt to hold more than one person or company responsible for the jackknife truck accident. Listed below are possible liable parties.

Truck Driver

Often, people look to the truck driver as the liable party for an accident. They could have hit the brakes too quickly or drove too fast, which would cause the truck to jackknife. The truck driver could be responsible for a jackknife truck accident, but there are other possible liable parties.

Trucking Company

The trucking company that employs the truck driver could also hold responsibility for the jackknife accident. Truck drivers require a special license and training. If a company does not ensure the driver has the right license and does not give the driver adequate training, they could also be liable for your accident and injuries.

Maintenance Company

Trucks are large vehicles with various moving parts that require constant maintenance. Not only is the truck owner responsible for making sure the truck is in safe working condition, the maintenance company that operates on the truck could also be responsible for the accident.

If a maintenance company missed a clear sign of a problem or installed brakes incorrectly, that could lead to a jackknife accident. The individual maintenance technician could also be held liable in some cases.

Truck Manufacturer

Before sending a completed truck to a customer, the truck manufacturer must ensure that the vehicle is in safe working condition. Quality control is vital to keeping everyone safe on the road. If a truck manufacturer did not conduct this quality inspection or did not assemble the parts correctly, those actions could cause a jackknife truck accident.

Parts Manufacturer

Just like the truck manufacturer is required to make sure each truck is safe to operate, each parts manufacturer is also responsible for ensuring safety. If they provide a defective part to a truck manufacturer, the parts company could be the one responsible for the jackknife truck accident.

How Are Truck Accidents Investigated?

Truck accidents are often complex. There are many potential liable parties and countless reasons for accidents. Sorting this out and finding the precise cause of your jackknife accident will require a thorough and intense investigation.

Truck accident reconstruction experts may be called in to determine the cause of your accident. These experts have the knowledge and background required to understand the complexities of how semi-trucks operate and what can make them jackknife. Using their expertise, your legal team can rely on their findings to help you find justice.

After a truck accident investigator determines the cause of your accident, you know who is responsible and who you can file a personal injury claim against. This information is crucial to making sure that you work to hold the right party responsible for the jackknife truck accident and your subsequent injuries.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim

To attempt to achieve that goal, you will need to try and collect compensation from the negligent party for your injuries. By filing a personal injury claim for damages, you might be able to collect the following damages:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Lost income
  • Lost earning potential
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Present and future medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs

Depending on the severity of your injuries, you could require a lifetime of medical care, and you may not be able to return to work. Even if you can go back to work part-time or in a reduced capacity, you have limited earning potential. It is crucial that you try to get maximum compensation so you do not have to cover your medical expenses and shoulder your financial losses alone.

Virginia applies “pure” contributory negligence, which means that even if you are one percent responsible for the accident, you are barred from collecting damages. Since the state follows strict negligence laws, it is even more important that you speak to a lawyer about your legal options after a serious jackknife truck accident. A lawyer can thoroughly investigate the case and defend your rights.

Virginia Beach Truck Accident Lawyers Help Those Injured in Jackknife Truck Accidents

Getting in an accident with a commercial truck is a traumatic experience. After a jackknife truck accident, you may not know what to do, but one of our Virginia Beach truck accident lawyers can help. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we help our clients fight powerful trucking companies, and we can defend your rights. Complete our online form or call us at 757-352-2237 to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Virginia Beach, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shore, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, Virginia, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.

381 Edwin Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Ph: 757-352-2237 | Fax: 757-352-2220