Truck jackknife accidents are one of the most dangerous types of accidents that can happen on the road. When a large commercial truck jackknifes, the driver can lose control of the vehicle potentially leading to a multi-vehicle collision. Jackknife accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, and due to the size and weight of these trucks, the damage caused by a jackknife accident are often severe. The injuries sustained by those involved can be catastrophic.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck jackknife accident, it’s important to seek the help of an experienced Savannah truck accident lawyer who can help you navigate the complex legal process and fight for your rights. A skilled lawyer can investigate the accident, determine who was at fault, and hold all responsible parties accountable for their actions. They can also work to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf and, if necessary, take your case to trial to get you the compensation you deserve.
What is a truck jackknife accident?
A jackknife accident occurs when a semi-truck skids, and the trailer swings out to one side, forming a V or L shape with the cab of the truck. The term “jackknife” refers to the way the trailer folds up like a pocket knife. When this happens, the truck driver loses control of the vehicle and it can collide with other cars, buildings, or objects on the road.
In 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported 2,027 fatalities caused by large truck jackknife accidents. And according to the National Safety Council, “in 2021, 5,700 large trucks were involved in a fatal crash, an 18% increase from 2020 and a 49% increase in the last 10 years.”
What causes truck jackknife accidents?
Several factors can cause truck jackknife accidents. One of the leading causes is poor weather conditions such as rain, snow, or ice. The wet or icy road makes it difficult for the driver to stop or control the truck’s speed, leading to a jackknife accident.
Another possible cause of jackknife accidents is equipment failure. This can occur due to brake failure or problems with the truck’s tires or steering mechanism. In some cases, improper loading of cargo can cause a truck to jackknife, particularly if the weight is unevenly distributed.
Driver error is another significant potential cause of jackknife accidents. This can occur due to inexperienced or untrained drivers, distracted driving, or fatigue. Drivers may jackknife their trucks due to overcorrection, excessive speeding, or sudden lane changes.
In the Georgia Department of Transportation Commercial Driver’s Manual 2021-2022 (Section 2.19.1 and Figure 2.29), “Drive-wheel Skids” is a term used to describe the most common cause of jackknifing in tractor-trailers. Excessive braking can cause the rear brakes on the trailer to lock-up, leading to the trailer swinging around and forming a V-shape with the tractor.
This hazardous situation can occur when the driver misjudges oncoming traffic while turning left or when a right-hand turn comes up unexpectedly, resulting in sudden braking. The severity of jackknifing lies in the difficulty of regaining control over the truck, and the possibility of the jackknifed tractor-trailer colliding with oncoming traffic, leading to an accident. In such cases, seeking legal assistance from a Savannah truck accident lawyer can prove to be crucial in obtaining the compensation deserved for the injuries sustained.
Why are truck jackknife accidents so dangerous?
Truck jackknife accidents are dangerous for several reasons. First, the size and weight of the truck can cause significant damage to other cars, buildings, or objects on the road. The trailer can swing out uncontrollably and collide with anything in its path. Additionally, when a truck jackknifes, it often blocks multiple lanes of traffic leading to further accidents and pileups.
Second, a truck jackknife can cause severe injuries or fatalities to the driver and other motorists. When a truck collides with another car, the smaller vehicle often bears the brunt of the impact leading to catastrophic injuries or death.
How do people get hurt in truck jackknife accidents?
People can get hurt in truck jackknife accidents in several ways. If the truck collides with another car, the driver and passengers in that car may suffer from serious injuries such as broken bones, burns, brain injury, or spinal cord injuries. If the car is at the right angle, it can easily slide underneath the truck; this is called an underride collision and the impact can be enough to crush the front and top of the car. In some cases, the collision can be fatal.
In addition to collisions, people can also get hurt in truck jackknife accidents due to secondary collisions. When a truck jackknifes and blocks multiple lanes of traffic, other cars may collide with the truck or with each other while attempting to avoid the accident. These secondary collisions can also cause catastrophic injuries or fatalities to those involved.
How can a Savannah lawyer help after a truck jackknife accident?
The attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton LLP will investigate the accident, gather evidence, and determine who is liable for your injuries or losses. Fault may lie with the driver, the manufacturing company, the trucking company, or even all of the above. We will also negotiate with insurance companies and other parties on your behalf to ensure you receive fair compensation for your damages. Our attorneys have secured substantial verdicts and settlements on behalf of truck accident victims in Georgia, including a recent award of $27 million on behalf of a woman who sustained multiple injuries because of a negligent driver.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck jackknife accident, call Harris Lowry Manton LLP in Savannah or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We are here to help you navigate the legal process and fight for your rights. We maintain an additional office in Atlanta.
One of the nation’s top trial attorneys, Jeff Harris is an award-winning litigator who handles high-profile, complex cases across a wide variety of practice areas. He excels at securing justice for clients who have been seriously injured or killed, holding responsible parties accountable for their actions as well as their negligence.
Read more about Jeffrey R. Harris here.