Jackknifing

When a tractor-trailer is involved in an accident, the parties involved are lucky to get out alive. The massive weight and size of tractor-trailers make them especially deadly in accidents. A standard motor vehicle is simply no match for a large truck.

Jackknifing accidents are extremely dangerous. In a jackknifing accident, the trailer of a truck becomes unstable and swings to one side. The tractor and the trailer may end up facing opposite directions in a jackknifing situation. When a truck jackknifes, the trailer may collide with other cars, or the truck may actually flip over. Clearly, these incidents can quickly lead to an accident with multiple vehicles.

What causes jackknife accidents?

In most cases, mechanical failure, bad road conditions, or improper braking causes jackknifing.

With mechanical failure, a truck driver or trucking company may still be held liable for an accident. For example, if mechanical failure could have been avoided with proper maintenance on a truck, the truck driver and the trucking company could be held liable. If the brakes are not properly maintained, a jackknifing accident may result.

If jackknifing results from bad road conditions, the driver may be liable if he was traveling too fast for conditions. Even if a truck driver is traveling at the posted speed limit, he may still receive a citation for traveling too fast for conditions if he was driving too fast in snow, ice, fog, rain, or other situations in which a slower speed is safer. The odds of a jackknifing accident increase significantly if a truck is speeding through such conditions, since the trailer may begin to slip and slide.

Truck drivers must exercise due diligence when they drive. They must be on the lookout for other vehicles, pedestrians, road debris, and other road hazards. Tractor-trailers take much longer to stop than do standard motor vehicles. If truck drivers attempt to stop suddenly, jackknifing is a likely result.

Damages victims in trucking accidents may seek

Truck accident victims may suffer a variety of damages. These often include:

  • Medical bills, such as emergency room bills, physical therapy bills, prescriptions, chiropractor bills, and other necessary care
  • Lost wages from time missed from work
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium, which is sought when a spouse or child loses the benefit of the victim’s relationship
  • Emotional distress
  • The cost of future medical care
  • The cost of making alterations to one’s home, such as wheelchair ramps
  • Either one or all of these types of damages may be sought. Objective records that clearly show the damages a victim has suffered in a truck accident must be provided in order to recover in a personal injury claim.

Let our truck accident attorneys help you recover the compensation you deserve

At Stein & Shulman, our injury attorneys have over four decades of combined experience in truck accident claims. During our free consultation, you will find out what your legal options are. To schedule your free consultation, call us at (312) 422-0500.