A jackknife truck accident occurs when the truck driver suddenly depresses the brakes. The cab of the truck stops and, due to forward momentum, the attached trailer continues to move. A second trailer may add to the forward momentum. As a result, the trailer twists to the side. The result is a V-shape that resembles a jackknife.
Jackknife accidents are likely to occur without warning. Due to the trailer’s size, a jackknife accident poses a substantial hazard to motorists in proximity. Motorists in adjacent lanes may be struck. Resulting blocks or additional crashes may result from the jackknife accident.
Even if the other motorists on the road have quick reflexes and avoid direct impact with the trailer, cargo on the truck may cause additional accidents and blocked lanes.
In some jackknife accidents, the truck driver or employer contributes to or causes the crash. A careless or distracted driver or poor truck maintenance may contribute to a horrifying jackknife accident. There are many causes of jackknife truck accidents, including:
- The driver brakes too hard
- The driver suddenly brakes on an icy or wet road surface
- The driver brakes improperly when making a curve
- The driver overly accelerates in current conditions
- The truck may have mechanical or balance problems, such as with the brakes
Parties responsible for a jackknife accident might include the driver of the truck, drivers in other vehicles, a carrier or other vendor responsible for truck maintenance, the cargo shipper or recipient.
If the driver or trucking company-carrier is negligent, then parties harmed in the jackknife accident may pursue compensation claims. In order to make a successful claim, the injured victim(s) must prove that the defendant’s negligence caused the jackknife accident.
Motor vehicle accidents involving large vehicles like tractor-trailer trucks cause life-altering injuries to thousands of people every year. A jackknife accident is often a devastating one, especially when multiple passenger cars, trucks, or motorcycles are involved. Size and weight differences between the passenger vehicle and a commercial big rig or semi are significant. People in SUVs or passenger vehicles are likely to suffer serious bodily injuries and death when involved in a commercial truck accident.