Any motor vehicle crash involving a commercial truck is dangerous, but jackknife truck accidents may be the most dangerous because they often involve multiple passenger vehicles. The commercial truck driver also has no control over the vehicle when the trailer jackknifes away from the cab.
If you were injured in this type of truck accident in the Windsor area or elsewhere in the province, Greg Monforton and Partners may be able to help you seek compensation. We represent truck accident victims on contingency, which means there are no upfront costs. An initial consultation with a Windsor truck accident lawyer is also free of charge.
Below, we discuss why truck jackknife accidents happen, and how drivers and other parties may be liable for them.
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What Happens in a Jackknife Accident?
These kinds of truck crashes get their name because the trailer swings forward the way a pocketknife closes.
These accidents often happen when drivers use their emergency brakes and they lock up. This can cause the cab to skid. While the cabin stops moving, the trailer may still have enough momentum to push it forward. Sometimes the trailer not only moves forward but swings out to the side. The trailer is fixed to the cab with a hitch, so there is always a risk the trailer could move independent of the cabin.
The trailer swinging forward is dangerous enough, but there is also a risk of the truck rolling over during a jackknife accident.
Why Do Jackknife Truck Crashes Occur?
It is important to understand what exactly is occurring during a jackknife accident. However, it is also important to understand the sequence of events that led to the crash, as negligence is often involved. For example, why did the driver slam on the brakes? Is it because he or she was not paying attention and had to quickly hit the brakes to prevent a rear-end collision?
There could also be mechanical failures at play. For example, the brakes may have locked up because they were old and in disrepair. There may also be problems with the steering mechanism.
If the trailer is carrying too much weight or is carrying cargo that was unevenly distributed, there may be a higher risk of a jackknife accident.
Wet or icy roads can make it harder for drivers to slow down, stop or control the truck’s speed. However, drivers are supposed to account for these things when they go out on the road. Sometimes drivers overcorrect when the road is wet or icy, and this can be disastrous.
There is also a possibility of a defective part playing a role in a crash, such as the brakes or a steering component.
Risks of a Truck JackKnife Crash
Any time a commercial truck driver loses control of the vehicle, there is a risk for a severe collision. This is especially true during jackknife collisions. Another danger with these collisions is cars getting pulled under the trailer. These are referred to as underride collisions. The trailer can crush the top and front of a passenger vehicle, often resulting in fatal injuries to the vehicle occupants.
Jackknife accidents are more likely to happen on roads with higher speed limits. That means a greater force of impact and a greater likelihood for more severe injuries.
Traveling at a higher speed makes it harder to avoid a collision. The problem with a jackknife collision is that cars in multiple lanes of traffic may be trying to avoid a collision with the trailer of the commercial truck. This is why jackknife collisions often turn into multi-vehicle pileups, with many people sustaining serious injuries. Even if you do not get into a collision with the trailer, you might get into a crash with another vehicle whose driver was attempting to avoid an accident.
Who May Be Liable For This Type of Truck Accident?
Commercial truck drivers are often liable for these collisions, as they were somehow negligent behind the wheel. For example, drivers may have been:
- Impaired by alcohol
- Following another car too closely
- Driving too fast, given the road and weather conditions
- Driving a truck with faulty brakes – even though it may not have been the driver’s job to fix the brakes, he or she should not continue driving if the brakes are obviously not working as they should
- Driving an overloaded truck that is harder to control
Some truck drivers may blame their lack of experience behind the wheel, but that is no excuse. If a driver caused a crash through negligence, he or she can be held liable, regardless of the amount of experience he or she has behind the wheel.
Inexperienced drivers may blame the crash on the emergency brakes, but trucks often have multiple brakes. This includes the brakes in the steering axle, brakes in the trailer axle and in the drive axles. Experienced drivers know how to apply the appropriate set of brakes to reduce the risk of a crash. Failing to use the appropriate brakes is another example of truck driver negligence.
However, the driver is not the only party that could be held liable for a jackknife truck accident. Sometimes the loading of the trailer is outsourced to a third-party. If cargo was not loaded properly or was improperly secured, and this caused the crash, the cargo-loading company may be liable.
The trucking company or the entity responsible for the maintenance of the truck may also be held liable for the accident. For instance, maybe one or both of these parties failed to properly maintain the brakes.
Contact Greg Monforton and Partners to Set Up a Free Consultation
Truck accidents can cause devastating injuries that may affect victims for the rest of their lives. One of the worst parts about these accidents is that many could have been prevented. They were caused by the negligence of the driver or another party.
If negligence was involved, victims may be able to pursue compensation for their medical care and other damages at no upfront cost. Greg Monforton and Partners helps truck crash victims hold negligent parties accountable and secure compensation to help them move forward after a devastating crash.
Zero upfront costs. Call today: (866) 320-4770.