Being involved in any type of automobile accident is scary and overwhelming, but when you are involved in an accident with a semi-truck, the fear and risk of serious injuries are taken to a whole new level. Each year there are thousands of injuries that are the result of a semi truck jackknife accident and many of these accidents result in fatalities. A semi-truck and trailer often weigh as much as 80,000 pounds when it is fully loaded and an illegally loaded semi-truck trailer often weighs much more. When semi-truck drivers have to make sudden stops or turns, the massive size of the trailer may jackknife, which often ends in an accident. A semi-truck jackknife accident is generally severe and may result in serious injuries or fatalities. If you have been involved in an accident with a semi-truck that jackknifed, it’s essential that you seek medical attention and contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
What is a Semi-Truck Jackknife Accident?
The trailers of a semi-truck are not permanently adhered to the cab of the truck. They are actually known as articulated vehicles, which means that the cab and the trailer are connected by way of a hitch that is under the front end of the trailer. This allows the drivers to remove the trailer for unloading at their designated stop. The hitch is basically a movable joint that provides a pivoting point used for turning. When a jackknife accident occurs, the hitch works like a hinge, so the trailer continues to move and pivot on the “hinge”, which swings it around toward the cab, resembling a pocket knife. Jackknifing causes a shift in the weight and balance, making it extremely difficult for the driver to control the trailer and/or the cab, which often results in the trailer and/or the cab flipping.
Common Causes of Semi-Truck Jackknife Accidents
A jackknife accident can be extremely dangerous for both the truck driver and all of the drivers in the vicinity when the truck jackknifes. Some common causes of jackknifing accidents may include:
- Improper braking
- Fatigued driving
- Distracted driving
- Steep curves and turns
- Improper loading
- Inclement weather
- Understeering or oversteering
- Defective truck and/or defective truck parts
- Other drivers
Common Types of Injuries Resulting from Jackknifing Accidents
Semi-truck jackknife accidents are extremely dangerous because they have the potential to cause significant injuries to the truck driver and other drivers. As the semi-truck spins out of control, it tends to block the roadway and increases the risk of other drivers being involved with a crash with the truck or other vehicles. Given the massive size of a commercial semi-truck and the risk of high speed being involved, the injuries can be severe, even fatal. Some common injuries resulting from a jackknife accident may include:
- Traumatic brain and head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Neck injuries
- Soft tissue injuries, cuts, and bruises
If you have been injured in a jackknife accident, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your injuries and damages that resulted from the accident. The majority of awards is compensatory and meant to help you to recover from the financial and non-financial losses resulting from your injuries. Compensation may include medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, future medical expenses, future lost wages, home modification costs, and non-economic costs, such as scarring and disfigurement or pain and suffering.