How serious are jackknife truck accidents?
A jackknife truck accident occurs when a large commercial truck swerves or careens out of control and the trailer swings out, much like a folding jackknife. This type of truck crash usually occurs when a truck driver attempts a dangerous maneuver while traveling at a high speed.
When a semi-trailer swings out, it can block off several lanes on a major highway. It can also cause a truck to cross the center line or median barrier and cause a devastating crash in an oncoming lane.
Jackknife truck accidents are especially dangerous because they:
- Tend to injure or kill multiple road users
- Can impede traffic for several hours while emergency crews work at the crash scene
- Can halt traffic, resulting in rear-end collisions, pile-ups, and swerve risks
This type of crash is also highly unpredictable. Once a large truck careens out of control on a major roadway, nearby drivers have little time to get out of harm's way.
Causes and risk factors
When truck drivers lose control of their vehicles or trailers, it's often due to reckless behavior, poor maneuvering, or inexperience. This includes:
- Failing to comply with the posted speed limit
- Driving too fast on slippery roadways
- Braking abruptly or too often
- Speeding around curves and ramps
- Making turns too quickly
- Swerving or over-correcting steering
- Improperly loading and balancing cargo in the trailer
- Brake failure, tire blowouts, wheel loss, and steering wheel issues (the trucking company may be at fault for failure to maintain its vehicles)
Some risk factors that can increase the likelihood of a jackknife accident include:
- Frequent curves in the road
- Traffic suddenly stopping or slowing down
- Swerve risks, such as debris in the road
- Slippery road conditions from rain, sleet, and snow
- Poor visibility due to heavy rain and fog
While these contributing factors may increase the likelihood of a jackknife accident, truck drivers are still expected to navigate these road challenges with caution. This includes maintaining a safe speed and following distance, paying attention to the road, and slowing down, when necessary.
How can a personal injury attorney help me if I was injured in a jackknife truck accident?
Jackknife truck accidents are often highly complex and involve multiple parties. The process of pursuing a legal claim is far more complicated than for a two-car crash. Multiple insurance companies will likely be involved in your case. This includes the insurance companies for each motorist involved in the crash. It also includes the insurers of the truck cab, semi-trailer, and cargo (all of which may be insured separately).
Attempting to navigate the aftermath of a truck crash, recover from your injuries, and make ends meet financially is a painstaking process. Without the help of an experienced truck accident attorney, you may be left with a meager settlement that only covers a fraction of your medical costs, wage loss, and other damages.
You need an experienced West Virginia truck accident attorney on your side who understands the tricks used by trucking companies and their insurers.
The legal team at Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC has built a reputation in West Virginia for successfully advocating for injured people. Our case results speak for themselves. Contact us for a free consultation.