Jackknifes are deadly truck accidents that cause catastrophic and fatal injuries, often at the expense of other drivers and pedestrians. Most jackknife accidents occur due to driver error, which can make the truck driver or their parent company liable for any damages a victim may suffer. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a jackknife truck accident, you may have a personal injury claim for compensation.

We at the Tenge Law Firm, LLC have worked diligently with many clients who suffered extreme damages due to jackknife accidents. With that experience comes the understanding that jackknife accidents are devastating, both for the victim and for their loved ones. If you have been injured in a jackknife accident, call our firm at (303) 665-2929 for top-notch legal aid.

What Is a Jackknife Accident?

A jackknife occurs when the trailer on a big rig swings off to the side, forming a right angle with the cab. This is thought to look like a partially unfolded knife, hence the name. In these collisions, the tractor may turn back toward its trailer at an angle. The greater the length of a large truck, the higher the odds of a jackknife, as concluded in a study published by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA).

Big rigs can jackknife for a number of reasons, but it usually happens when the truck or the trailer loses traction with the road. This loss of contact causes the trailer to swing, and the force of the trailer swinging then causes the driver to lose control of the truck. Common ways that a trailer may suddenly lose contact with the road include:

  • Brakes locking up from unsafe or sudden braking
  • trailer that is overweight or unbalanced
  • A driver traveling too fast for local road conditions
  • Collision with another vehicle or object
  • Malfunctioning equipment
  • Fatigued, distracted, or intoxicated driving
  • Oversteering or overcorrecting

When a truck jackknifes, it skids out of control, often colliding with other vehicles. If a passenger vehicle collides with a jackknifing truck, occupants are likely to suffer serious injuries or death. A jackknife may impact multiple vehicles, due to the size of a semi-tractor trailer, causing a mass pileup on the roadway. This level of damage can, and often does, lead to extreme injuries.

The Danger of a Jackknifing Truck

An average big rig can weigh upwards of 80,000 lbs. When a vehicle that size loses control, the fallout of a collision is immense. That is especially true of jackknifes, as the trailer often swings out into other lanes of traffic, leading to underride accidents. Jackknife accidents are likely to cause serious or catastrophic injuries, such as:

After being involved in a jackknife accident, you have likely been left with debilitating injuries, or have even lost a loved one. In such a case, you will likely be filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim. To do so, however, you will need to determine who the at-fault party for your accident was and who can be held liable for your damages.

Jackknifes and Liability

Determining liability in a claim will require an in-depth look into your case. Every accident is different, and as such, you may not be facing the at-fault party you assumed you would. Thankfully, the team at the Tenge Law Firm, LLC can investigate your accident to determine fault and liability. In a truck jackknife collision, potentially liable parties may include:

Truck driver: In many jackknife accidents, the truck driver is at fault. He or she may have been speeding, driving recklessly, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or violating hours of service regulations designed to help prevent fatigued driving.

Trucking company: Companies that hire truck drivers are responsible for ensuring they put qualified, trained, and safe drivers behind the wheel of a truck. When a trucking company fails in this responsibility or pressures a driver to violate hours of service or other trucking regulations to deliver a load on time, it may be liable for resulting accidents and injuries.

Truck maintenance company: Some trucking companies outsource truck maintenance to third parties. A company responsible for truck maintenance may be liable for a truck jackknife accident if brake failure or other equipment malfunctions caused the crash.

Another at-fault driver: If the driver of another vehicle caused the jackknife collision, that driver may be responsible for your injuries in an auto accident claim.

Why You Need a Lawyer

Jackknife truck accidents are complex, high-stakes cases, and insurance companies will fight hard to minimize their payouts. If you have been injured in such a crash, it is in your best interest to have an experienced attorney by your side. Contact the Tenge Law Firm, LLC at (303) 665-2929. Our Boulder truck accident attorneys have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for our clients and can provide the same thorough legal aid in your case.