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What Causes Jackknife Accidents?

By Grant Law Office on July 15, 2022

A jackknife accident occurs when the trailer of a truck swings out and is level with the truck cabin, causing it to resemble a partially unfolded pocket knife. This could occur for a variety of reasons including poor weather conditions, driver error or mechanical failure.

If you have been injured in a jackknife accident, you are likely in need of an attorney. A thorough investigation of the accident must be undertaken to determine liability. An experienced truck accident attorney can assist with this, as well as pursue any damages you may be entitled to.

Grant Law Office, experienced truck accident attorneys, are here to help. Call our firm at (404) 995-3955. We look forward to hearing from you.

What is a jackknife accident?

‘Jackknife Accident’ is the term given to a crash where a truck, tractor-trailer, or other multipart vehicle bends and becomes folded over on itself. Jackknife accidents usually occur when a truck skids, and the weight from the trailer causes it to pivot around and form a V shape with the truck cabin.

A truck driver cannot control a truck once it is in a jackknife, meaning there are many opportunities for injury in a jackknife accident.

What causes a jackknife accident?

There are many potential causes of a jackknife accident, with the most common being a skid. A skid occurs when the tires of a truck lose contact with the road, usually due to weather conditions, speeding, driver distraction, sharp turns or equipment failures.

Many truck companies keep their trucks in service for as long as possible, which increases the chance of mechanical issues such as brake failures. Jackknife accidents can also be caused by driver error.

If a driver has not received proper training, they may not know how to appropriately handle certain situations that could lead to an accident. Most truck drivers know that driving at high speeds in poor weather conditions should be avoided.

However, if they are behind schedule, some may take the risk. In poor weather, all it takes is one patch of ice, snow or standing water to trigger a skid, which could lead to a jackknife.

Who is liable for a jackknife accident?

If you have been injured in a jackknife accident, determining liability is crucial. In a jackknife accident, the parties often found liable are the driver, an employer, or a mechanic.

The driver

Jackknife accidents can occur as a result of driver error. If a driver is not paying attention, speeding, or checking for hazards, their truck may skid, leading to a jackknife. These mistakes generally cause the driver to be partially responsible for the accident.

An employer

Liability may lie with an employer that did not provide proper training to a driver. An employer may also be liable if they have cut corners or put unreasonable time pressures on drivers, causing them to speed to complete their work to their employer’s schedule. If employer negligence contributed directly to the jackknife accident, they may be liable.

A mechanic

A mechanic may be responsible if they miss a clear issue, such as a worn brake pad, and that issue causes the jackknife accident. Trucks need constant maintenance, due to their constant use. A mechanic’s job is to ensure a truck operates safely. If they have not done so, they may be found to have been negligent.

How can an attorney help?

Identifying the liable party is vital to determining whose negligence caused the jackknife accident. Liability can be determined by an attorney who will thoroughly examine your case. The experienced attorneys at Grant Law Office can determine who is liable, allowing you to seek compensation from those who caused your injuries. Call us at (404) 995-3955 today.

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Posted in: Auto Accidents

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