There are a lot of different types of trucking accidents, of course, and they can all lead to devastating injuries that result in a lifetime of pain and disability. Jackknife truck accidents are one of the more common crashes that can occur. You might have heard about a jackknife, but you might not be that familiar with what the term really means. The following information will help illustrate what this kind of accident is, and why it happens.
If you’re ever in an accident caused by negligence on the part of the truck driver, the trucking company, or some other liable party, the skilled attorneys with Penn Kestner & McEwen will be ready to help. You’re going to need someone who has a deep understanding of this complex area of the law – and that’s exactly what you’ll find when you turn to us.
What’s a Jackknife Accident?
A semi-truck, of course, isn’t one long, solid vehicle. It has a cab and a trailer that are connected through the use of a device often known as a “fifth wheel coupling.”
When the truck folds at this connection point (typically at a 90-degree angle), that’s referred to as a “jackknife” accident. It gets its name from the fact that when a truck is in this position, it sort of looks like a pocket knife when it’s opened. The trailer basically swings around and either pushes the cab to one side, or pushes it to the point to where the cab is facing backward.
Where do Jackknife Accidents Occur?
A jackknife accident, like any other type of truck accident, can happen anywhere, on any type of road. In most cases, however, it will happen on a highway, because jackknifes usually take place when a truck is traveling at a high rate of speed.
Common Causes of Jackknife Accidents
There can be a lot of different factors that can contribute to a jackknife. The most common cause is some sort of issue with the truck’s brakes. It could be a failure due to a manufacturer’s defect, or the driver failed to properly inspect the brakes before heading on the road. The company that owns the truck may have neglected to perform regular inspections, or simply chose to ignore the problem in an effort to make a deadline.
There are other reasons jackknife accidents occur, however. A driver may have been going too fast in dangerous weather conditions, and lost traction after slamming on the brakes and going into the skid. The driver could have been too tired to be able to safely operate such a huge machine, in clear violation of governmental regulations.
Trucking companies will often outsource the loading of their trailers to third-party companies. Someone with that company could have negligently loaded the cargo in a way that caused a sudden weight shift, causing the driver to lose control.
Types of Injuries Caused by Jackknife Accidents
As you can well imagine, jackknife truck accidents can lead to devastating injury – just like all trucking accidents. They can range from broken bones to severe brain injuries, as well as tragic deaths.
Here’s a brief look at just a few of the more common injuries that typically result from a jackknifed truck.
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Lacerations and cuts
- Fractured and broken bones
- Crush injuries that can result in amputation
How to Receive Compensation for Your Damages
Most of these injuries, obviously, will require extensive treatment. This can include extended hospital stays, multiple surgical procedures, prescription medications, physical therapy and more. When medical treatment is this intensive, it’s going to result in incredibly expensive medical bills. Expenses such as these are known as “damages” in legal terms. You may be able to pursue compensation for your damages through a truck accident lawsuit.
There are other types of damages, of course. If you’re severely hurt, it’s almost certain that you won’t be able to work – and you only have so much sick time and vacation time you can use. Eventually, you’re going to start to miss paychecks. You could be eligible to obtain money for your lost wages as well.
So, how would you go about getting that money? One of the most important things to do if you’ve been injured in a truck accident caused by someone else’s negligence will be to hire an attorney. Your legal representative will conduct a detailed investigation to get to the bottom of what happened. Next, your attorney will identify all liable parties that contributed to the accident, and take the action needed to help you recover whatever damages you’ve incurred.
Contact Penn Kestner & McEwen for a Free Case Evaluation
The truck accident attorneys with Penn Kestner & McEwen are standing by to tell you more about how we may be able to help. While no reputable law firm will ever make any promises, we will guarantee that our legal team will work relentlessly on your behalf to see that justice is served, and you get every penny that you have coming.
Again, this is a very complex type of case, potentially with multiple defendants. Truck accidents are also typically high-stakes cases, involving insurance policies of $1 million or even more. The reason is that the injuries from a trucking crash are typically much more severe than those that result from the average car wreck. As a result, insurance and trucking companies will defend these policies in an extremely aggressive manner.
But the experts with Penn Kestner & McEwen know how to handle this type of high-powered opposition. We know all the tricks that insurance companies play, and we know how to counter them. Our firm will have the resources and the skill to provide you with the most effective representation possible.