A “jackknife accident” occurs when an 18-wheeler tractor skids and its trailer swings out to the side. Like the folded blade of a jackknife, the large truck forms a 90-degree angle. Jackknife situations on Arizona’s highways can cause massive vehicle pile-ups, since the tractor-trailer blocks multiple lanes. Moreover, if a truck jackknifes at a significant speed, the rig is likely to roll over—presenting a hazard to anything in its tracks.
Were you injured when a truck jackknifed on the road? If you suffered harm or lost a loved one in a jackknife accident, talk to a Phoenix truck accident lawyer at Cullan & Cullan about your legal rights and options. We know this is an extremely difficult situation to deal with, and we want to support you and your family so you can face a more stable future.
For a free review of your case, call (602) 900-9483.
What Causes a Truck to Jackknife?
Typically, a large commercial truck will jackknife if the wheels lock, particularly on wet or oily roads. The front wheels and heavy trailer continue to roll forward as the cab of the truck tries to stop, swinging out to form a right angle. Jackknifing can happen if a truck driver swerves to avoid a collision or takes a curve too fast. Arizona’s highways are famous for their steep declines and sharp curves. If a truck driver isn’t paying close attention, he or she can easily lose control of the vehicle.
In an emergency situation, an 18-wheeler can’t brake as quickly as a passenger vehicle. Loaded commercial trucks require 20-40% more braking distance than passenger vehicles on dry roadways. In poor weather conditions, that braking distance grows exponentially longer. If a trucking company poorly maintains an 18-wheeler’s brakes, it can mean the difference between avoiding a crash and causing one.
Truck drivers are supposed to undergo rigorous training before the law allows them behind the wheel of a large, unwieldy vehicle. In this training, drivers learn how to stop in emergency situations without jackknifing. However, in a real-world accident scenario, the training is not as good as one would think. There are many truck driving schools across the country that provide quick preliminary training. There is no substitute for actually driving. As part of a driver’s education at large corporations, the new driver is to be supervised for on the job training. Unfortunately, we have had several cases where the young or inexperienced drivers were turned loose without proper supervision while the more experience trainer slept in the back. When the negligence of a truck driver, trucking company, maintenance crew, manufacturing company, or roadway manager results in a jackknife accident, victims can sue the responsible parties.
Jackknife Accident Injuries
Due to the immense size and weight of commercial trucks, trucking accidents often cause severe injuries and fatalities. If the truck rolls over in a jackknife scenario, it can injure the driver and the occupants of any vehicles that collide with the truck during the accident.
Trucking jackknife accidents can lead to numerous injuries, including:
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries, paralysis, paraplegia, and quadriplegia
- Crushing injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Wrongful deaths
These injuries often result in permanent disabilities, such as paralysis or brain damage. If you face lifelong repercussions from a jackknifing accident, you deserve financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Recovery can’t take back the tragedy that happened to you or your loved one, but it can remove the burden of financial hardship.
Proving Negligence After a Jackknife Accident
In a jackknifing accident, the cause of the crash isn’t always simple. The driver may have been negligent in his or her responsibilities—texting, eating, driving under the influence, or driving fatigued. The crash may also result from unsafe roadway conditions, such as heavy rain or slippery roads. The driver may try to blame faulty equipment or a negligent maintenance crew, removing personal liability. This is why you need the help of an experienced Phoenix truck accident attorney. A lawyer can help establish evidence that proves the responsible party’s liability.
To learn more, call Cullan & Cullan at (602) 900-9483.