What You Should Know About Jackknife Accidents

Published on February 25, 2021, by Matthew Sharp

Trucking Accident

What You Should Know About Jackknife Accidents

Jackknife accidents refer to incidences where the front of the truck and the trailer abruptly stop moving in the same direction. The truck and the out-of-control trailer create a 90-degree angle that looks like a jackknife – a folding blade commonly used by campers and hunters. Just like a sharpened jackknife blade, the uncontrollable trailer can hurt anybody or anything on its way.

What Are the Common Causes of Jackknife Crashes?

Jackknife crashes are frightening, and there are many reasons why they happen. The common causes of these crashes include:

High Speeds

Commercial trucks are huge and heavy. A substantial amount of force is required to stop them, especially when they are speeding. When a driver needs to quickly stop a truck that is moving at excessive speeds, he or she may slam on the brakes. Stopping quickly may force the truck to slide and lose control. When drivers make such deadly blunders behind the wheel, they often severely injure or kill people in their path.

Poor Road Conditions and Harsh Weather

Road conditions that make driving tougher raise the odds of a jackknife. Sliding may cause a swing in the towing vehicle’s weight, causing the driver to lose control of the truck. The chances of a jackknife accident happening are more than three times higher during harsh weather conditions.

Sharp Turns and Evasive Maneuvers

Negotiating sharp turns or executing evasive maneuvers can result in the trailer swinging out away from the vehicle. When swinging out, the truck may become uncontrollable.

What Types of Injuries do Jackknife Accidents Cause?

People involved in jackknives are more likely to sustain life-threatening injuries, including:

  • Broken bones and pelvic fractures
  • Head trauma and brain damage
  • Neck injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Death by crushing, organ trauma, or decapitation

Legal Options for Jackknife Accident Victims 

After addressing immediate health needs, a jackknife accident victim will need to establish whether another person or party was responsible for the accident. Since fault is mandatory for a successful personal injury claim, the victim should obtain all relevant documents, including police reports, medical records, and witness testimonies. Working with a truck accident lawyer is also a crucial part of a successful recovery. The lawyer helps the injured person pursue compensation for medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, lost wages, and intangible damages from the liable party.