The term “jackknifing” refers to the cab and trailer of a semi-truck folding in on each other and swiveling to form the shape of an L or a V. The angle formed by the truck and swinging trailer resembles the shape of a pocket knife or jackknife, which is why the term is used.
When a tractor-trailer jackknifes, it poses a considerable danger to everyone and everything in its path. It may swing across multiple lanes of traffic and possibly onto nearby sidewalks. Sadly, jackknife truck accidents often result in severe injuries and fatalities.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a jackknife truck accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your losses. Contact Norris Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free case review with a jackknife accident lawyer. Call us 24/7 at (800) 477-7510 or fill out our free contact form.
Common Causes of Jackknife Truck Accidents
In most cases, a truck jackknifes when the trailer it’s towing skids. The trailer, which usually weighs more than the cab, pushes the front vehicle. At this point, the whole tractor-trailer may begin to slide off of the road or overturn.
Trucks may jackknife for a number of different reasons including:
- Speeding: If a semi-truck driver slams on the brakes while traveling at a high speed, then the trailer being pulled may swing out of control.
- Brake malfunction: Brake failure can cause a truck driver to lose control of his or her rig, and the trailer may begin to sway back and forth; also, poor brake maintenance can cause axles to lock and push the trailer into a jackknife.
- Cargo: If the cargo was not loaded properly, the uneven weight distribution of the trailer can increase the risk of a jackknife truck accident.
- Inclement weather: Rain, sleet, or snow can cause a tractor-trailer to lose traction with the road and begin to slide and jackknife.
- Curves in the road: A sharp curve taken at high speed may cause the trailer end to swing and the truck to jackknife.
Who is Liable in an Alabama Jackknife Accident?
It is a terrifying experience to be driving down the highway and see a truck begin to sway and lose control right in front of you. The trajectory of the jackknifing truck can be difficult for a driver to predict. As a result, he or she may be unable to navigate their vehicle out of the way of the semi and avoid a collision.
In addition to the truck driver, the following parties may be held liable for jackknife accidents:
- Truck companies
- Maintenance or service providers
- Cargo owners
- Government entities
Each trucking accident is unique, and multiple parties may be found at fault for a jackknife accident, depending on the situation. When you have a Norris personal injury lawyer representing you, he or she can identify all liable parties and hold them liable for your injuries.
How to Prevent a Jackknife Trucking Accident
A truck driver can take a number of steps to avoid a jackknife accident. Even after a tractor-trailer has begun to jackknife, a driver can implement strategies to avoid a crash.
The key to preventing jackknife accidents often begins with the way the truck is loaded. It is important for the load that is being towed to have a low center of gravity. This can be accomplished by spreading the weight out along the bottom of the trailer.
In addition to ensuring that the weight of the truck is properly distributed, the following methods can help prevent jackknife accidents:
- Applying even brake pressure: Truckers should try to decelerate and brake smoothly. Brakes should be applied before an approaching curve to avoid braking during them. In the event of a skid, release the brakes and turn them into the skid.
- Providing proper training: A key to avoiding jackknife accidents is having a properly trained and responsible truck driver behind the wheel. All drivers in Alabama have to pass exams and road tests before being allowed to drive a commercial vehicle. Trucking companies must ensure that their drivers are all properly trained and qualified before allowing them to operate their vehicles.
- Being cautious when carrying light loads: Semi-trucks carrying heavy loads are less susceptible to jackknifing because the weight helps keep the trailer aligned. If a driver is towing a light or empty trailer, he or she needs to exercise care when braking. Heavily applied brakes when towing a light load can cause the brakes to lock and the trailer to skid.
- Adjusting to weather and road conditions: Drivers should adjust their speed when driving in inclement weather and slippery road conditions. If roads are icy, truckers should regularly check their mirrors and be alert if the trailer begins to swing out.
- Installing compatible braking systems: Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and electronic stability control (ECS) can be effective in preventing jackknife truck accidents. However, trucking companies need to be sure to match braking systems on both the tractor and the trailer. Mismatched braking, where one has ABS and the other does not, can increase the risk of jackknife trucking accidents.
- Maintaining the truck: A trucking company is required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to regularly inspect, maintain, and repair their vehicles. Many jackknife accidents and resulting injuries could have been avoided if the semi had been properly inspected and maintained.
Injuries Caused by Alabama Jackknife Truck Accidents
Due to the size and weight difference between tractor-trailers and standard-size cars, the occupants of the standard-size vehicle tend to suffer the most severe injuries in the event of a trucking accident. It’s not fair, to be sure.
But you can take a stand for justice. If you have been harmed in a collision due to someone else’s negligence, the Alabama truck accident attorneys at Norris Injury Lawyers may be able to help you recover compensation for your injuries.
The following are some of the most common types of truck accident injuries:
- Broken bones
- Head and neck injuries
- Spinal injuries
- Pelvic fractures
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Loss of a limb
Recoverable Compensation After an Alabama Jackknife Truck Accident
The truck accident lawyers at our law firm understand that the serious injuries sustained in a jackknife collision can be life-altering and that recovering compensation after a truck accident can be a complex and frustrating process. This is why it is important to have a skilled and trusted attorney on your side representing your best interests.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning potential
- Property damage
- Long-term care
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
Sadly, many semi-truck collisions end in fatalities. If you have experienced the tragic loss of a loved one in a truck accident, you may be entitled to recover wrongful death damages. While we understand that no amount of money can compensate for the death of a family member, a monetary settlement can help take a financial burden off of your shoulders as you grieve and try to move forward.
Contact an Alabama Truck Accident Attorney Today
If you have been injured in a commercial truck accident, there are many benefits to having an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side. The truck driver might not have sufficient coverage, or the insurance companies involved may be offering an amount that doesn’t even cover your medical expenses and lost wages.
What can be done? The truck accident attorneys at Norris Injury Lawyers are not easily intimidated. We will identify all parties liable for your injuries and fight to hold them financially responsible for your losses.
The legal team at Norris Injury Lawyers has the knowledge and experience needed to build a solid case on your behalf. We know the right questions to ask, and have the resources needed to thoroughly investigate the case of the truck accident. That’s how our law firm has successfully handled many truck accident claims in Alabama.
Contact us today to learn how we can help you get the compensation you deserve. Our law firm offers all potential clients a free case consultation. Schedule yours today by calling us at (800) 477-7510, starting a live chat, or filling out a contact form.