Types of Big Rig Trucking Accidents | Studinski Law, LLC
August 24, 2021

What Is a Jackknife Truck Accident?

Large commercial trucks have cabs and trailers. When the trailer of an 18-wheeler pushes the cab to one side or all the way around so that it faces backward, it is known as a “jackknife.” The term is a reference to the shape of a folding blade or jackknife. This can occur when a rig’s cab stops suddenly, but due to the inertia of its forward momentum, the trailer does not stop. Instead, the trailer swings out to the side.

The experienced truck accident attorneys at Studinski Law, LLC have seen the devastation of these dangerous crashes firsthand. We know the challenges faced by truck accident victims and we are committed to helping our clients recover the full and fair compensation they need to move forward.

What Causes a Jackknife Accident?

Many motor vehicle accidents, including jackknife truck accidents, are usually preventable and the result of driver error. Jackknifes do not typically occur in good weather with well-trained drivers behind the wheel. Big rig drivers with commercial drivers’ licenses are trained to operate tractor-trailers and should know how to avoid these types of accidents.

Some common causes of jackknifed truck accidents include:

  • Poor weather or road conditions: Trucks are more likely to jackknife on icy, wet, or slick roads. When weather is poor and road conditions are dangerous, truck drivers must use extreme caution to ensure the safe handling of their trucks and the safety of others on the road.
  • Careless braking practices: Properly trained truck drivers should know the techniques involved for braking properly, including braking slowly over a long distance, driving in the direction of a skid, and not braking and swerving at the same time.
  • Excessive speed: Drivers who are driving too fast for conditions (weather, traffic congestion, construction, posted speed limits) have reduced time to react to a hazard and to brake safely.
  • Driver fatigue: Although strict guidelines are in place, many truck drivers work longer hours than they should in order to meet deadlines. This can lead to dangerous situations and potential accidents, such as jackknifes.
  • Drunk driving: Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol are affected in many ways, including their ability to react. Drunk drivers are more prone to compensate for late reactions by suddenly slamming on their brakes, causing a jackknife.
  • Inadequate trucker training or qualifications: Trucking companies have a duty to ensure their drivers are well trained before they operate big rigs on roadways. When trucking companies fail to properly train their employees and an accident occurs as a result, the company can be held liable for subsequent damages. 
  • Overloaded or improperly loaded trailers: Improperly loaded or secured cargo can cause a trailer to move uncontrollably, leading to an accident. Weight distribution within the trailer can also affect how a trailer acts.
  • Defective parts or assembly: When a defective automotive part causes an accident, the party or parties that designed, manufactured, or sold the defective product may be held responsible for accidents that are caused by the faulty product.

Safely operating a tractor-trailer or other large commercial vehicle requires significant training and experience. Not only must a driver understand the best way to drive a big rig, but he or she must also be able to put that knowledge into practice and exercise sound judgment at all times. When human error, whether from the driver, trucking company, or parts manufacturer causes an accident, the results can be devastating.

Who Is Liable for a Jackknife Truck Accident?

Truck accident cases are often very complex. One of the complexities in truck accident claims is the number of parties that may be liable for the wreck.

Depending on the details of your case, the potentially liable parties in your truck accident claim may include:

  • The truck driver
  • The trucking company
  • The manufacturer of the truck
  • The manufacturer of a defective product on the truck
  • The company that loaded the truck
  • Other outside parties, such as brokers, shippers, and receivers

The truck accident lawyers at Studinski Law, LLC have the knowledge, skill, and resources necessary to fully investigate the facts in your case. We are committed to uncovering the cause of your injuries and holding the responsible party or parties accountable for their actions.

Potential Damages in a Jackknife Accident Case

In cases of severe injury following a jackknife truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Punitive damages

In the most tragic cases, a jackknife truck accident can result in death. If you lost a loved one in a wreck, you may be able to pursue damages in a wrongful death claim. While no amount of compensation can make up for your immeasurable loss, damages in a wrongful death lawsuit can help your family avoid undue financial struggles during this difficult time.

Contact a Truck Accident Attorney In Wisconsin

Studinski Law, LLC has built a reputation for excellence in truck accident litigation. Our accomplished truck accident attorneys know that the keys to winning truck accident cases lie in hard work and meticulous preparation. We will carefully investigate the facts in your case and develop a detailed legal strategy to maximize your compensation and resolve your case as quickly as possible.

See our results.

If you have been hurt or lost a loved one in a jackknife truck accident, call Studinski Law, LLC today at (715) 343-2850 for a free case review. We proudly serve Plover, Marshfield, and all other Wisconsin areas.

Jason Studinski Injury Attorney
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