Jackknifing is when the trailer of a large truck swings around and becomes parallel – or nearly parallel – with the truck cabin. Much like a folding pocketknife, a jackknife accident is named for the acute angle formed when the truck’s trailer folds around, ultimately facing backwards. A jackknife accident should not be confused with a trailer swing or sway, which is the act of a truck’s trailer moving back and forth behind the truck, often across lanes.
In any event, jackknifing can cause accidents that involve multiple vehicles. Those involved may suffer a range of serious injuries.
Injuries Sustained from a Jackknife Accident
When a large truck jackknifes, any surrounding vehicles may be in the path of harm. If the jackknifing truck hits another vehicle with its trailer, the vehicle may crash into another vehicle, run off the road, or experience a rollover accident. In severe cases, the vehicle may even become wedged between the truck’s body and the truck’s trailer.
The types of injuries sustained by accident victims varies. Below are just some of the injuries that victims might experience.
- Head and brain injuries
- Facial injuries
- Internal injuries
- Back injuries
- Spine fractures
When the accident is especially severe, victims may suffer permanent or even fatal injuries. Fortunately, if a truck driver or another party is to blame for the accident, those who suffered injuries and other damages have means to take legal action.
Causes of Jackknife Accident
The most common cause of a jackknifing accident is the truck suddenly braking. If the truck is traveling at a high speed and does not allow a thorough amount of time for stopping, the truck’s trailer may continue moving forward even when the truck’s cabin has ceased, leading to a skid and a jackknife accident.
Other causes of jackknifing accidents may be taking a turn or a curve too quickly, downshifting improperly, or defects in the vehicle or vehicle parts. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s analysis of fatal large truck crashes, traveling at a speed limit of more than 55 miles per hour, poor weather, and curved road all increase the odds of a jackknife or rollover accident occurring.
Taking Legal Action after a Jackknife Accident
If injured in a jackknife accident in Redmond, you may have the right to legal action. However, you must establish the truck driver’s negligence if you want to recover damages. Sometimes, a truck driver must brake quickly (causing a jackknife accident) due to factors beyond his control, like the negligence of another driver. If the accident was not your fault though, and if you suffered injuries, then filing a civil suit may be within your best interest.
By taking legal action, you can recover damages for any financial losses, as well as nonfinancial losses, like emotional distress. In order to file your claim within the legal timeframe, it’s important that you meet with an attorney quickly – Washington code only provides you three years from the date that an accident occurs to file a case.
How an Attorney Can Help if You Were in a Jackknife Accident
Before filing your claim, it’s important that you meet with an attorney who is familiar with truck accident and personal injury law. An attorney can help you determine who may be liable for your injuries based on who acted negligently or who caused the accident. Then, your attorney can help you collect evidence, build your case, and file your claim.
At Max Meyers Law PLLC, we can help you recover the compensation you deserve. You should call us now for a free consultation at 425-242-5595. Or use our contact form to set up a consultation with a lawyer.