What is a Semi-Truck Jackknife Accident?

by William Mattar | July 30th, 2020

A Semi-Truck Jackknife Accident is when the trailer pushes the cab to one side. You may have passed a jackknifed semi at some point. These types of accidents occur when the cab and trailer go in different directions. In some cases, the truck overturns completely. 

Due to a commercial truck’s weight and length, jackknifing can cause a multi-vehicle crash. According to the National Safety Council, fatalities and injuries caused in accidents with large trucks have been on the rise in recent years. 

Common Causes of Semi-Truck Jackknife Accidents

There are several reasons why a semi can jackknife, including:

Inexperienced or untrained driver. The semi-truck driver may not be prepared for the road or weather conditions. They may not know how to handle the vehicle during strong winds or realize how much room they need to come to a complete stop. 

Cargo. Any cargo that is not secure or otherwise loaded improperly could cause uneven weight distribution. This imbalance makes the trailer more likely to tip over. 

Sudden braking. Commercial trucks cannot stop as quickly as smaller passenger vehicles. If the truck driver slams on the brakes, the cab may stop before the trailer can.  

Tips to Avoid a Semi-Truck Jackknife Accident

A semi-truck driver has to obey the rules of the road. You can’t control how a semi-truck driver operates their vehicle but there are some things you can do to reduce your chances of being involved in a jackknife accident. For example:

Give semi-trucks plenty of room. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reminds drivers that semis have large blind spots. If you’re driving behind a semi and you can’t see their side mirrors, there is a possibility the truck driver can’t see you.

If a truck tailgates you, find the safest option under the circumstances to reduce the chance of an accident, which can include switching lanes, pulling off to the side of the road, or taking the next exit. 

If possible, try to avoid the roads during inclement weather. Some truckers have tight deadlines to meet, and they may stay on the road during all types of weather. If there’s a blizzard, freezing rain, or heavy fog, reconsider your trip if you can. 

Avoid distractions. It can be difficult to drive defensively when you are distracted. Texting is a leading cause of driver distraction, but other tasks can take your eyes and attention off the road. The Insurance Information Institute reports that eating, drinking, and drowsiness can also result in distracted driving, depending on the circumstances.

No matter how careful you are, you could still be in an accident with a semi-truck, whose driver must always follow the rules of the road. If that happens to you, you should know what to do after the crash.

Some Things to Consider After a Semi-Truck Jackknife Accident

If you’re injured in a crash, you need to protect your legal rights.

Here are some steps you may want to consider after a semi-truck accident:

Seek medical attention. You should see a doctor after any motor vehicle accident to identify the extent of your injuries. If you weren’t transported to the ER after the crash, see a doctor as soon as possible. If you wait too long, that will delay you from getting the medical treatment you need and the insurance company may question if you are really injured.

Get a copy of the accident report. You may not remember all the details of the crash. The accident report has information that you and the insurance companies will need.

Consult with a semi-truck accident attorney. Any crash that involves a semi-truck has the potential to become complex. These accidents may involve multiple vehicles and the trucking company and the truck driver may argue over which party is liable. You can protect your legal rights and best interests when you speak with an attorney. 

Jackknife Accidents: Get Help From a Truck Accident Lawyer at William Mattar, P.C.

At William Mattar P.C., we believe that all truck accident victims should have access to legal representation. That’s why we offer clients No Fee Until We Win(SM).

If the semi-truck driver or another party is responsible for the crash, you may be eligible for a settlement. This money would compensate you for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages. Give us a call today at (844) 444-4444 or contact us online.