Data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that over 100,000 people were injured by large commercial trucks in 2012. Many large trucks fall within a category of vehicle known as “articulated vehicles,” meaning that they are divided into distinct parts and are connected by a movable joint. While articulation allows larger vehicles to have increased maneuverability, it also makes them more prone to certain types of accidents to which non-articulated vehicles are not.
What is a “Jackknife Accident?”
Jackknife accidents are an example of accidents that are unique to articulated vehicles and very often involve semi-trucks. A jackknife accident occurs when the trailer of a truck swings out from behind it and folds against the truck in a manner that resembles the action of a folding knife. When they occur, a truck is usually completely out of control, poses a risk of injury to anyone in the immediate area. Sometimes, the truck can travel for a significant distance while the trailer is swinging out from behind it, sweeping across the highway and colliding with anything in its path.
Jackknife Accidents Can Be Caused by Negligence
As with other types of motor vehicle accidents, victims must be able establish that the truck accident was caused by some identifiable negligence on the part another driver or party owing the victim a duty of care. There are many ways that negligence could cause a semi-truck to jackknife, including the following:
- Driver taking turns too fast – When a driver takes a turn too quickly, it may cause the trailer of a truck to sway out uncontrollably, ultimately resulting in a jackknife accident.
- Tire blowouts – When a trailer’s tire explodes, it can do so with tremendous force. This force has the potential to force the trailer to either side, potentially causing it to jackknife.
- Coupling device failure – The coupling device is the joint that connects a truck with its trailer. If it is defectively designed or manufactured, it may make a jackknife accident more likely.
- Improperly loaded or secured cargo – When a truck’s cargo is improperly loaded or secured, it may result in unbalanced cargo or cargo that shifts around while driving. This can change the way the trailer is balanced, possibly increasing the risk of a jackknife accident.
Several parties could be held liable for injuries caused by a jackknife accident, depending on what caused it. For example, if a coupling device was to blame for the jackknife, the manufacturer of the device could potentially be held liable. If, on the other hand, a truck driver’s excessive speed caused a truck to jackknife, the driver or his or her employer could likely be held liable.
Call an Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyer to Schedule a Free Consultation
People who are injured in jackknife accidents may be able to recover for any losses they incur, including medical expenses as well as any income they lose from missing work. These injuries can be very serious, and may include those with long-term after-effects such as traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries. Our lawyers are committed to helping victims of truck accident recover for their losses. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Atlanta personal injury lawyers, call Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC today at (404) 869-8600.