Personal Injury Attorneys

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Merriman Legal, LLC

Understanding the Dangers of Jackknife Truck Accidents

Hurt in a jackknife crash? A Cleveland truck accident lawyer can help

Our Cleveland truck accident lawyers understand how dangerous it can be for a passenger vehicle to get into a crash with an 18-wheeler, and jackknife truck accidents are no exception.

Like a bowling ball smashing through bowling pins, when a tractor-trailer jackknifes, it often plows uncontrollably into other vehicles and causes other drivers to suffer serious, sometimes life-threatening injuries.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, thousands of people are injured or killed every year in truck accidents. This is why accidents with commercial trucks are among the most dangerous type of accident any driver can have.

If you’ve been injured in a jackknife crash with an 18-wheeler, the truck accident lawyers at our Cleveland law firm want to help you get your life back on track. The attorneys at Merriman Legal, LLC recognize the seriousness of your case. That’s why we will leave no stone unturned to get you the compensation you need and deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.

What does it mean for a truck to jackknife?

Jackknifing occurs when the truck’s cab loses traction and begins to skid sideways. If the truck driver doesn’t properly steer out of the skid, or the truck’s brakes lock up, the momentum of the trailer being hauled by the 18-wheeler will push the cab around until it swings around backwards and strikes the trailer. As the truck is jackknifing and folding into itself, it forms an “L” shape that resembles a folding pocket knife ─ which is where the phrase “jackknifing” comes from.

Jackknife truck crashes happen for different reasons, but one of the most common reasons jackknife accidents occur is due to improper braking. If a truck driver brakes too hard, the semi-truck’s wheels can lock up and trigger a jackknife. Poor brake maintenance can also contribute to brake malfunction and a jackknife crash.

Other factors that cause a truck to jackknife include:

  • Speeding: 18-wheelers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. If a truck driver is going too fast and needs to brake, the weight differential between the cab and the trailer can cause the cab to stop quicker than the trailer and lose traction when it’s pushed from behind by the momentum of the trailer. Taking a curve or turn too quickly can also cause a tractor to skid out of control and jackknife.
  • Poor road conditions: Roads that are icy, wet, or slippery can cause an 18-wheeler to lose traction and jackknife. This is why it’s so important for truck drivers to use extra caution during inclement weather or when trying to avoid debris in the roads.
  • Driver inexperience: Veteran truck drivers typically have the knowledge and experience to avoid jackknife accidents. Unfortunately, a lot of trucking companies employ inexperienced and unqualified truck drivers. This results in accidents that could have been avoided if the trucking company didn’t cut corners in its hiring process.

Let our truck accident lawyers take on your jackknife accident claim

Jackknife truck crashes can be devastating. Typically taking place on busy highways, other drivers are at risk of colliding with the jackknifed 18-wheeler as it skids uncontrollably down the road. A lot of jackknifed semi-trucks end up rolling over onto their side, posing another hazard to drivers.

Getting into a crash with a jackknifed semi-truck can result in serious, debilitating injuries. To make matters worse, trying to recover damages for your accident-related expenses often turns into an uphill battle, especially with jackknife accident claims since there are usually multiple vehicles involved. Things can quickly get overwhelming and confusing.

The experienced truck accident lawyers from our Cleveland law firm have the skill to handle such complex accident claims. Our attorneys will aggressively advocate for your best interests and go the extra mile to make sure you get the compensation you need and deserve. Make my team your team. Contact us today for a free consultation.