Jackknife Truck Accident Lawyers

Jackknife Truck Accident Lawyers

We depend on large trucks to transport raw materials and finished products across the country, but unfortunately, these massive vehicles can be a safety hazard on Kansas’ highways and streets.

According to the National Safety Council, 5,700 Medium or heavy trucks were involved in fatal accidents in 2021, representing 9 percent of all vehicles involved in a fatal crash. For the same year, more than 117,000 large trucks were involved in accidents that caused an injury.

Big commercial trucks get into all kinds of accidents, including head-on collisions, sideswipe accidents, and rollover accidents. Jackknife truck accidents are unique to large trucks, and unfortunately, happen too often in Kansas.

What Is a Jackknife Truck Accident?

You have probably heard about a tractor-trailer that “jackknifed” on the highway, but maybe you never understood exactly what that meant. Simply put, it’s when the cab and trailer of a truck rotate toward one another during an accident to create the same V-shaped angle of a jackknife that’s slightly open.

Although the term can be a bit confusing, there’s no mistaking the fact that jackknife truck accidents are serious situations. When a truck jackknifes, it typically does not come to an immediate stop, continuing to move in the same direction it was traveling. The weight and size of an out-of-control, jackknifed tractor-trailer makes it particularly dangerous. It can continue to crush and trap smaller vehicles as it moves, often into other lanes of traffic. A jackknifed tractor-trailer can also roll over, causing even more damage.

Common Causes of Jackknife Truck Accidents in Kansas

While a jackknife truck accident is a fairly unique type of accident, the common causes for this kind of accident are somewhat similar to the causes for other kinds of accidents. Consider the following possible causes.

Excess Speed

The risk of any accident increases significantly as the speed of vehicles increases. In 2021, speeding played a role in 29 percent of all accident fatalities, according to the National Safety Council.

Excess speed is a particular risk factor for jackknife truck accidents because tractor-trailers have a center of gravity that is close to the rear of the overall vehicle. When these large trucks travel around a curve, the trailer’s momentum can carry it into a jackknife position if the driver oversteers or understeers. A tractor-trailer that’s driving too fast is also at greater risk of jackknifing if the driver suddenly steps on the brakes.

Poor Conditions

Bad weather conditions can also significantly increase the risk of a jackknife accident. When there is water or snow on the road, it can cause the truck to lose traction, resulting in the trailer pulling to one side. If a driver cannot quickly get the trailer under control, it can jackknife. Bad weather conditions also make it more difficult for drivers to see dangerous road conditions.

Defective Brakes

Because of a tractor-trailer’s disconnected nature, braking is a much more complicated endeavor in a large truck than it is for a small passenger vehicle. If the driver slams on the brakes, the trailer is more likely to jackknife. If the trailer contains a heavy load, it’s much more likely to become out of control if a driver brakes suddenly. Sometimes, though, sudden braking is unavoidable. For example, hazards on the road or a collision in front of a truck driver will cause them to slam on the brakes.

Because it is so challenging to quickly decelerate a large tractor-trailer, the braking systems on these vehicles are complex and must be maintained at all times. If the brakes are in poor condition, it can significantly increase the risk of an accident.

Proving Fault After a Jackknife Accident in Kansas

Jackknife truck accident lawyers are well-versed in all the various causes behind these kinds of accidents, and they use this knowledge to establish fault after a jackknife accident occurs.

In many situations, the fault comes down to human error. If a driver is traveling too fast, texting while driving, sleep deprived, intoxicated, or driving recklessly, and they cause an accident, they are at least partly to blame. Mistakes that are made with respect to truck maintenance would also be considered a type of human error.

If a trucking company acted irresponsibly, that business could be at fault. Some companies overwork their drivers and expect them to drive for long hours. Some companies don’t provide enough resources to keep trucks properly maintained. Companies that overload their trucks and make them too heavy can also be at fault if that excess weight plays a role in a jackknife truck accident.

After a jackknife truck accident, the lawyer is able to identify all the parties who played a role in the accident, and the lawyer can hold these parties liable for damages that were caused. These damages might include:

  • Immediate medical costs
  • Long-term care costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of income
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Decreased quality of life

In order to prove fault, a jackknife truck accident lawyer will visit the scene of the accident and talk to any witnesses. After gathering all the information they need, an accident lawyer will use their experience and knowledge to pinpoint faults and identify those responsible. For example, an experienced lawyer will know that a truck involved in an accident wasn’t properly maintained or that the truck model is prone to jackknifing.

What to Do After a Jackknife Truck Accident in Kansas

If you were involved in a jackknife truck accident, the first thing to do is to make sure that you are okay. These are violent accidents, and they can cause all kinds of injuries, including broken bones, lacerations, and dismemberment. But these accidents can also cause injuries that are not so readily apparent, such as internal organ damage and traumatic brain injury.

Even if you feel like you are relatively unscathed, it’s always a good idea to assume that your condition is worse than it is and immediately seek medical attention. Getting first responders on the scene is also a good idea to help anyone else who may have been injured in the accident. It’s also a good idea to get a safe distance away from the accident because there is a significant risk of fire and explosion.

Although it’s a much lower priority than ensuring your own health and that of anyone else who’s been in an accident, it’s also a good idea to document the scene. If able, use your smartphone to capture descriptive pictures and videos. If there are eyewitnesses who were not directly affected by the accident, use your voice recorder to get their statements and names. There’s often a lot of confusion around a truck accident, and getting documentation is a great way to clear up the facts at a later date.

After you have left the scene of an accident, it’s important to follow all doctor’s orders and keep your medical appointments. In addition to being good for your health, following doctor’s orders is also critical to ensuring that you are establishing a pattern of treatment after an accident.

Finally, you should reach out to a jackknife truck accident lawyer. These cases tend to be complicated. They often involve multiple law enforcement agencies and insurance companies. You need expert legal advice to navigate all of it. An experienced lawyer can also collect evidence before it is lost or destroyed.

Let Our Jackknife Truck Accident Lawyers Help You with Your Case

At Bretz Injury Law, our attorneys are very familiar with all types of truck accidents, including accidents involving semi-trucks. Unlike other lawyers at other firms that rush to get a settlement, our attorneys are dedicated to getting our clients the money they need to cover all the damages they suffered in a truck accident.

Our Kansas lawyers will take witness statements and investigate truck companies while you focus on healing and trying to get your life back together. If you have been in a jackknife truck accident, contact us online or call 620-RESULTS today.

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