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Why Are Jackknife Truck Accidents So Dangerous?

Published on Sep 18, 2020 at 12:00 pm in Truck Accidents.

Point of view from driver seeing two lanes of traffic with trucks

If you were involved in a truck accident and are planning on pursuing legal action to seek compensation for your losses, one important consideration is the type of trucking accident you were in. Determining the type of crash that happened is crucial to the presentation of your case.  Most types of crashes are categorized by the angles at which the two vehicles first collided.

Jackknife truck accidents, which happen when the trailer of a truck swings out past the cab, are a type of common tractor-trailer accident. The name comes from the fact that when the trailer swings over, this leaves the truck in a jackknife or “V” shape since the two parts are still connected. These types of accidents are incredibly dangerous and have the potential to result in serious or even fatal injuries. There are a number of reasons as to why jackknifes are so dangerous, which is what we’ll take a look at below.

Jackknife Truck Accidents in Illinois

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were over 12,000 crashes involving tractor-trailers in 2018. Most of these crashes happened on interstates and resulted in injuries. As a result of all the crashes, 121 fatalities occurred and over 3,000 people were injured.

A number of those accidents were the result of a truck jackknifing—most of which occurred in icy or snowy conditions. This is because it’s easier for a truck driver to lose control of their vehicle if the road conditions are poor.

When a jackknife accident happens in heavily populated areas like Chicago, there’s the risk that multiple vehicles will be involved. When these crashes happen at high speeds on interstates, it’s also more likely that a number of individuals will sustain injuries.

Understanding How Jackknife Truck Accidents Happen

When a truck jackknifes, the trailer swings out to the side of the cab, either forming an “L” or a “V” shape. If the trailer swings out to the right and the tractor-trailer is in the left-hand lane, any nearby vehicles—especially those in the right lane—are in danger of a being involved in a serious accident.

As mentioned above, bad weather is a common cause of these crashes. Slick conditions caused by rain, ice, or snow can make it hard for a trucker to brake. If the driver doesn’t reduce their speed and give the vehicle enough room and time to brake, it’s possible the trailer could slide forward.

When it’s not raining or snowing and a jackknife accident happens, it’s usually the result of driver error or mechanical problems. Reckless or careless truckers may be distracted or tailgating. If they need to brake quickly and are unable to stop, they could lose control of the vehicle. In regard to mechanical issues, trucks should be inspected regularly. If they’re not, faulty engine parts, brake issues, and transmission problems have the potential to result in a jackknife accident.

Jackknife Crashes and Catastrophic Injuries

When a small vehicle is in a crash with a commercial truck, the risk for severe injuries is always higher than when two cars get into an accident because of the sheer size difference between the vehicles. With a jackknife accident, the trailer could swipe multiple vehicles when it swings out or trap a vehicle.

Because of their severity, jackknife collisions have the potential to cause catastrophic injuries and injuries that prevent a person from being gainfully employed. Common examples include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and amputation injuries. In some instances, catastrophic injuries can be fatal.

If you’ve been severely injured in a tractor-trailer crash or you’ve lost a loved one in an accident, you should know what steps to take next. To do so, it’s best to get in touch with an experienced attorney.

When you work with Krzak Rundio Gorman, Injury Attorneys, we’ll manage your claim for you while keeping you up to date throughout the process. Depending on the situation, we may be able to get you compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. If you’re ready to pursue a claim or have questions about the process and your rights, schedule a case evaluation with our firm today.

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