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18 Wheeler Jackknife Accidents

Posted on Sunday, March 31st, 2019 at 12:37 am    

At any one time, there are literally tens of thousands of semi trailers on Texas highways. These 18 wheelers are mostly driven by careful and experienced truck drivers. Statistics held by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) do not indicate that these giants are any more likely to crash than any other vehicle. In fact, the incidence of truck crashes is probably less than that for ordinary cars. However, when an eighteen wheeler does crash, the potential effects can be far more devastating than a collision between two cars.

One of the most common causes of eighteen wheeler crashes is jackknifing. A truck towing a trailer jackknifes when the cab and the trailer move in different directions out of control. There are many reasons why a large truck might jackknife and not all of them are the fault of the driver. However, a jackknifing truck creates immense danger for other vehicles and often is the immediate cause of multi-vehicle pile ups.

Because of the sheer size and weight of the average eighteen-wheeler, the impact of a jackknifing truck on another vehicle is potentially huge. Injuries involving large trucks of this type are typically more serious than those caused by accidents involving smaller vehicles. Obviously, every accident is unique and a collision with a truck just emerging from a side turning is less likely to be as serious as a collision with a jackknifing cab and trailer at 60 mph.

Reasons why a truck might jackknife

A truck jackknifes when the direction and speed of the trailer is different from the direction and speed of the cab. There are many reasons why this might occur. These reasons can be divided into those in which the driver is implicated and those that are not his or her fault.

Driver error jackknife scenarios

These may include:

  • speeding or too fast for the weather or road conditions;
  • fatigue;
  • distracted driving, e.g. using a cell phone inappropriately;
  • intoxication, use of drugs or attention altering medication.

Note that all these driver errors could cause any type of truck accident, such as a head on collision, side swipe, rear end crash and so on. If the driver is attempting to negotiate a curve, or pass another vehicle, then this is when the truck may jackknife.

Other causes of jackknifing

  • slippery road surface from spilled substances such as oil or chemicals, rain, ice or snow;
  • animal or other object suddenly appears in front of the truck causing the driver to swerve quickly;
  • swerving to avoid another road user who is driving dangerously;
  • brake malfunction, usually caused by the trailer wheels ‘locking up.’

What to do after a jackknifing truck accident

If you have been involved in a truck accident of any type and have been injured, the chances are that it was not your fault. If the truck jackknifed and hit you as it went out of control, or hit another vehicle which hit you, then the truck driver was probably to blame in some way. You may be able to obtain necessary compensation for medical treatment, lost earnings and a pain and suffering payment if it can be proved that the driver was at fault.

The first priority after any road accident is to ensure you get treated for your injury. While you are waiting for an ambulance or on the spot treatment, you may be able to make it easier to later file a personal injury claim against either the driver or the truck company. If there are other eye witnesses, you could obtain contact details, or even take statements from them if you have a voice recorder on your cell phone. You may also be able to take photos of the truck and your vehicle which may help identify who was at fault. The police are almost always likely to turn up, especially if the jackknifed truck is a traffic hazard. Their accident report will be important evidence if you go ahead later with a claim.

If you have been injured in any kind of truck accident and are considering claiming compensation with the help of an experienced truck accident attorney, you can rely on the Patino Law Firm in McAllen for expert legal help. You can call the Patino Law Firm to arrange an appointment at 956-631-3535.