A jackknife accident gets its name from a pocket knife or “jackknife.” It describes what the semi-truck looks like after the accident. The tractor and trailer fold into each other like you would fold a jackknife to close it.
Unfortunately, as the trailer sweeps around toward the tractor (cab), the semi-truck can “fold in” passenger cars. The result resulting crashes are devastating for the occupants of the passenger vehicles.
Thousands of jackknife truck crashes occur each year in the United States. The causes of jackknife accidents vary. However, many reasons for jackknife truck accidents involve human error and negligence.
When a truck begins to jackknife, the wheels lose traction with the road surface. Factors that can contribute to a jackknife accident include:
Driver error can also contribute to the cause of a jackknife truck accident. Impaired, distracted, and drowsy driving can increase the risk of a crash. Inexperienced drivers might not know how to handle a truck in various situations to avoid a jackknife accident.
The person who causes a traffic accident can be liable for damages in Oregon. In a large truck accident, more than one party could share liability for damages. Parties who could be liable for your damages include:
Truck drivers who are negligent and reckless can be responsible for a jackknife truck crash. Even if other factors contributed to the crash, failing to slow down and take reasonable steps to prevent the crash could result in liability for damages.
The trucking company might be held responsible for the truck driver’s actions under vicarious liability. However, the company can also be held liable when its negligence contributes to the cause of the crash.
For example, the trucking might:
Trucking companies often cut corners to save money. However, cutting corners can increase the risk of a deadly truck crash.
The truck driver might only be partially to blame for causing the jackknife crash. Other motorists could be at fault too. For example, a driver cuts off a semi-truck or fails to yield the right of way.
The shipper responsible for loading the truck could be liable if the shipper failed to load the truck correctly and secure the load properly. Overloading a truck and failing to secure cargo can cause the truck driver to lose control of the truck under various conditions.
A truck manufacturer could be liable if a defective truck part or system led to the jackknife accident. For example, let’s say brake lines caused the truck’s brakes to fail. The driver tried to avoid the crash but could not keep the truck from jackknifing when they lost the ability to brake. This type of incident could lead to a product liability claim for damages.
Many other types of parties could be liable as well, depending on the facts involved in the case.
Commercial truck accidents can cause multiple injuries. Injuries caused by large truck crashes include:
Most truck accident victims require emergency medical services. They might require multiple surgeries, extended hospital stays, and intensive physical therapy to recover. They often miss significant time from work while recovering.
An 18-wheeler accident can cause significant damage. Accident victims often sustain catastrophic injuries that result in traumatic disabilities. The damages can total hundreds of millions of dollars.
You could receive compensation for your economic damages, including:
You can also receive compensation for your non-economic damages. These damages compensate you for the following:
Some truck accident lawsuits result in punitive damages. These damages are only awarded in a few cases where the defendant acted with the following:
Punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party for their conduct.
A Portland truck accident lawyer evaluates your claim and reviews your options for recovering damages during a free consultation. Because truck accidents are complicated personal injury claims, seeking legal counsel before talking to the trucking company or insurance company is wise. These companies do not have your best interest as their top priority.