A “jackknife accident” occurs when a tractor-trailer folds in on itself like a pocketknife. In other words, the semi truck comes to a halt while the heavy trailer maintains momentum and pushes the tractor from behind, causing the trailer to swing around until it is nearly side-by-side with the tractor.
Jackknife accidents, although less fatal than other types of truck accidents, can be catastrophic to the involved motorists. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), jackknife accidents caused 254 fatalities along with more than 1,000 injuries in 2005. In addition to personal damages, jackknife accidents are responsible for thousands of dollars in property damage annually. Read the rest »
Any accident involving a big rig increases risk of serious injury, but jackknife accidents have the potential to cause a larger accident area. When a tractor trailer or other articulated vehicle jackknifes, the cab and the trailer fold at their pivoting or linking joint until the vehicle forms an acute angle, like a folding knife, with the cab and trailer facing opposite directions. In a jackknifed position, the big rig would become stuck, usually across multiple lanes of traffic, which can cause chain reaction accidents.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) 2009 Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts, there were 295,215 large truck accidents in that year. Over 4,000 of these were jackknife accidents. The 4,146 jackknife accidents included 3,000 property damage crashes, 1,000 injury crashes, and 146 fatal crashes.
With the exception of intentional jackknifing, which a truck driver may do in order to stop a truck whose brakes have failed, jackknife accidents are often caused by dangerous road conditions, equipment failure, and improper braking.
- If dangerous roadways cause a jackknife truck accident, then the agency or department responsible for maintaining those roads may be held liable for the losses caused by the crash. In cases of hazardous roads caused by inclement weather, however, the truck driver is responsible for operating their big rig in accordance with the current conditions of the road.
- Equipment defects and/or failure are usually caused by poor truck manufacturing and improper vehicle maintenance. The truck manufacturer, the trucking company and even the truck driver may be held liable for injuries in defective manufacturing or poor maintenance cases.
- It is the large truck driver’s responsibility to pay attention to the conditions of the road and brake appropriately and safely. If they do not, whether due to inexperience, impairment, distraction, or other form of negligence, the truck driver, and even the trucking company, may be held liable.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury in a Georgia jackknife tractor trailer accident, the knowledgeable Atlanta jackknife accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Wayne Grant, P.C., can help you understand your legal rights and options. Call one of our skilled attorneys today to discuss your potential personal injury claim at 404-995-3955 or toll-free at 866-249-5513.