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December 1, 2014

Semi-Truck Jackknife Accidents are often Actionable

jackknife truck accidentAt any given moment, there are thousands of tractor-trailers hauling goods and other materials from place to place in the United States. While these vehicles undoubtedly perform an essential function in the American economy, they are also capable of causing serious injury when they are involved in accidents. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates [1] that over 100,000 people were injured in accidents involving large trucks in 2012. In many cases, people injured in truck accidents will be able to recover for their losses by bringing a personal injury claim. Consequently, anyone affected by a semi-truck wreck should talk to a personal injury lawyer as soon as they can to determine what options they may have.

What is a jackknife accident?

Semi-trucks belong to a class of vehicles known as “articulated vehicles [2],” which are vehicles that are made up of various segments linked by movable joints. This construction allows these vehicles to be more maneuverable than they would be if they were made up of a single unit, but also makes them vulnerable to certain types of accidents to which non-articulated vehicles are not. Jackknife accidents are one of these types of accident that are unique to articulated vehicles and occur when the trailer of a truck swings out from behind the vehicle, resembling the action of a pocket knife. They can occur for a number of reasons, including:

  • High winds
  • Improper braking
  • Taking turns too fast
  • Improperly loaded or secured cargo
  • Driver error
  • Coupling device failure
  • Over-steering

After involvement in a jackknife accident, your attorney will conduct a thorough analysis of the facts of your case to determine whether any evidence of negligence exists. This can include reviewing truck maintenance records, phone records, the truck driver’s qualifications, and the safety practices of the company responsible for the operation of the truck. These investigations are often very contentious and are best conducted by someone familiar with the relevant law, and it is highly advisable for victims to be represented by an experienced truck accident lawyer. Furthermore, victims should be aware that personal injury claims arising from truck accidents are subject to a statute of limitations [3], meaning that any delay in filing a claim could jeopardize your ability to recover.

[1] http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811868.pdf

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Articulated_vehicle

[3] http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/42/00.055..HTM

 

 

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