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How Can Truck Driver Negligence Cause a Jackknife Accident?

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Jackknife truck accidents are terrifying because these incidents involve a massive tractor-trailer weighing about 35,000 pounds when empty and up to 80,000 pounds when carrying cargo is out of control, potentially wiping out everything and everyone in its path. Severe injuries and fatalities are common in these extreme crashes. 

The tractor-trailer can also roll over, causing additional devastation and explosions. A California personal injury attorney can evaluate your case and explain how truck driver negligence can cause a jackknife accident.

Causes of Truck Jackknife Crashes

Sometimes a driver error causes a tractor-trailer to go into a skid, with the trailer careening sharply to one side, like the shape of a jackknife. In some other situations, environmental or equipment failures lead to these dangerous crashes.

Jackknife-causing driver mistakes include things like:

  • A truck driver exceeds the posted speed limit or travels at a faster rate than is safe for the traffic, road, or weather conditions.
  • The driver weaves in and out of traffic recklessly and loses control.
  • The driver has to suddenly slam on the brakes, trying to avoid hitting another vehicle, pedestrian, or object in the road.
  • Distractions, fatigue, or drug or alcohol impairment cause the truck driver to have to take quick evasive action.
  • Using the wrong brakes or using incorrect braking techniques can send the truck into a skid.

Here are some factors that do not involve a mistake by the driver that can cause a jackknife accident:

  • Workers loaded the cargo incorrectly, causing a weight imbalance that made the truck more likely to spin out of control.
  • Failure to properly maintain a tractor-trailer can cause the truck to develop worn brakes, bald tires, and other problems that put the vehicle at risk of a collision.
  • When a truck contains defective parts, those components could fail, leading to a skid and crash.
  • Rain, snow, and other weather conditions can cause a tractor-trailer to jackknife.
  • Sometimes, the engineering or construction of a road is faulty. The angle, grade, banking, and other issues can send a truck spinning if those things are flawed.

These are but a few examples of the many things that can cause a tractor-trailer to jackknife.

Liability in Jackknife Truck Accidents

When we discover what caused a jackknife accident, we can explore whose negligence put the accident into motion. If the truck driver’s mistake caused or contributed to the crash, you might be able to pursue him or the trucking company for money damages. 

The manufacturer of defective truck parts can be responsible for injuries and deaths caused by those items. A cargo company can be liable for harm caused by an improperly loaded tractor-trailer. The trucking company or maintenance firm can be on the hook if they fail to maintain the tractor-trailers in a safe condition. 

A California personal injury attorney could help you go after the compensation you deserve if you got hurt or a close relative died because of a jackknife truck accident. In the event of wrongful death, we might be able to pursue additional money damages on behalf of the legal beneficiaries. Get in touch with our office today.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.