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Auto Accidents / Feb 29,2024

What Causes a Semi-Truck to Jackknife?

What to Know About Truck Jackknife Accidents in Colorado

Jackknife accidents occur when the trailer of a truck swings out to the side and is no longer located behind the cab. A jackknife accident can cause serious harm to nearby vehicles and their occupants. Many times, jackknifing is preventable. It is frequently caused by operator error or negligence, such as traveling too fast for road conditions.

At Flesch & Beck Law, our attorneys provide experienced representation for individuals who have been injured in truck accidents throughout Denver and the surrounding areas. Our lawyers will work with you to determine whether you have a valid claim for damages and the best way to pursue compensation. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. 

Your Comprehensive Guide to Jackknifing

Jackknifing presents a danger to the truck operator and other vehicles on the road. It occurs when the trailer of a large truck swings to the side of the cab. The trailer may collide with nearby vehicles or stationary objects as it comes to a rest near the front of the vehicle. Depending on the weight of the trailer, jackknifing could cause the entire truck to spin out of control, resulting in a serious car accident.

Why Do Trucks Jackknife?

Trucks can jackknife for a number of reasons. One of the most common causes of jackknife accidents is traveling too fast for road conditions. If a truck operator has to slam on their brakes, the vehicle’s center of gravity can be thrown off, causing it to swing wildly. Shifting cargo can also cause a jackknife accident, particularly if it is loaded improperly.

If you are involved in a jackknife accident, it is strongly recommended that you speak with an attorney. Even if you shared liability for the accident, you may still be able to file a claim for damages. 

Conditions That Increase Chances of Jackknifing

There are a number of conditions that increase the chances of a truck jackknifing. Many times, jackknifing is caused by operator errors such as inexperience, lack of training, or fatigue.

Common causes of jackknifing:

  • Speeding
  • Poor road conditions
  • Inclement weather
  • Equipment failure or a defective truck part
  • Improper or sudden braking
  • Driver fatigue
  • Shifting cargo
  • Lack of routine maintenance

If you are involved in a jackknife accident, you may be able to pursue compensation against an at-fault driver. However, insurance claims can be complicated and should be handled by a skilled attorney.

The Dangers of Trucks Jackknifing

Tragically, a jackknife accident can result in serious injury or death. The most recent data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shows that over one hundred people were killed in jackknife accidents in a single year.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):

  • There were 169 fatal jackknife accidents in a single year.
  • There were 1,000 jackknife accidents that resulted in injuries.
  • Jackknifing occurs in 3.5% of fatal large truck accidents.
  • There were 4,000 jackknifing accidents that resulted in property damage.

Liability in a jackknife accident can be challenging to ascertain without the help of a qualified lawyer. The insurance company for the truck operator may try to downplay your injuries or deny your claim altogether. They may attempt to put you 100% at fault for the accident. It is important to consult with a lawyer before making any statements to an insurer to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

What to Do If You Are Involved in a Jackknifing Accident

If you are involved in an accident, there are several steps you should take to protect your rights. Failure to act quickly can negatively affect your chances of receiving compensation for your accident-related losses.

If you are involved in a jackknifing accident, you should:

  • Move your vehicle to safety. Immediately after the collision, you should move to a safe location if you are able. If your vehicle is disabled, but you are capable of moving, you should attempt to get to the side of the road.
  • Contact 9-1-1. It is important to contact 9-1-1 from the scene of the accident. Inform the dispatcher if you or anyone else was injured in the accident. The dispatcher can send an officer to investigate the crash and emergency medical personnel to ensure you receive the emergency medical treatment you need.
  • Get a medical evaluation. If you are not taken to the emergency room right away, you still need to seek medical treatment for your injuries. Failure to seek medical treatment may make your injuries worse.
  • Secure evidence. Many times, proving your claim requires evidence that supports your version of events. If you are able, try to document what happened before, during, and after the collision. 
  • Consult with a lawyer. An attorney can help you navigate the claims process and ensure you receive the best possible outcome in your case.

It is imperative to work quickly as you only have a limited amount of time to file a claim based on personal injury in Colorado. 

Contact Our Office to Schedule a Free Consultation

Were you or a loved one injured in a jackknifing accident in Denver? Contact our office to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We can help you get the recovery you need.

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