A Look at Jackknife Truck Accidents
New Jersey is a major distribution hub for cities and communities throughout the Eastern Seaboard, which is the reason why there are so many trucks driving the Garden State’s highways. According to statistics aggregated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 61 fatal truck accidents occurred in New Jersey in 2012. If you or a loved one has been injured in a jackknife truck accident or any other type of truck accident, an experienced personal injury lawyer may be able to help you attain the compensation you deserve.
What Is a Jackknife Accident?
According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, approximately 10 percent of all truck-related occupant fatalities involve situations in which a truck jackknifes. Jackknifing occurs when the cab of the truck and the trailer of the truck end up at a 90-degree angle from one another. The most frequent cause of jackknife accidents is the skidding that occurs when a driver tries to bring a truck to a halt too quickly and the brakes lock. The cab may stop, but the trailer has generated so much momentum that it will keep traveling. When it slams into the back of the cab, it spins off at an angle.
Jackknife accidents are most commonly caused by drivers who are traveling too fast, but they can be exacerbated by twisty roads or wet or icy road surfaces. Trailers that are carrying light or unbalanced loads are also more likely to jackknife.
Jackknife accidents can be extremely dangerous because the cab and trailer are turning along different axes, which means that oncoming motor vehicles can collide with the truck from both directions. When it finally comes to stop, the huge truck often sprawls across the entire roadway, bringing all traffic to a stop and thereby increasing the potential for numerous rear-end collisions.
What Types of Injuries Are Associated With Jackknife Accidents?
A number of serious injuries are associated with jackknife collisions, including:
- Broken bones: The tremendous force your body is forced to absorb when you’re in a jackknife accident often results in broken bones. One of the most common broken bone injuries associated with truck collisions is a fractured pelvis.
- Burns: If the gas tank of the vehicle you’re in explodes, it could catch on fire, which can result in severe burns.
- Concussion: You can suffer a concussion if you hit your head against the windshield, the steering wheel or some other object in your motor vehicle. You don’t actually have to hit your head to sustain a concussion, however. The condition also occurs with severe whiplash. More severe traumatic brain injuries are also associated with jackknife truck accidents.
- Back and spine injuries: Even minor collisions can injure your back and spine because that part of your body doesn’t typically have well-developed muscle or fat layers to act as a buffer against the force of an impact.
Who’s to Blame?
Establishing liability in a New Jersey truck collision can be a more complicated process than it is in many other types of car accidents. The driver of the truck may be at fault, but the owner of the truck or even the vehicle’s manufacturer may also be implicated.
The personal injury lawyer you choose to represent you will have to conduct an extensive investigation. He or she will examine police reports to determine whether traffic laws were violated. Your lawyer will also look at information from the trucking company itself to see if the driver’s training, the hours he or she was assigned to work and the vehicle’s maintenance schedule complied with the law. Your personal injury attorney may also conduct a review of known defects associated with the truck model. In some instances, the locality in which the accident took place may even share liability if road signs were inadequate or the highway itself was not properly maintained.
RAM Law understands what it takes to protect your rights when you’ve been involved in a jackknife truck accident. Contact our office in New Brunswick at (732) 247-3600 or our office in Somerville at (908) 448-2560 today to learn more about the ways a personal injury lawyer may be able to assist you.