Jackknifing tractor trailers are one hazard of the modern era of trucking. Although we hear this term all the time on the news in Joplin, MO, most people do not know exactly what it means. As seasoned Joplin truck accident lawyers, we have seen the disastrous consequences that can result when passenger vehicles are involved in jackknifing accidents, such as the recent collision that sent one man to the hospital in Macon County.
Roy Payne, 49, of LaPlata, MO was injured after a tractor trailer plowed into the trailer he was pulling. This happened on Highway 63, outside of LaPlata. The force of the collision caused Payne's vehicle to jackknife. He was transported to Northeast Regional Medical Center in Kirksville, fortunately with only minor injuries.
Many motorists involved in these dangerous tractor trailer jackknife accidents are not this lucky.
What is Jackknifing?
A tractor trailer will "jackknife" when the vehicle and its attached trailer are forced out of alignment (the trailer directly behind the tractor towing it) and form an L or V shape. If you imagine an open switchblade knife, you will see where jackknifing gets its name, as the shape of the tractor trailer resembles the open blade of such a knife.
This dangerous situation can happen due to a variety of different circumstances, most of them having to do with a loss of wheel traction. Causes of tractor trailer jackknife accidents include:
• The force of a collision
• Slick or wet roads/skidding
• Improper braking/trailer brakes locking
This last one is the main cause of jackknifing. A trucker may be speeding, distracted, or driving too fast for road conditions, and have to suddenly hit his brakes to avoid hitting another vehicle, debris, or an animal on the highway. The brakes simply cannot stop the vehicle quickly enough, the tractor skids, and the brakes in the trailer or trailers that are being towed will lock.
If either the tractor or the trailer brakes lock, the wheels lose traction, which can cause the rig to swing sideways or even fold back on itself: essentially, the whole rig is out of control. This is dangerous enough, considering a tractor trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, but imagine the damage if the trailer swings into other vehicles. It is not uncommon for a jackknife accident to destroy several passenger vehicles at a time.
The force of a massive trailer hitting a passenger vehicle can be devastating, and many fatalities and catastrophic injuries result from these accidents. Many times, the fault is the driver's, but this is not easily proven. The trucking company and its insurance carrier will do everything in their power to minimize their responsibility. They are trying to save money at the victim's expense.
If you have been seriously injured in a tractor trailer jackknifing accident in Joplin or anywhere else in Missouri, immediately take steps to protect your rights. An experienced truck accident lawyer will perform a thorough investigation of the accident, providing you with the evidence you need to go up against a big trucking company and its lawyers.
Call the Joplin truck accident lawyers at Aaron Sachs & Associates, P.C. today if you need legal advice or assistance with a semi-truck accident. Our legal team brings over 50 years of combined experience to the table for YOU--let us know how we can help. Free initial consultation offered.Attorney meetings by appointment only