Truck Jackknife Accidents and Injuries

What exactly is a jackknife accident?

We hear the term all the time but has anyone ever really explained it to you ?

I’m betting no, so here it goes.

Jackknifing is when a large, usually an 18 wheeler truck folds itself in half usually on a highway.

This can occur for many reasons but usually they are trying to stop the truck.

This puts the driver in the other vehicle in the position of having no choice but to hit the truck head on because there are no other options.

A Lot of these accidents happen on highways or interstates where there is large truck traffic.

It also happens frequently when there is weather like snow or rain storms.

These accidents can be devastating and cause major injuries or even death and this mostly happens to the drivers of the other vehicles and not the truck drivers.

The name jackknife refers to what an actual folding knife looks like when it is open to a 90 degree angle.

Since big rig trucks look like this when they try to stop on the highway the accidents that occur are called jackknife accidents.


how to avoid a semi truck accident jackknife

How to Avoid a Jackknife Accident Situation

Since I-15 is an interstate and a major thoroughfare for interstate travel for the trucking industry places like Las Vegas and Reno with Interstate 80 are more susceptible to jackknifing accidents.

People who live in areas around interstate truck traffic should use caution and follow a few simple rules to try and avoid a jackknifing accident.

  1. Keep a safe distance between you and other motorists and trucks. This allows you the opportunity to break or make another choice before a collision because you gave yourself enough time.
  2. Driving at the appropriate or posted speed limit. Since you never know what’s going to happen to the truck in front of you, driving at the posted speed limit cn also by you time to break to avoid the collision
  3. Driving only when alert. Never drive when you are tired this can slow reaction time and can contribute to a jackknife accident
  4. Getting off the freeway. I make this my first line of defense. Don’t get on the freeway if you don’t need to. If you do however need to drive on the freeway if you notice it being dangerous for whatever reason like weather then you should exit as soon as you notice an issue.

These are just some ways you can try and avoid a jackknife accident.

Sometimes however, accidents can’t be avoided.

If you have been injured in an accident involving a jackknifed tractor trailer call The Richard Harris Law Firm today.


Who’s Responsible for a Jackknife Truck Accident

Accident fault in Nevada is different from other states.

In Nevada the at fault rule means that even if you were somewhat at fault you still have the right to recover damages minus the the percentage you are at fault. 

At fault can mean many things though, just because a truck jackknifes and you hit the truck doesn’t mean that the truck driver is automatically at fault.

The accident may be determined to be caused by bad weather or road construction.

If environmental factors are the reason it may be determined that no one is actually at fault.

This is very rare however and most of the time there is one clear person at fault.

Sometimes to, the truck may be the reason the accident occured.

The truck malfunction due to lack of maintenance by the owners, in this case the owners should be held responsible for lack of reasonable care.

Maybe the truck manufacturer is at fault because the parts used in the truck are faulty.

The driver wasn’t trained properly is another common reason accidents occur and in this case the driver and the truck company owner may be held responsible.

A good personal injury attorney can investigate who is at fault and hold them responsible for your injuries due to a jackknife accident.


injury from semi truck crash

Injuries associated with jackknife truck accidents

All accidents tend to have the same injuries that occur, but during a jackknife accident these injuries can be much worse because of the sheer weight and size of the fully loaded 18 wheeler vs a 3000 pound vehicle. 

When a car is pinned in a jackknife accident these are the most common injuries:

  1. Brain Damage- usually brain damage in a jackknife accident are TBI’s or Traumatic Brain Injuries. These are injuries that can cause permanent damage and result in the victim needing life long perminst care. This usually happens when the brain is moved inside the skull or the skull is crushed due to a severe hit at high speed.
  2. Limb Amputations- The loss of limb like a leg or lower arm. This usually happens when the limb is crushed under crushed metal, severed by a piece of medal or crushed on impact. Losing a limb will involve getting prosthetic and major rehabilitation. 
  3. Spinal Cord or Back injuries- These injuries can be something minor such as whiplash, yes that is considered a minor back or neck injury to herniated disk or even paralysis. The more severe the back or spinal cord injury the more treatment that will be needed. 
  4. Cuts, Bruises, Lacerations, and broken bones- These are the most common injuries (broken ribs and bones) that occur after an accident but they can be much worse when it involves a jackknife truck.

Most of the injuries are the same as other car accidents but again the sheer size and weight of large tractor trailers at their full weight can make even the most minor injury much worse.



Getting Justice After a Jackknife Accident

No matter how the accident happened the responsible party should be held accountable and their insurance.

Or in some cases the parties themselves should be responsible for getting the victim as close to whole as an accident victim can be.

The responsible parties should pay damages for things like:

Medical Bills– This can include current after accident medical expenses and even future medical bills that can include long term care, rehabilitation, physical therapy, prescriptions, prosthetics, and any other medical expenses current or future.

Lost wages- Lost wages for any work missed due to injury and recovery. This includes current lost wages and can also include wages that could have been earned or future earnings. If a person is permanently disabled or dies in a jackknife accident the responsible party may be responsible for lost earning potential or the earning difference between actual wages and disability.

Punitive damages– Punitive damages are tricky and are decided by the court. They are damages awarded to the victims of a jackknife accident if the owner of the truck or the manufacturer of the truck are at fault due to negligence. For instance lack of maintenance is the reason for the accident

Pain and suffering– Accident victims often face psychological issues after an accident for example PTSD or post traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is caused by trauma and may involve seeing a mental health professional and medication

These are some of the things that the responsible party in a jackknife truck accident should be held accountable for.

Only an experienced personal injury attorney knows how to fight for all of these in a settlement against the responsible party in a jackknife accident.


Why Call The Richard Harris Law Firm

Richard Harris is the number one personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas.

We have recovered over a $ billion dollars for our clients over the years.

We’ve been in business for over 40 years and have a great reputation with our clients.

We offer free consultations and case reviews.

Our law firm works on a contingency basis meaning you pay nothing up front.

We only recover payment when we win your case.

We will always try to get the largest settlement allowed by law for a garbage truck accident or any semi-truck accident.

We fight for our clients and can help you get medical care or reliable transportations other other financial services while your case is pending.

If you have been injured in an accident involving a jackknifed tractor trailer call The Richard Harris Law Firm today.


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