Shreveport Tractor-Trailer Jackknife Accident Lawyer
At any time of the year, and especially when the weather is bad, tractor-trailers are prone to jackknifing when their wheels lock up or the driver loses control of the rig. Jackknife accidents often result in multiple vehicle collisions and many severe, catastrophic or fatal injuries. At Rice & Kendig, our personal injury and wrongful death attorneys have been helping accident victims in Shreveport-Bossier City and North Louisiana for over 40 years. We understand how to determine the cause of complex truck accidents like tractor-trailer jackknifes and hold responsible parties accountable for the injuries they have caused. If you or a loved one has been hurt in an 18-wheeler truck accident in Shreveport-Bossier City or surrounding areas, call Rice & Kendig for dedicated help getting the care and compensation you need to deal with the damage and destruction that this preventable tragedy has inflicted on you.
How Do Jackknife Accidents Happen?
A Jackknife accident can occur when the front drive wheels lose their grip on the road and lock up, sending the truck into a skid. The driver applies the brakes, which stops the cab or tractor, the powered portion of the truck. Meanwhile, the trailer portion of the tractor-trailer continues moving forward. The trailer will swing out to the side and continue swinging forward until the semi looks like a partially opened pocket knife or folding knife, also known as a jackknife. The drive wheels on the tractor may have locked, but the trailer’s wheels keep rolling, causing the driver to lose control of the truck. When a truck jackknifes at high speed, such as on the interstate, a rollover accident sometimes follows, tipping the 18-wheeler onto its side.
Jackknife wrecks occur most frequently under the following conditions:
- Icy, wet or slippery road conditions
- Driver brakes suddenly to avoid a sudden traffic slowdown or object in the road
- Driver chooses the wrong braking technique
- Equipment failure
- A truck crash with another vehicle
Can the Driver Keep the Truck from Jackknifing?
Although there is basically just one way to stop a car quickly – slamming on the brakes – truck drivers are taught three different ways to brake if they run up on a slippery patch of road or obstruction in their path: 1) Truckers can lock the trailer axles. This maneuver will remove driver control over the direction of the truck. 2) They can lock the steering axle brakes. This method keeps the truck continuing forward in a predictable direction while slowing to a stop. 3) Truck drivers can lock the drive axles. This last method is the one most likely to cause a jackknife accident. Truckers are responsible for choosing the safest way to brake under the circumstances, drawing on their experience, training and skill in an emergency.
The trucker and trucking company could also be responsible for a jackknife wreck that occurs due to equipment failure. Bad tires and bad brakes, including not just faulty brake components but outright missing components, are frequently discovered during roadside truck safety inspections. Thousands of tractor-trailers get pulled from service every year due to safety violations, accounting for around 20% of vehicles inspected. Sadly, thousands more dangerously defective 18-wheelers escape detection and continue to pose a grave risk to other drivers on the road.
Proving Tractor-Trailer Accident Liability Requires Dedication, Skills and Resources
After a tractor-trailer jackknife accident, the driver and the trucking company can be held liable to injury victims for the damages they’ve caused, including the victim’s present and future medical expenses, present and future lost wages or income, and pain and suffering. The victim will need to be able to prove negligence on the part of the driver or trucking company, whether it was driver error, lack of maintenance, faulty repair or some other factor. Trucking companies and their insurers will try to avoid liability or settle the claim as cheaply as they can. Achieving success in a truck accident case and obtaining full value for the claim requires knowledge, time and effort to analyze records and logs, driver and truck accident history and other documents, which can sometimes be buried, lost or even falsified to hide important facts.
Truck accidents are complex, and jackknife accidents especially so. Rice & Kendig has decades of experience handling car and truck accidents in North Louisiana that make us well-suited to gather the necessary facts, build a strong case and negotiate a settlement or go to court for a jury verdict in your favor.
Call Rice & Kendig for Help After a Jackknife Tractor-Trailer Accident in Shreveport-Bossier City or North Louisiana
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a jackknife tractor-trailer accident or other 18-wheeler collision in North Louisiana, call Rice & Kendig in Shreveport-Bossier City for a free consultation with a team of compassionate, dedicated and successful personal injury lawyers.