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A jackknife truck accident happens when the back part of the truck (the trailer) swings from the rear section from behind the cab and subsequently forms a 90-degree angle with the cab, resembling a jackknife opening or closing. A jackknife truck accident often leads to major injuries and property damage to those inside other vehicles affected on the roadway. Here, we want to review some of the common causes of jackknife accidents as well as the importance of contacting an experienced Phoenix personal injury attorney if you or a loved one have been injured in an incident like this.

jackknife truck accidents in phoenix, arizona

How a Jackknife Collision Occurs

A jackknife collision can occur in a variety of ways, but usually, these incidents happen when the front part of a tractor-trailer (the cab, where the engine and driver are) slows down or skids, but the attached trailer continues moving forward at the same speed because it does not slow down or stop. This type of incident can lead to the trailer pushing forward towards the front of the vehicle, often moving sideways, creating the “jackknife” effect. 

There are a variety of reasons why a truck may skid into a jackknife, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Wet roadways
  • Icy or snowy roadways
  • Truck brake failure
  • Turning too quickly
  • Speeding or operating at unsafe speeds
  • Inexperienced truck drivers
  • Truck driver fatigue or distraction
  • Improper cargo loading causing a weight imbalance

A jackknife incident can lead to major injuries or property damage, particularly for smaller vehicles caught up in the incident. These incidents can result in a smaller vehicle getting crushed between the trailer and the cab of the truck, or the trailer can push smaller vehicles off the roadway altogether. These types of incidents can also lead to a complete blockage of traffic lanes, leading to major pile-ups on the roadway.

Aside from significant property damage, these incidents can lead to major injuries for drivers and passengers involved, including spinal cord trauma, broken or dislocated bones, brain injuries, internal bleeding or organ damage, lacerations, crush injuries, and more.

Liability for an Arizona Jackknife Truck Crash

There will need to be an extensive investigation after any jackknife accident in order to determine liability. In many cases, the actions of the truck driver directly lead to these types of incidents occurring, so liability may fall to the driver. If the driver is employed by a trucking company, then the company will likely ultimately hold liability for the incident. The company could also hold liability if truck failure led to the incident occurring, particularly if regular inspections and maintenance have not been completed.

There may be various other parties who could hold liability, including truck or part manufacturers, cargo-loading third-party companies, maintenance companies, or even government entities and regulators.

Call an Attorney After a Major Truck Collision in Arizona

If you or somebody you love has died in an Arizona jackknife truck accident or any other type of incident involving a larger commercial truck, reach out to an attorney immediately. A skilled Phoenix truck accident lawyer can get involved quickly, begin obtaining evidence, and handle all communication with other parties involved. Your focus should be on recovering from your injuries, not dealing with truck drivers and trucking carriers or their legal team. Let an attorney handle the claim on your behalf.