semi-truck jackknifed on side of the road on an overcast winter's day

Did you recently get hurt in a jackknife truck accident in St. Louis? Are you worried about how you will cover your expenses and regain your health? Sumner Law Group, LLC, wants to help. We can handle every aspect of your claim, from investigating the accident to negotiating with insurance companies, while you focus on healing. We strive to secure the total compensation you need to cover all your medical bills, lost income, and related losses.

Don’t face this stressful period alone. Reach out to Sumner Law Group, LLC, now for a free consultation to learn how we can take the pressure off you and support your recovery.

What Is a Jackknife Truck Accident?

A jackknife truck accident occurs when a large truck with two parts, such as a semi-truck and its trailer, folds at the pivot point between them. The folding usually resembles the angle of a closing pocket knife, hence the term “jackknifing.” Such accidents often happen when the truck driver brakes suddenly, and the trailer swings out and locks into an acute angle with the truck’s cab.

When a truck jackknifes, it poses a significant hazard on the road and can contribute to severe accidents. Jackknifing is a factor in 5.7 percent of fatal truck accidents involving articulated trucks (tractor-trailers and semi-trucks) and 3.5 percent of fatal truck accidents overall.

What Are the Common Causes of Jackknife Crashes?

Jackknife truck accidents can happen for several reasons, most of which are preventable. Here are some of the most common reasons jackknife accidents occur:

  • Sudden braking – When a truck driver hits the brakes hard and abruptly, the trailer can continue moving forward at speed while the cab slows down. The difference in momentum can cause the trailer to swing out to one side and form a sharp angle with the cab.
  • Speeding – If a truck is moving too fast, particularly in poor road conditions or around curves, maintaining control becomes much more challenging. It can lead to the truck skidding or the driver needing to brake abruptly, both of which can trigger a jackknife.
  • Improper cargo loading – If a truck’s cargo is too heavy or unevenly distributed, it can throw off its balance and lead to a jackknife accident. The imbalance makes it harder to steer the truck correctly and increases the risk of the trailer swinging out during maneuvers or when braking.
  • Inadequate driver training – Handling a large truck requires skill and understanding, especially in emergencies. Inexperienced or inadequately trained truck drivers might not know how to react correctly in situations that could lead to jackknife accidents.
  • Mechanical failures – Faulty equipment can also lead to a jackknife accident. For example, if a truck’s braking system is uneven or fails during operation, the driver could lose control, causing the trailer to swing wildly and jackknife.

How Jackknifing Causes Severe Traffic Accidents in St. Louis

When a truck jackknifes, its trailer swings wide, often sweeping across multiple lanes. The sudden movement can catch other drivers off guard, leading to dangerous collisions. Sometimes, jackknifed trucks block the road entirely, creating barriers that incoming vehicles cannot avoid. That can result in multi-car pile-ups, especially on highways where traffic is moving at high speeds.

The size and weight of a jackknifed truck make these accidents especially severe, often leaving vehicle occupants with significant injuries or even fatalities.

Most Common Injuries in Jackknife Truck Accidents in Missouri

Truck jackknife accidents are often severe and can lead to a wide range of serious injuries, such as:

  • Concussions
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Whiplash
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Internal bleeding
  • Lacerations
  • Bruises
  • Crush injuries
  • Amputations
  • Burns
  • Abdominal injuries
  • Puncture wounds
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Nerve damage
  • Eye and face injuries
  • Psychological trauma
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Who Is Liable When a Semi-Truck Jackknifes?

Several parties could bear liability for a jackknife truck wreck, depending on how and why the accident occurred. Here are some examples of parties that could be liable for these accidents:

  • Truck drivers – Truck drivers often hold responsibility if their actions lead to jackknife accidents. For example, if a driver was speeding, not paying attention, or failing to maintain control of the truck, they could be at fault.
  • Trucking companies – The company that owns the truck or employs the driver could also be liable, especially if its failure to follow regulations contributed to the accident. That could include not enforcing driving hour limits or failing to conduct proper maintenance on the truck.
  • Maintenance providers – If a mechanical failure resulting from poor maintenance led to the jackknife accident, the service provider that last maintained the truck might be liable. That could occur if they did not correctly service the truck or failed to identify critical issues.
  • Cargo loaders – If improper loading was a factor in the accident, the party responsible for loading the truck’s cargo might be liable. Incorrectly secured or unevenly distributed cargo can cause dangerous imbalances and contribute to jackknifing.
  • Vehicle manufacturers – If a defect in the truck led to the accident, the manufacturer might be liable. That could include faulty brakes, defective tires, or other critical parts that failed and contributed to the jackknife.

Pursuing Compensation for Jackknife Truck Accident Injuries

If you’re involved in a St. Louis truck jackknife accident, you can demand compensation for several types of losses and expenses resulting from the crash. It could include compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Future medical costs
  • Lost income
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium
  • Property damage

How Our St. Louis Jackknife Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help

Sumner Law Group, LLC, provides comprehensive legal support for truck accident victims affected by jackknife truck crashes in St. Louis. Our team is equipped to thoroughly investigate your case to gather evidence and build a strong claim. We’ll handle all negotiations with insurance companies to pursue the compensation you need for medical expenses, lost wages, and more. Our attorneys are skilled in litigating tough cases and prepared to go to trial if necessary to fight for you.

By choosing Sumner Law Group, LLC, you gain a dedicated partner who will work diligently to secure a favorable outcome for your injury claim. Contact us now to arrange a free initial consultation with an experienced truck accident lawyer. Let’s discuss how we can assist you in moving forward.