Jackknife Accidents in Washington, DC

By Peter DePaolis

Jackknife accidents can cause catastrophic injuries and change a person’s life forever. When the two parts of a tractor-trailer, the cab and the trailer, fold into the shape of a V rather than the trailer following in line with the cab, the result can be a multi-vehicle collision and severe harm.

A Washington, DC personal injury attorney can help you with your accident claim if you got injured in one of the many jackknife accidents in Washington, DC. Most of these cases have their basis in negligence; however, several different parties could be responsible for causing the traumatic event. 

Common Causes of Jackknife Crashes

A big rig driver can cause a jackknife accident through simple negligence, distracted driving, drowsy driving, and driving mistakes. For example, if a driver starts to fall asleep at the wheel and jerks the steering wheel too quickly to get back into their lane or on the road, the semi-truck could fishtail, go out of control, and jackknife. 

The driver is not always at fault in jackknife accidents. Problems with the cargo could cause the large truck to go out of control. Adverse weather or road conditions could cause the 18-wheeler to go into a skid and then jackknife. Mechanical problems of the truck could be at fault. Also, other drivers who either slam on the brakes right in front of a tractor-trailer or who rear-end the tractor-trailer could cause this type of motor vehicle accident.

Who Can Be Liable for a Jackknife Collision

The driver could be held accountable if their negligence caused or contributed to the vehicle losing control. Here are some other parties who could face liability:

  • The driver’s employer could be responsible if they pressured the driver to work for long hours without getting their federally-mandated rest breaks.
  • The transportation company could have liability if they did not perform a background check that could have revealed a bad driving record consistent with the driver having previous problems behind the wheel. 
  • The company hired to maintain the tractor-trailer could be liable if their failure to maintain the vehicle led to the situation which culminated in the jackknife accident. 
  • The company that loaded the cargo could be accountable if they overloaded the truck or did not secure the cargo correctly, leading to a shift in the cargo.
  • The manufacturer of defective equipment like tires or brakes could get held responsible if such an item caused the accident. 
  • The driver of the other vehicle could be liable if their negligence was a factor in the accident. 

Depending on the facts of your situation, there might be additional defendants. 

Recoverable Damages in Jackknife Accident Personal Injury Claims in Washington, DC

If you got injured in a jackknife accident in Washington, DC, and the accident was the result of someone else’s negligence, you might be eligible to seek compensation for your economic losses, like property damage, medical expenses, and lost wages. You might also be able to go after money damages for your intangible losses, like disfigurement, disability, and pain and suffering. You only have a limited time to take legal action for the losses you sustained from a jackknife accident in Washington, DC. You can reach out to a DC personal injury attorney today to get started. For legal help with your case contact our office today.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.