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Auto Accidents / Semi Truck Accidents / Jackknife Accidents

Evansville Jackknife Accidents Attorneys

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Evansville Jackknife Accidents Attorneys

Semi-truck accidents are some of the most dangerous and deadly accidents on Indiana roadways. In fact, according to data from the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration, Indiana ranks as one of the top ten states where large trucks are involved in fatal accidents. Jackknifing trucks pose one of the most serious threats to the safety of other motorists.

A jackknifed truck can sweep other cars into its path, hitting them, even dragging them along the road. There is also a high likelihood of the truck overturning or rolling over, crushing other vehicles in its wake. A truck that has jackknifed can also lose its cargo and spread hazardous debris all over the road, posing a hazard for unsuspecting motorists. All these scenarios lead to one thing, serious and sometimes even fatal injuries for motorists involved in the accident.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a jackknife 18-wheeler accident, chances are you are suffering from very serious injuries. At Chapman Injury Lawyers, we understand the pain and trauma you are going through as you try to get your life back in order. You may still be in the hospital while the bills start to pile up, and insurance adjusters hound you to sign over your legal rights for a check.

Will that check be enough to cover your medical expenses today? What about tomorrow, or one year from now when you need physical therapy? Don’t let the trucking company’s lawyers and insurers frighten you into making a poor decision because you’re hurt and anxious about the future. Call Chapman Injury Lawyers at (812) 461-6261 for a free consultation about the details of your case. We don’t want you to settle for anything less than fair compensation.



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What is a Jackknife Accident?

“Jackknifing” is a term that describes a particular type of large truck accident where the two parts of the truck, the cab and the trailer it pulls, folds in on itself. The cab and the trailer bend or swivel at the place where they are joined forming a 90-degree angle or a “V” shape.

The term was coined because the accident resembles a pocketknife blade folding into its handle when closing. Jackknifing accidents are extremely serious and can cause massive damage, even death. The swinging trailer can easily sweep up other vehicles in its path or spill the contents of the trailer out onto the road, setting up another series of accidents.

How is a Jackknife Accident Caused?

There are many factors that can lead to a jackknifing accident on Indiana roadways. Typically, a jackknife accident will result from severe braking or skidding of the truck. However, other factors can lead to a jackknifing accident as well. Here are a few examples:

  • Curving roads – A sharp curve can be difficult for a large truck, even in excellent conditions. If the weight balance of the truck is incorrect, weather conditions are poor, or the driver is not adequately paying attention to the road, a sharp curve can lead to a jackknifing accident.
  • Weather conditions – Slippery roads or wet conditions are a major contributor to jackknifing accidents. High winds may also be to blame in some cases.
  • Road debris – Debris that has fallen from a jackknifed truck may be toxic, and can cause other vehicles to slip and slide, and lose control.
  • Brake failure – Brake failure is one of the most dangerous hazards for a truck, and can easily result in a driver swerving and jackknifing.
  • Locked wheels – A locked wheel can cause the driver to lose control, or even lock the driver into a turn, resulting in a jackknife accident.

Negligence Factors that Can Contribute to a Jackknifing Accident 

Jackknifing accidents can be the result of negligent behavior on the part of the truck driver, the trucking company, or even the company responsible for loading the truck with cargo. Examples of negligence that could contribute to a serious crash include:

  • Improperly loaded cargo – The distribution of weight is important to how a truck handles on the road. Improperly loaded or distributed cargo can cause stability issues, making it difficult for a driver to compensate.
  • Speeding – Speeding and then suddenly having to break for any reason can cause the brakes to lock or even lead to an imbalance that can send a truck jackknifing.
  • Driver fatigue – A driver who is tired and lacks proper rest is at risk for driver fatigue and even falling asleep behind the wheel. If they aren’t paying attention to driving conditions or suddenly wake up with a jolt and hit the brakes or turn the wheel, they can jackknife the vehicle.
  • Inexperienced/improperly trained driver – All drivers need to be properly trained. A lack of sufficient training or due diligence on the part of the trucking company can lead to serious accidents.
  • Improper braking – There are braking procedures that a trucker must use to slow down and stop a semi-truck. Ignoring these procedures or braking suddenly can cause the brakes and axles to lock up sending the truck into a jackknifing shape.
  • Intoxicated driving – Driving a large truck while under the influence significantly increases the risk of having a major accident. Decision-making and reaction time are significantly incapacitated, increasing the chance of the driver making an error that can lead to a jackknifing accident.
  • Maintenance issues – Trucks must complete regular and thorough safety inspections. Failure to follow these regulations can result in a defect or maintenance issue being ignored or missed. If a truck’s breaks are not properly adjusted and correctly maintained, the axels can lock and cause an accident.

Who is Liable for a Jackknifing Accident?

In the event of a jackknifing accident, we tend to look to the driver first as the source of the blame. However, truck accidents can be very complicated, and more than one party may be responsible for causing the accident. Other than the truck driver themselves, the trucking company, the cargo loading company, even the truck or parts manufacturer could also be held liable for a jackknifing accident.

How is that possible? For instance, a trucking company may be partly responsible for an accident if it can be proven that they were negligent in their hiring practices or failed to properly inspect and maintain the safety of the truck. A cargo loading company could share part of the liability in an accident if it can be determined that they improperly loaded or secured the truck’s cargo. A manufacturer may bear responsibility if they created a defective part that contributed to the accident.

With so many avenues to explore it can be difficult to pin down how an accident happened and who is to blame without the help of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. Trucking companies, manufacturers, and cargo loaders don’t want to be dragged into a lengthy investigation that will cost them money. That is why trucking companies have teams of lawyers and insurers at their disposal. They want to pay you off and move on, regardless of whether that money will be enough to cover all your expensive medical bills. By accepting their settlement, no questions asked, you are giving away all your legal rights to hold them accountable for their negligence.

Don’t sign or accept anything until you have spoken to an attorney who understands how to handle large truck accidents. Jackknifing accidents leave serious damage in their wake, damage you could be forced to deal with for the rest of your life. Instead, hire a lawyer to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Truck Accidents are Different

Make no mistake, truck accidents are very different from regular passenger vehicle accidents. Not only can 80,000- pound fully loaded trucks do much more damage, the number of liable parties involved makes these cases extremely challenging. Getting legal representation right away is a smart idea after a truck accident because to get a fair compensation you need to prove fault. Trucks may have valuable evidence like in-cab video recorders, safety logbooks, maintenance records, and even cell phone records that an attorney may be able to secure on your behalf, before that evidence is lost or destroyed.

How Can an Attorney Help Me After a Jackknife Accident?

The injuries that can result from a jackknife accident could be life-altering. You may have ongoing medical expenses or changes you need to make to your home or lifestyle in order to accommodate you. A trucking company or their insurance provider doesn’t care about what tomorrow holds for you, they want to pay you the minimum they can get away with and move on. It’s about their bottom line, not yours.

You need someone who you can trust to fight for your rights and get you the compensation that you need so you can rebuild your life. This goes beyond money; this is about securing peace of mind for you and your family.

You need someone who you can trust to fight for your rights and get you the compensation that you need so you can rebuild your life. This goes beyond money; this is about securing peace of mind for you and your family.

Don’t face this alone.

Insurance companies handle thousands of claims each year. They treat you like a number. We treat you like family. We take care of your case so you can take care of you.

We represent people on a no recovery–no fee basis. This means we front all the costs of taking on the insurance company and if we don’t win your case, you don’t owe us anything. We are always available to discuss your injury case with you. Call, text or email for a free consultation.


(812) 426-0600