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Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP Celebrating 150 years

New York Truck Jackknife Accident Lawyer

Semi-trailers, eighteen-wheelers, tractor-trailers and other large trucks are a regular presence on interstate freeways and New York highways. While they are an essential part of the state and national economies, they present certain dangers to other motorists on New York roadways. Overworked and under-rested truckers can lose control of their vehicles, sending their massive trucks in every wrong direction possible. When a large truck swerves out of control, it is not just the truck driver who is in danger. In fact, it is most often other drivers on the road who suffer serious injury or worse.

If you or someone you care about has been hurt or killed in a jackknife crash with a large truck or commercial vehicle anywhere in the Hudson Valley area, contact a seasoned truck accident attorney at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP. We will pursue your claims against the biggest freight companies, insurance companies, and any other parties who should be held liable for the harm that you and your family have suffered. We will fight for your right to coverage of the medical costs, pain and suffering, and other compensation you deserve.

What is a Jackknife Accident?

A jackknife accident refers to a specific type of traffic crash involving a semi-truck. When a trucker loses control of the vehicle for some reason and overcorrects, the cab and the trailer can fold in at the point of connection. The cab and the trailer will wind up in a 90-degree angle or V shape. The V-shape resembles a pocket-knife halfway folded in, giving this type of accident its name.

Jackknife accidents are extremely dangerous. The truck bed will often wind up blocking several other lanes of traffic, catching other vehicles and leading to multi-car pile-ups. Jackknifes also significantly increase the risk of a rollover, which can lead to additional hazards and fatalities.

What Causes Jackknife Accidents?

Jackknife accidents occur when truckers lose control of the vehicle and then try to overcorrect. A driver can lose control of the truck for many reasons, not always due to the driver’s own negligence. At Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP, we help jackknife accident victims recover damages from all responsible parties, whether the cause of the accident is any of the following:

  • Overloaded beds or unbalanced loads. Trucks must be loaded properly and below a certain weight limit in order to remain stable. A trailer loaded improperly, or with too heavy a load, can make the whole vehicle off balance and cause the driver to lose control.
  • Driver error. Commercial trucks are massive vehicles that require special knowledge and care to operate. Drivers must complete additional classes and obtain special licenses to operate a large truck. If they make a vital error at the wrong moment, a jackknife accident can result.
  • Driver fatigue. Truckers work long, punishing hours. The government has implemented regulations limiting the number of hours drivers can work each day and each week. When drivers ignore those regulations, either due to encouragement by their employer or through their own volition, they increase the risk of dozing off at the wheel. When a driver falls asleep, they are likely to lose control of the vehicles.
  • Faulty equipment. Whether due to lack of maintenance or defective parts, if a vital piece of equipment in the truck fails at the wrong time, a serious accident is likely to result.
  • High speeds and curves. Trucks are giant, unwieldy hunks of metal. Driving at a high speed, especially when making a sudden or sharp turn, can lead to a jackknife or rollover accident.
  • Inclement weather. Ice, snow, rain, fog, and wind can all increase the likelihood of a jackknife accident.
  • Irresponsible truckers are known to consume alcohol or drugs before getting behind the wheel, just like drivers of other vehicles. Many truckers consume intoxicants to overcome the fatigue or boredom of long hours on the roads. Operating a large truck requires a clear head and a focused mind; drunk or drugged driving vastly increases the chance of a serious jackknife accident.

Contact a Dedicated New York Personal Injury Lawyer for Help With a Hudson Valley Jackknife Truck Accident Claim

For a free consultation on your possible jackknife accident claim, contact the seasoned truck accident attorneys at the New York personal injury law firm Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP, in Kingston at 845-331-4100 or in Marlboro at 845-236-4411.

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