Our Chicago trucking accident lawyers recently read a news report posted on MLive.com detailing a semi tractor-trailer accident which shut down an interstate highway for several hours. According to local authorities, the trucking accident transpired when the large commercial vehicle lost control on the snow and ice covered roadway. The truck subsequently jackknifed, causing the vehicle’s trailer to collide into the truck’s cab. The collision caused the truck’s fuel line to begin expelling its contents and the large commercial vehicle ultimately became stuck into the highway’s median. The highway remained closed for over 5 hours while highway work crews cleaned up the scene. Fortunately, no one was injured as a result of the accident. The driver of the semi truck received a citation for driving too fast for conditions.
A jackknife accident is a type of large commercial vehicle accident that commonly transpires and often results in substantial damage and harm. A jackknife occurs when a semi truck comes to a sudden stop and the cab of the commercial vehicle continues the forward momentum. This ultimately causes the truck’s cab to move horizontally across the roadway. This can be especially dangerous given that many large commercial vehicles may weigh up to 80,000 pounds. According to a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 10% of large commercial vehicle occupant fatalities are attributed to a jackknife-style type of accident. Additional research revealed that the likelihood of a jackknife fatality substantially increases when there is a speed limit of 55 or above, questionable weather conditions, and/or a curved road.
More often than not, there are some motor vehicle accidents that cannot be avoided. One the other hand, when someone is seriously or fatally injured in an accident caused by careless driving, the driver should be held legally liable for any damages that subsequently result. Large commercial vehicle drivers are required to adhere to a standard of care that requires them to operate their vehicles safely in order to avoid accidents. When that standard of care is violated by a factor such as driving too fast for conditions and an accident ensues, the driver and their trucking company may be held liable for negligence if the victim sustains injury. If a death results at the hands of a careless or negligent driver, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed against the truck driver, as well as, his/her trucking carrier. If you have been involved in an Illinois trucking accident, please contact our Chicago accident lawyers for a free consultation to see what legal rights may be available to you.