It happens time and again on America’s highways: a semi-truck or 18-wheeler starts to slide or skid. When the truck stops, the trailer part of the truck wraps around the tractor/cab. The trailer ends up at a 90-degree angle from the tractor. The driver of the truck likely suffers serious injuries or dies. Any vehicles near the truck can easily collide with the truck is now sprawling over the highway. Cars near the truck may also veer off the road or crash into other vehicles as they attempt to avoid the tractor-trailer. The police must be called along with specialty trucks to clear the truck from the road. Traffic may be backed up for hours.
Jackknife accidents in Mississippi are usually due to the negligence of the driver. Some of the reasons the driver may lose control of his/her truck include:
- Traveling at high speeds. Trucks traveling at high speeds require a lot of distance to stop. When drivers exceed the speed limit, it’s likely they’ll have to slam on their brakes at some point. The reliance on brakes to stop the semi or other large truck can cause the truck to jackknife.
- Faulty brake maintenance. Since truck drivers often exceed the speed limits to make their deliveries on time, it’s critical that the truck’s brakes be inspected regularly. When truck drivers rely on heavy braking, the axles of the trailer can lock before the axles on the tractor. When this happens, the trailer can swing out to the side causing the jackknife.
- Turns and curving roads. Trucks are especially likely to jackknife when they speed through a curve. As the truck driver tries to gain control of the trailer, the trailer can move in a different manner and direction than the tractor.
- Dangerous weather conditions. Even a minor skid can cause the trailer and tractor to slide away from each other. Skids are more likely after a rain or whenever the roads are wet or slippery.
- Road gradient changes. Tractor-trailers simply cannot stop as quickly as smaller cars can. Sharp decreases in gradient, mixed with negligence by other drivers and/or low visibility, can cause a trucker to either drive into the shoulder or slam on the brakes.
- Tired drivers. Many trucking companies push their drivers to drive long hours – even though the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the number of hours a driver can drive each day. When drivers are tired, they’re more apt to lose control of their tractor-trailer and more likely to fail to respond to emergencies.
- Inexperienced drivers. Trucking companies need to ensure their drivers are properly trained and experienced, but sometimes the inexperienced driver is in a different vehicle. Drivers who don’t know how to act around trucks can make mistakes that force the trucker to risk hitting them or wrecking their rig.
At Merkel & Cocke, P.A. our Mississippi injury lawyers have been fighting for truck accident victims for 38 years. We work to show how the accident happened, why the defendants are liable, and how much your damages are. We have a strong track record of negotiating just settlements and successful jury verdicts. To discuss your case, call us at 662-627-9641 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We represent clients in Jackson, Clarksdale, Oxford, Tupelo, and across the Gulf Coast region.
After graduating from the University of Virginia Law School in 1975, Mr. Cocke and Mr. Merkel established Merkel & Cocke, P.A. in 1982. Since that time the emphasis of Mr. Cocke’s practice has progressed toward medical malpractice. At the present time his practice is exclusively devoted to handling medical negligence cases for the plaintiff, either as a result of direct contact by the client or on referral from other attorneys who are not familiar with the handling of medical negligence cases. Mr. Cocke was selected Best Lawyer of the year for 2012 and 2014 in The Memphis area in the field of Medical Malpractice and has been selected a Best Lawyer and Super Lawyer every year since 2006. Learn more about John Hartwell Cocke here.