Jackknifing semi kills two on California interstate

Posted on April 11, 2013 by

On behalf of The Law Office of Marvin S. Lanter posted in Car Accidents on Thursday, April 11, 2013.

A jackknifing semi can careen unexpectedly into another vehicle injuring or killing those involved. A “jackknife” occurs when a semi’s front and back ends come out of alignment, forcing the vehicle to take the shape of a “V.” When a court assesses the liability of a semi driver involved in a car accident, jackknifing will be one factor they consider in determining fault.

Two people are dead after a semi-truck jackknifed and collided with their vehicle in California. The semi-truck struck the victim’s car after crashing through the center guardrail, engulfing both vehicles in flames. Both the driver and the passenger of the automobile were trapped in the wreckage and died at the scene of the accident. Although the incident is still under police investigation, the driver of the semi-truck claims he blacked out when the accident occurred after choking on a piece of food.

Jackknifing was a factor in this recent auto accident. It is important, however, to be aware that there may be times when a driver has to risk jackknifing to avoid causing an accident. For example, a semi-truck driver may jackknife after it swerves suddenly to avoid another car. Adverse road or weather conditions could also cause a semi-truck to jackknife. For these reasons, it is not true that jackknifing automatically means the semi-truck driver is liable for the accident. Jackknifing will only be one factor the court will consider in assessing whether a semi-truck driver has met their duty of care.

That being said, semi-truck drivers must understand the limitations of their vehicles and driving defensively. In addition, there are techniques a truck driver may employ to avoid jackknifing, including braking in a way that reduces the need for the vehicle to come to a sudden stop. Even if a semi unintentionally jackknifes, they could still be found liable in a subsequent lawsuit. Careful driving is the best way for drivers to decrease the number of deadly accidents associated with jackknifing.

Source: DavisPatch, “UPDATE: Second Person Found Dead in Crash,” Mirna Alfonso, March 28, 2013

© 2017 The Law Office of Marvin S. Lanter, Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer. All Rights Reserved.
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