Large tractor-trailers are essential to keep commerce running smoothly. However, they pose severe hazards on the highways unless they are well-maintained, properly loaded, and the drivers are skilled, alert, and cautious.
Poor loading, dangerous road conditions, and driver error could all cause a jackknife truck accident in State College. This occurs when the trailer skids or slides at an angle to the cab, often swinging into nearby lanes of traffic.
If a jackknifing trailer collides with another vehicle, that vehicle could be crushed or pushed into another lane. Occupants of vehicles involved in jackknife accidents with trucks often suffer severe, even fatal, injuries. Therefore, it is highly important to speak with a skilled State College semi-truck accident attorney as soon as possible.
What Causes a Truck to Jackknife?
Poor weather could contribute to a jackknife, as a truck might not handle predictably on a road that is slippery due to rain, snow, or ice. However, there are many other potential factors that could cause a truck trailer to swing, including:
- Brakes locking due to improper maintenance or sudden braking
- Improper loading resulting in shifting cargo or uneven weight distribution in the trailer
- Poor road maintenance leading to debris in the road, uneven surface, or potholes
- Driver error due to inexperience, poor training, fatigue, or impairment
A truck crash lawyer could investigate the circumstances behind a jackknifing incident in State College to identify the likely causes. If negligence were a factor, an attorney could assert a demand for damages on behalf of the injured party.
Potentially Responsible Parties in a Swinging Trailer Accident Case
In addition to the truck driver, the driver’s employer could be liable to an injured person after a jackknife accident. If poor loading was a factor, the company that loaded the truck before the accident might be partially responsibility for the incident. If there was a mechanical issue, the truck maintenance company or manufacturer could be liable.
In some cases, a local government entity could bear some responsibility for a truck crash. This might be the case if poor road maintenance or inadequate signage contributed to the wreck. A savvy attorney in State College could identify all the parties whose negligence might have contributed to the jackknife truck crash.
Filing Deadline in State College
Pennsylvania law sets a strict deadline for anyone seeking to file a civil claim. Under 42 P.S. § 5524, anyone bringing a lawsuit for personal injuries or wrongful death caused by a swinging tractor-trailer has only two years from the date of the accident to file a claim.
Urgent action is required if a state or local government could be a defendant in the lawsuit. Pennsylvania’s Sovereign Immunity Act requires anyone with a claim against the state or a local government to provide a notice of his or her claim within six months of the injury.
Speak with a State College Attorney About Jackknife Truck Accidents
Civil cases involving commercial vehicles can be complex, as there are often multiple defendants who might be liable for severe or catastrophic injuries. Having a capable advocate on your side could be the key to receiving an adequate settlement.