A jackknifed semi-trailer caused a crash with a police car and an Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) truck on the Northwest Side.
An Early Morning Crash
On October 11, 2017, at approximately 5:10 a.m., a semi-trailer was traveling in the outbound lanes on the Kennedy Expressway near Addison, according to the Illinois State Police. The semi-trailer then “jackknifed,” meaning that its trailer veered into another lane of traffic from its cab. The jackknifed trailer then collided with a police squad car and an IDOT truck.
The IDOT truck driver was taken to an area hospital to be treated for “minor injuries.” No other injuries were reportedly involved.
The Dangers of a Jackknifed Semi-Trailer
Essential to American commerce, semi-trailers are a fact of life, with millions of them sharing the road with other vehicles every day. But semi-trailers are not like other vehicles. They are forty or more times heavier than the average vehicle, they are taller and longer, and they are much harder to maneuver. They are also hauling extremely heavy trailers that are attached to the truck cabs but can move independently of them. Semi-trailers must be driven steadily, in a controlled fashion, and stopped gradually, particularly given their longer stopping distances. When a driver operates a semi-trailer recklessly or stops suddenly, the trailer can wrap around the cab and into another lane of traffic. This is called a jackknifed semi-trailer, a potentially deadly road hazard.
A truck driver may cause a jackknife in many ways, including the following:
- Exceeding the legal speed limit
- Driving too fast for weather or road conditions
- Distracted driving, including texting, adjusting the radio, and eating
- Improper training or instruction
- Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
The driver approaching a jackknifed semi-trailer has few safe options to avoid a collision. If the driver stops too quickly, he or she may be struck from the rear by another vehicle. If the driver attempts to swerve off of the roadway, he or she can fall into a ditch or crash into a tree. But if the driver strikes the truck or its trailer, he or she can be crushed under thousands of pounds of metal.
Jackknifed Semi-Trailer Litigation
Pursuing litigation for injuries you sustained in a collision with a jackknifed semi-trailer is no easy task. Even though truck drivers have a heightened responsibility to operate their semi-trailers so as to avoid jackknifing, and are therefore more likely to be at fault in these scenarios, that does not prevent a driver’s insurance company from arguing the opposite. Namely, that you are at fault, that you had ample time to avoid colliding with this very sudden, very dangerous road hazard. This shirking of responsibility is compounded by the fact that, unlike most vehicles, semi-trailers are usually not owned by the drivers themselves, but rather by the commercial transport companies for whom they work. These multimillion-dollar companies have vast resources available to fight these cases, and years of experience doing so, all to make sure that they pay you as little as possible.
Commercial truck accidents are also more complex than most motor vehicle accidents because of how many parties may be involved. In addition to the driver, and the commercial transport company for whom he or she works, there is very often another company that hired the commercial transport company to ship its goods, and possibly even other companies still. It is therefore highly important that all parties who are potentially at fault can be identified and pursued within the time limited by law. The failure to identify and pursue the responsible parties in a timely fashion could forever bar you from obtaining the financial compensation you deserve.
For these reasons and so many more, people who have been injured in semi-trailer accidents often find that they benefit from the help and guidance of an experienced attorney, like the semi-trailer accident attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers, Illinois’ largest Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firm.
With more than $2 BILLION having been successfully recovered by our attorneys for our clients, the Chicago semi-trailer accident injury lawyers at GWC can provide the experience and determination to fight for the justice that you deserve.
If you or someone you love has been injured, by a jackknifed semi-trailer or in some other way, please contact GWC today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. Call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with one of our representatives.