You might have seen it on the highway a time or two – a large semi-truck folded in half, with the rig facing the rear of the trailer. While disturbing to see, these types of truck accidents can be among the deadliest crashes on the road, due to the fact that when a truck jackknifes, the driver loses all control.
If you’ve been injured in a jackknife accident in or around the Houston area, call The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian to discuss your options. You may be entitled to significant compensation for your injuries, but time is limited for filing a claim. Schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable Houston truck jackknife accident lawyers now.
What Is a Jackknife Accident?
So what causes a truck to jackknife? A “jackknife accident” occurs when the power unit (the actual tractor) loses control and the trailer continues to move forward, rather than continuing to follow the tractor.
Many things can cause this, but driver error is usually at the top of the list. Once a driver loses control of the rig and the trailer begins to hydroplane or actually pass the rig, there is little the driver can do. The truck will usually lose traction, leading to a very fast jackknife effect.
But why is it called a jackknife accident? This type of crash gets its name because the truck looks somewhat the way a folding knife looks when being closed.
What Causes a Truck to Jackknife?
If you ask a negligent driver or the trucking company, they will likely argue it was unavoidable or that weather somehow was the cause. While weather certainly can play a big role in causing a jackknife crash, it’s up to the driver to slow down and adjust for poor conditions so that this doesn’t occur. Some common contributing factors include:
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
- Distracted driving
- Poor truck maintenance or defective parts
- Improperly loaded or secured cargo
- Unfamiliarity with roads
- Driving in bad weather
How Truck Drivers Can Avoid Jackknifing
A truck driver should almost always be able to prevent a jackknife accident, meaning he or she is usually at least somewhat to blame for causing one. Many times, the driver was either operating the rig too fast, turning too quickly or abruptly, or otherwise not in full control.
Except in rare cases, the driver of the truck should be able to avoid a jackknife long before it happens, simply by slowing down and taking their time.
Who Is Liable in a Jackknife Accident?
Obviously, an inexperienced, poorly trained, or reckless driver is always a possibility. But there are also other parties who may share in the blame. For instance:
- Trucking Companies – While an employee truck driver may be directly negligent for causing the accident, the company that hired and failed to adequately supervise and train the driver may also be held accountable for the injuries.
- Bad Mechanical Maintenance – Many large national trucking companies have their own maintenance teams, but others (usually smaller outfits or owner-operated companies) use outside mechanics to maintain trucks and trailers. If a mechanic forgets to fix a tandem or fails to identify a broken tandem slide or brake line malfunction, then the mechanic may share some of the blame.
- Freight Brokers – Much like investment brokers who sell stocks and bonds, a freight broker connects shipping companies with trucking companies for a fee. These brokers get paid more for filling tougher hauls or filling larger orders. So sometimes they attempt to fit too much freight on a single truckload, leading to illegal or unsafe weights.
Common Jackknife Accident Injuries
After a serious trucking collision, there may be a lot on your mind. Whether you are worried about mounting medical expenses, unpaid bills, loss of employment, or how you will get to and from doctors’ appointments, the last thing you need is to deal with an aggressive commercial insurance company calling you every day in an attempt to get you to sign paperwork. Keep in mind that insurance adjusters will try to get you to sign paperwork that waives your rights.
You should never settle your case until you have all the relevant information. Many people suffer terrible injuries and don’t even realize the severity of the harm until it’s too late. Common truck accident injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back and spine injuries
- Internal injuries
Never accept a truck accident settlement offer without speaking to an experienced personal injury lawyer. Call The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian today for a completely free and confidential consultation with a Houston trucking accident lawyer.
How Can a Jackknife Accident Attorney in Houston Help Me?
There are a lot of ways you can get hurt in a trucking accident, and chances are our attorneys have seen just about all of them. We have carefully helped many clients recover maximum compensation from trucking companies and their large and powerful insurance companies over the years. When our law firm gets involved, we can usually assist by:
- Rapidly getting an investigator on scene to document the evidence
- Performing a detailed investigation into the trucking company, the driver, and any other parties involved
- Gathering all the necessary evidence and medical records to support your case
- Negotiating aggressively with insurance adjusters
- Filing a lawsuit to protect your rights
- Litigating your case in court if the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement
- Resolving liens and medical debts once a settlement has been reached or an award granted
Contact a Houston Jackknife Accident Attorney Today
In Texas, you have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit against anyone you believe is responsible for your injuries. If you fail to do so, you will almost certainly lose your rights to compensation forever.
For more than 15 years, The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian has been serving truck accident victims throughout the greater Houston area. After a serious trucking collision in Texas, don’t take chances on your recovery. Call our dedicated team of attorneys today and schedule a free initial consultation to find out if we can help you, too.