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Jackknife Accidents

Let Our Houston Truck Accident Attorneys Help

Truck accidents can be extremely deadly, particularly to surrounding cars. Most of the fatalities in crashes with big rigs are passenger vehicle occupants because commercial trucks weigh 20 to 30 times as much as passenger cars and have less maneuverability. In 2015, a total of 3,852 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks.

One of the ways in which a truck could lose control and crash is in jackknifing accidents. A jackknife can happen when the trailer portion of an 18-wheeler swings to the side until it is pointing at a 90-degree angle from the cab. The shape of the trailer and cab resembles an L or V shape, such as a folding pocketknife. A trailer can also be loaded with thousands of pounds of cargo. One of the obvious dangers is that the cab can hit other vehicles as it swings sideways. The truck can also become wider than a single lane, which can cause other accidents before it comes to a stop. Jackknifing can also cause the vehicle to overturn, which could spill dangerous cargo, creating an enormous potential hazard.

Common Causes of Jackknife Accidents

Jackknifing can occur when there is a drastic, sudden change in speed or loss of traction, such as when a driver slams on his breaks or skids in the rain. The cab will stop, but the trailer’s momentum will keep moving it forward, giving it nowhere to go but out. Other things will increase a big rig’s likelihood of jackknifing, including the following:

  • Bad weather
  • Speeding
  • Curvy roads
  • Improper braking
  • Road debris
  • Driver inattention

The trailer brakes locking is the primary cause of jackknifing accidents. Proper braking involves using the brakes to slow the speed of the truck without causing the brakes to lock up. This includes applying the brakes in a pumping action to decrease the speed of a vehicle by 5 to 6 miles per hour. However, this technique isn’t always possible in an emergency, and inexperienced drivers may panic and slam on the brakes, causing the trailer to jackknife.

Truck Accident Liability

If you get involved in a truck accident, who is liable? While in passenger vehicle crashes the at-fault driver would typically be responsible for paying for damages. However, insurance works a little differently with commercial trucks. If the truck driver was responsible for the accident, because he or she violated traffic laws, he or she would be responsible for the crash, particularly if the driver is an independent contractor.

In some cases, however, the company the driver works for may be liable. Trucking companies are responsible for training drivers and preparing them for the road. They are also responsible for ensuring their drivers don’t work more hours than is legal. These companies keep detailed records to comply with regulations.

Call an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Houston

If you’ve been involved in a jackknifing accident, it’s vital to hire an excellent Houston personal injury attorney. Accidents with large trucks can often lead to severe injuries or even wrongful death. Injuries and property damage caused by commercial vehicles can costs you thousands of dollars. If the injury is severe brain or spinal damage, the medical costs over a lifetime could range into the millions. Make sure you’re represented by a firm who will do all it can to ensure you get justice. Our firm is known for its dedicated and aggressive counsel. Let us talk to you about your situation today.

Contact us about your case at (281) 975-0031 or fill out our online form to schedule your free case consultation today.

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