A big rig driver apparently panicked and hit his brakes in response to an obstacle, and then jack-knifed across Interstate 35, causing a massive truck wreck that left one person dead.
The chain reaction crash started between the Loop 410 and Rittman Road on the Northwest Side. The truck driver was traveling southbound in the center lane when he observed a small car just to his right. The driver claimed he felt an “impact,” and then slammed on his brakes. After the jack-knifed truck finally slid to a stop, there was a Chevrolet Cobalt wedged underneath the trailer. The Cobalt’s driver, a 61-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Authorities diverted all traffic onto a side road for more than five hours as they cleared the remains of the vehicles.
Large Truck Crashes
A fully-loaded tractor trailer typically weighs about 80,000 pounds; in some cases, such as a dual tractor-trailer or a truck that is transporting very heavy machinery, the driver may obtain permission to haul even bigger loads. As a rule of thumb, if the trailer exceeds a 45-degree angle relative to the cab, an out-of-control jack-knife crash is all but inevitable, even if there is an experience driver behind the wheel.
As one can imagine, when an 80,000-pound behemoth careens across a road or expressway, it crushed almost anything in its path. Some common injuries in these cases include:
- Serious Burns: Some trucks hold up to 300 gallons of diesel fuel, which burns at a different temperature, and for a longer time, than gasoline.
- Crushed Bones: The massive weight and speed combine to create a force that quite literally shatters the victims’ bones, often leading to multiple surgeries and months of rehabilitative therapy.
- Blood loss: The massive trauma injuries, combined with the fact that victims sometimes cannot be moved until sophisticated medical equipment arrives, can lead to near total exsanguination.
Jack-knife wrecks most often occur on wet or slick roads, sometimes whether the driver hits the brakes or not.
Victims in these cases are entitled to compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. The trucking company is typically jointly responsible for the losses, under legal doctrines like respondeat superior or negligent entrustment.
Major truck accidents are all too common in South Central Texas, as the area is on the main shipping lanes between the United States and Mexico. For a free consultation with an aggressive New Braunfels personal injury lawyer, contact our office. We do not charge upfront legal fees in a car accident case.