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New Braunfels Jackknife Collision Attorney

Guidance After a Jackknife Crash in New Braunfels, TX

For a large truck operating at freeway speeds, a jackknife is practically unavoidable if the trailer exceeds a 45-degree angle from the cab. Almost any quick movement, such as a sudden lane change or sharp curve, can cause a truck wreck. This risk is even more pronounced if the driver is at all inexperienced or if the cab is not 100% secured to the trailer. Given the high volume of freight that travels along Interstate 35 and Interstate 10, these crashes are all too common in South Central Texas.

After a serious crash, the diligent attorneys at The Bettersworth Law Firm will get to work quickly on your claim. We will uncover the relevant facts and research the applicable laws to not only build your case but also refute an insurance company's arguments. The hard work pays off during settlement negotiations and at trial, as you will be well-positioned to obtain maximum compensation for your tangible and intangible injuries.

Common Causes of Jackknife Crashes

In a truck accident lawsuit, the plaintiff must convince a jury that, more likely than not, the driver was legally responsible for the crash. A few common causes of jackknife truck accidents include:

  • Excessive speed: Drivers may lose control of lightweight passenger cars only at very high speeds, but fully-loaded tractor-trailers are a different story. Just a few extra ticks on the speedometer, especially when navigating a sharp curve, can lead to a serious wreck.
  • Driver error: Drivers of large trucks cannot multitask. For example, it is difficult or impossible for them to slow down and steer at the same time. Particularly in unanticipated situations, truck drivers often forget this rule.
  • Sudden stop: Even if the cab of a semitruck stops or changes direction, the trailer often keeps moving at the same angle and the same speed. In other words, a dangerous jackknife is always just a tap of the brakes away.
  • Equipment failure: Some operators drive with soft brakes that need to be tightened, or they may give the hitch a brief look instead of a complete examination before they take off. When equipment does not function properly, jackknife wrecks become much more likely.

Damages in a truck wreck case are often very high due to the serious nature of a victim's personal injuries and property loss.

Assessing Third-Party Liability

Vicarious liability is rather common in car crashes, and it is almost always a factor in serious large truck wrecks. A few common legal theories that can affect these cases include:

  • Respondeat superior: If the operator was a regular employee of a trucking company, that company may be legally responsible for damages the driver caused while performing their duties.
  • Negligent hiring or supervision: Transportation companies have a duty to hire qualified truck drivers and ensure that they remain qualified.
  • Defective products: If bad brakes, weak hitches, or other malfunctioning parts were defective before they were installed on a truck, the manufacturer might be legally responsible for subsequent damages.

Texas is a modified joint and several liability state, meaning that in most cases, the jury divides fault among the responsible defendants.

Why Are They Called Jackknife Accidents?

This type of truck accident is referred to as a jackknife accident because the trailer of the truck begins to swing out to the side of the cab at a 90-degree angle or less. The shape of the tractor-trailer resembles the look of a jackknife blade as it folds into the handle.

Do Jackknife Crashes Sometimes Result in Multiple Lawsuits?

One of the reasons jackknife truck accidents are among the worst types of crashes is that they can cause damage to vehicles across multiple lanes of traffic. Imagine a truck driving in the leftmost lane on a highway when its trailer begins to jackknife to the right. It could block four or five lanes of traffic, causing dozens of smaller vehicles to crash into it.

It is common for jackknife accidents to result in numerous lawsuits against the truck driver and trucking company. You should know, however, that you can pursue your case individually. You do not need to coordinate with other plaintiffs or accept a blanket settlement that does not meet your needs. Each vehicle that was impacted by a jackknife crash may have been impacted differently, which is why individual litigation is appropriate.

Contact Our Comal County Jackknife Truck Wreck Attorney

Out-of-control jackknife and rollover wrecks are arguably the most serious types of large truck collisions. To make sure you will be fully compensated for injuries and damages suffered in these types of accidents, it is important to work with an experienced lawyer. For a free consultation in this area, contact The Bettersworth Law Firm at 830-606-0404. We never charge upfront legal fees in a personal injury case.

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