New Braunfels Jackknife Collision Attorney
Skilled Truck Accident Lawyer In Comal County And Hays County
For a large truck operating at freeway speeds, a jackknife is practically unavoidable if the trailer exceeds a 45-degree angle from the cab. So, almost any quick movement, such as a sudden lane change or sharp curve, can cause a serious wreck. This risk is even more pronounced if the driver is at all inexperienced or 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 get to work quickly on your claim. We uncover the relevant facts and research the applicable law, to not only build your case but also refute the insurance company’s arguments. The hard work pays off during settlement negotiations and at trial, as you are well-positioned to obtain maximum compensation for your tangible and intangible injuries.
Common Causes Of Jackknife Crashes
The plaintiff must convince a jury that, more likely than not, the driver was legally responsible for the crash. Picture two equally-sized paper stacks side by side. If one sheet is moved from the right to the left, the plaintiff meets the burden of proof. A few common causes include:
- Excessive speed: Drivers 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 cause a serious wreck.
- Driver error: 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 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 give the hitch a brief look, instead of a complete examination before they take off.
Damages in a truck wreck case are often very high, due to the serious nature of the personal injury 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 theories include:
- Respondeat superior: If the operator was a regular employee of a trucking company, that company might be legally responsible for damages.
- 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 and other malfunctioning parts were defective before the truck was sold, 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. 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 left. 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 don’t 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.
Discuss Your Legal Options For Free With A Knowledgeable Attorney
Out-of-control jackknife rollover wrecks are arguably the most serious type of large truck collision. 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.