Dallas Jackknife Accident Attorneys
Texas has a number of notable distinctions, world-class barbecue, live music, rodeo, pecan pie, and the breathtaking beauty of bluebonnet season. Unfortunately, Texas also has another notable distinction. According to numbers from the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration, in 2017, Texas saw the largest number of large trucks involved in fatal collisions. According to the study, 621 Texans lost their lives after being involved in accidents with large trucks. Countless others have been seriously injured, and some are still dealing with the lasting impact of those wounds.
Large truck accidents are some of the most serious accidents out on the road, and one of the most dangerous types of truck accidents is the jackknife. A jackknifing truck can sweep away cars in its path or spill its cargo onto the road, creating a hazardous field of debris.
At The Benton Law Firm, we know that if you or a loved one have been caught up in a jackknife accident, you could end up dealing with the repercussions for years to come. The injuries can be life-altering, while the bills can be financially catastrophic.
The trucking company and its insurers want to put this accident in the rear-view mirror by offering you some money to sign away your legal rights and quietly go away. Can they guarantee that their offer will be enough for all your expenses?
At The Benton Law Firm, our job is to make sure that you receive the fair compensation that you are due while holding the responsible parties accountable for their actions. Call us today at (214) 777-7777 to schedule a free initial consultation to go over the facts surrounding your accident. Don’t be bullied into accepting less than what you deserve, call an experienced accident attorney.
Definition of a Jackknife Accident
“Jackknife” is the name given to a type of truck accident where the two connected parts of the truck, the cab and the trailer, folds in on itself. The cab of the truck and the trailer it is pulling bend at the place they are joined, forming a 90-degree angle or a “V” shape. The term jackknifing is a reference to pocketknives where the blade of the knife folds into its own handle.
Jackknifing accidents are particularly dangerous because once the truck begins to jackknife, the driver has little to no control over the vehicle. If there are other cars in the way or the truck is in danger of rolling over from the jackknife, there is almost nothing the driver can do at this point to stop it. They are also very serious accidents because a jackknifing trailer can easily spill its cargo onto the road, crushing other vehicles or sending debris into the roadway, which can cause a second serious chain of accidents.
What Causes a Jackknife Accident?
There are several different scenarios where a truck may jackknife. Typically, a jackknifing accident occurs when the driver suddenly hits the brakes of the truck. Jackknifing can also occur because of improper braking procedures, an unsecured or poorly secured cargo load, slick roads, or even unsafe lane changes.
In most of these types of situations, the wheels of the truck lock, but the truck continues in a forward motion. The truck driver can lose control of the vehicle as the trailer begins to swing out to one side. The truck driver’s decisions from the beginning of the incident to the end can determine the severity of the accident. Inexperienced drivers or drivers who have not been properly trained may be more prone to being involved in jackknifing accidents.
This is a list of other situations that can contribute to jackknifing accidents:
- Poor Weather Conditions – Roads slick with ice or rain are major contributing factors to jackknifing accidents. High winds can also cause a truck to suddenly jackknife. Truck drivers are responsible for making good judgment calls when it comes to traveling in dangerous weather conditions.
- Curving Roads – Sharp curves can be dangerous for even small cars to navigate. For a large, fully loaded truck, that is doubly true. If the cargo has been improperly loaded, the weight balance can lead to jackknifing accidents on sharp curves. Speeding is also a major contributing factor when it comes to jackknifing accidents on curving roads.
- Brake Failure – Improperly maintained vehicles or defective parts in the brakes also contribute to jackknifing accidents.
- Improper Braking – When it comes to a jackknifing vehicle, there is a proper and improper way for a driver to apply the brakes. An inexperienced or inadequately trained driver may not react in a way that can mitigate the damage of a jackknifing accident.
Who Is Responsible for a Jackknife Accident?
All truck accidents come with their own unique set of circumstances that must be thoroughly investigated in order to get to the heart of who is responsible. When an accident happens, we jump to the conclusion that the driver is the sole person responsible. In cases of large truck accidents, that is only part of the story. Truck drivers are responsible for jackknifing accidents when they do not adhere to safe driving practices, like following at a safe distance, using caution in bad weather, and avoiding speeding, just to name a few.
The trucking company they work for may also be partially responsible for the circumstances leading up to the accident. How is that possible? Trucking companies are responsible for the hiring and training of their drivers. Negligent hiring means a company may not be doing their due diligence to make sure they are hiring qualified and safe drivers. Inadequate or improper training practices can also lead to accidents, since the company is not giving drivers the training and experience they need to safely operate a large vehicle.
The company is also in charge of maintaining safety records and conducting thorough and regular inspections. Failing to regularly inspect large vehicles means they may miss defective, broken, or worn parts that can lead to brake failures and accidents.
Cargo loading companies can also be held liable in some situations as well. If a company improperly loads cargo or improperly secures cargo, the weight balance or shifting cargo can impact the handling and maneuverability of the truck. One mistake on the driver’s part may not have been enough to cause a serious jackknife accident, but add improperly loaded cargo to that small mistake and you have an accident in the making.
Manufacturers can also face consequences for jackknifing accidents if it can be proven that a defective part is responsible for causing the accident. Large trucks are complicated machines. One small defect in the brakes or other areas of the truck can have enormous consequences.
The fact of the matter is more than one party could be held accountable for a jackknife accident. It takes experience and a thorough investigation to determine which entities can be held liable for damages. That is why getting an attorney on your side is so important.
Why You Need an Attorney
You can see that determining who is at fault and who can be held liable for damages is no simple matter. That fact alone is reason enough to get an attorney to help you with your case. Another reason it is important to hire an attorney is that the trucking company already has one; they have teams, in fact, and while you have been recovering in the hospital, they are busy building their case.
When an accident happens, teams of lawyers and insurers are immediately notified and spring into action. Their goal is to mitigate their liability and pay out as little as possible. They are, after all, a for-profit business. Some companies utilize downright lowly tactics, trying to get you to settle for a fraction of what you deserve and sign away all your legal rights. They may try to intimidate you or make you feel like the accident was somehow your fault. These are strategies they use to make you question your situation – don’t fall for it.
Not only can an experienced attorney fight back on your behalf and prevent the intimidation, but they can also begin the process of building and strengthening your case and level the playing field. They can also immediately start the process of collecting and preserving vital evidence like in-cab records, cellphone records, safety inspection records, engine control data, and witness accounts. It is critical to get an attorney involved because they have the ability to use the courts to request and collect that important evidence before it is lost or destroyed.
Why Choose The Benton Law Firm To Handle Your Jackknife Accident Case?
A jackknife truck accident can change the course of your life. You may be facing an uphill battle as you try to recover from serious injuries and mounting medical bills. A lowball offer from a truck operator’s insurer may cover the first wave of bills, but what about the second? What about the time missed from work and future rehabilitation or medical bills? What about the damage to your property and the pain and suffering you’ve been forced to endure as a result of this frightening experience? Don’t be bullied into settling for less than what you deserve.
At The Benton Law Firm, we understand that you have a lot on your plate right now. We want to help ease that burden for you by offering you compassionate service and sound legal advice. We want to develop a strong and sound case strategy to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Call our truck accident attorneys today at (214) 777-7777 to set up your free initial consultation with one of our knowledgeable accident attorneys.