What is a jackknife truck accident?
Commercial trucking carries with it several significant dangers that can wreak havoc on the road. A jackknife accident occurs when the cab of an 18-wheeler, which contains the engine and the driver, goes in a different direction than the trailer carrying the truck’s load, creating a V-shaped vehicle that can be difficult to control.
Jackknifing may happen due to erratic lane changes, sudden stops, poor load securement, or other similar issues, and can be the cause of a multi-vehicle collision. Occasionally, the truck may even tip over, further adding to the chaos. Big rig jackknifing is most commonly attributed to driver negligence or error.
What steps do I take?
If you’ve been involved in a jackknife truck accident, report the problem to the police right away and obtain a report. Law enforcement will need to secure the scene, document damages, call an ambulance, talk to witnesses, and take down your statement. It’s important that you get checked out by a doctor, even if you feel fine. You may have a concussion and not know it.
After the accident, you will need to contact a truck attorney to deal with the legal aspects of the crash. This will allow you to simply focus on healing, physically and emotionally, from the trauma the pile up may have caused. A good truck lawyer can hold the driver fully accountable for damages, which can help pay for your medical bills, losses and anguish. If you or a family member were seriously harmed in a jackknife truck accident, contact Willie Powells, Houston-based personal injury attorney, immediately.
What are the usual damages and causes?
Commercial trucks on interstate highways can carry as much as 80,000 pounds in weight when pulling 28-foot double trailers. When that kind of power loses control, it can be truly terrifying. With nearly 5% of all truck accidents being jackknife crashes, the destruction can be vast and devastating to everyone involved. Understanding what conditions may lead to jackknife accidents can help you to avoid them and keep yourself and your loved ones out of harm’s way.
Common causes of jackknifing include:
- Runaway speeds – Trucks driving over 55 miles per hour gain momentum and are extremely hard to stop. A driver who quickly brakes going at this speed will likely lose control of the vehicle, resulting in a jackknife accident.
- Curved roads – Most commercial truck drivers can handle gentle curves in the road, but when a steep angle presents itself and the trailer is too long, there is a high chance that a jackknife incident may occur.
- Poor weather conditions – Slippery roads, rain, sleet, snow and other bad weather can cause a truck to slide and lose traction. Even a small amount of traction loss can have serious consequences on the road, considering the size and weight of the commercial vehicle.
- Driver error or negligence – Commercial trucks are operated by human beings, not robots, so if a driver is sleepy, under the influence, distressed or distracted, even the smallest miscalculation can result in a loss of vehicle control, leading to destruction.
- Equipment malfunction – Vehicles require regular maintenance to prevent brake failure, hydraulic failure or other malfunctions. If a technical issue arises during a trip and it is not quickly fixed, the truck may careen out of control, causing a pile up.
What compensations are usually available?
By gathering strong evidence and witness statements, your truck lawyer can help to prove that the truck driver or another party is to blame for your injuries. With the proper proof, you can negotiate a settlement with the insurance carrier or receive compensation for damages. Compensations you may be entitled to include:
- Wrongful death
- Medical fees
- Property damage
- Loss of wages
- Loss of ability to earn
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and anguish
- Loss of society
Why choose Willie Powells?
Willie Powells is a determined, dedicated attorney who delivers an unsurpassed level of service to clients in the Houston area and beyond. In addition to his expertise in truck accidents, Willie is passionate about helping the “little guy” get justice. If you are seeking a lawyer that knows how to navigate the system, negotiate with insurance companies, and obtain a fair and advantageous settlement for you and your family, you’ve come to the right place. Call Willie Powells today to get an honest assessment of your case.