When a truck driver slams on the brakes, the truck trailer can skid and swing to a 90-degree angle to the tractor (cab). These truck accidents are called jackknifing accidents and can result in dangerous, multi-vehicle accidents on the highway. Other drivers may not have time to avoid colliding with a trailer blocking the roadway.
In addition to being a terrifying experience, being involved in a jackknifing accident can cause devastating injuries and fatalities. If you have suffered serious injuries in a Houston jackknifing truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury lawsuit or insurance settlement. Contact Ceja Law Firm PLLC today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your legal rights.
Common Causes of Jackknifing Accidents in Houston
Jackknifing accidents are unique to large commercial trucks like tractor-trailers. In most cases, the truck driver will brake, and the cab will slow down, but the trailer momentum will keep the truck moving forward, causing the trailer to pivot sideways. The tractor-trailer goes into a skid, causing the trailer and the cab to form a 90-degree angle that resembles a folding pocket knife.
Driving a large commercial vehicle requires specialized training and experience. Many jackknifing accidents are preventable and are caused by driver error. Poor road conditions and bad weather can also cause jackknifing accidents. Some of the most common causes of jackknifing accidents in Texas include the following:
- Truck driver drowsiness
- Poor vehicle maintenance
- Using excessive speed under the conditions
- Distracted driving
- Driving while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol
- Slippery and wet roads
- Improper lane changes
- Drowsy driving
- Driving on curves
Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of truck accidents. Truck drivers need more time than passenger vehicles to maneuver their large vehicles. When a driver is distracted by a cell phone, GPS, or due to a lack of focus, they will not be paying close enough attention to the speed and flow of traffic. If the truck driver needs to brake suddenly, the truck can jackknife.
Can I Hold the Truck Driver’s Employer Liable?
Under Texas law, victims of motor vehicle accidents can pursue compensation from the at-fault driver who caused the accident that resulted in their injuries. For example, if a truck driver was texting while driving and failed to slow down in time to prevent a jackknifing accident, an injury victim can pursue compensation from the truck driver. Truck drivers may not have enough assets to cover the victim’s expenses, especially after a severe injury. Victims may be able to obtain compensation from the truck driver’s employer.
When trucking companies employ drivers with inadequate training, licensure, and certifications or have poor driving safety records, victims can hold them accountable for negligent hiring practices. Suppose the trucking company did not maintain their trucks adequately and failed to load cargo onto the trucks properly. In that case, victims may be able to successfully pursue compensation from the trucking company for negligence. In addition to the truck driver’s employer, the following potential parties could be liable for the jackknifing accident:
- Loaders and shippers
- State or federal municipalities for faulty roads
- Truck and vehicle parts manufacturers
- Maintenance and repair companies
- Third-party motorists
Injuries Caused By Jackknifing Accidents
All commercial truck accidents are dangerous, but jackknifing accents can be catastrophic. Depending on the truck’s speed, the trailer may overturn during a jackknife accident, crushing other vehicles on the road. When a jackknifing accident occurs on the freeway, the trailer can block multiple lanes of traffic.
Oncoming vehicles may be unable to avoid a high-speed collision with a tractor-trailer. Jackknifing accidents commonly cause multi-vehicle collisions that can result in dangerous car fires. In other cases, a passenger vehicle can become caught between the trailer and the cap. Victims of jackknifing accidents frequently sustain life-threatening injuries, including the following:
- Back and neck injuries
- Severe burns and disfigurement
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Amputations and loss of limbs
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage and failure
- Traumatic brain injuries causing permanent brain damage
Victims of jackknifing accidents may need to undergo multiple surgeries, months of rehabilitation and therapy, and ongoing medical treatment. Some victims suffer permanent disabilities and disfigurement from their injuries.
Some jackknifing accidents result in fatal injuries. If you have lost a loved one in a jackknifing accident caused by another person’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. While nothing can bring your loved one back, you can hold the at-fault driver accountable and recover medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of income, pain, suffering, and other damages that can help your family move forward.
Compensation Available in Jackknife Truck Accident Cases
The truck accident victim will face high costs, including medical bills, missed time from work, repair or replacement of their vehicle, rehabilitation therapy, and more. Victims deserve full and fair compensation for all of the financial losses in the pain and suffering they have endured.
Every truck accident case is unique, so the amount of compensation you can obtain depends on your case’s facts, such as the severity of your injuries and the available insurance coverage. With the help of the experienced personal injury attorneys at Ceja Law Firm PLLC, you can pursue compensation for all of the following damage:
- Current and future medical bills
- Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other types of rehabilitation
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Diminished quality of life
- Pain and suffering
Discuss Your Jackknifing Accident Case with a Skilled Attorney
If you or someone you loved suffered a serious injury or was killed in a jackknifing truck accident, you will benefit from working with an attorney. These truck accident cases have frequently involved large transportation companies, multiple defendants, and multiple attorneys. Working with a skilled attorney will help you level the playing field and protect your legal right to compensation. You only have a limited time to file a claim for compensation in Texas. Contact Ceja Law Firm PLLC today to schedule your free case evaluation and learn more about how we can advocate for your rights.
Ceja Law Firm PLLC helps clients with jackknifing accident cases throughout Harris County and the Greater Houston Area including Pasadena, Baytown, Sugar Land, Bellaire, Galveston, Texas City, Jacinto City, and more.