Jackknife Accident Lawyer
A jackknife accident occurs when a truck driver loses control of the trailer connected to their vehicle, and the two parts of the truck move in different directions to form a “v” shape. Oftentimes, when a truck jackknifes it loses complete control, may roll over or may slide off the roadway. These accidents can be extremely dangerous and cause a lot of damage to surrounding vehicles and property. If you were involved in this type of a crash, you should contact a Virginia jackknife accident lawyer as soon as possible. One of the truck accident attorneys at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers can help you assess your losses and work through any legal obstacles that may appear.
Tractor trailers have two parts—the cab and the trailer. These vehicles can travel safely as long as the tractor and trailer are in alignment. However, falling out of alignment can cause the trailer to swing rapidly to one side. This is called a jackknife truck accident.
When a truck jackknifes, the driver typically loses control of the large vehicle. The trailer’s momentum throws the vehicle off course and can be incredibly unpredictable. In many cases, the truck turns over completely after it jackknifes.
What causes 18-wheelers to jackknife? Leading causes include braking errors, sharp turns, distracted driving, mechanical problems, and bad weather.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, roughly 7,000 jackknife truck accidents are reported annually. This accounts for about 5 percent of all truck accidents nationwide.
How Do Jackknife Incidents Occur in Virginia?
These accidents can happen when the truck is going too fast or as a result of high winds. These accidents can also happen because of a negligently secured load within the trailer. Jackknifing may also occur when the driver is attempting to change directions too quickly. A truck is more likely to jackknife on slick roadway conditions where a part of the tractor or trailer will begin to slide in a different direction from the remainder of the vehicle.
When a truck begins the jackknife, it is difficult for the driver to regain control. A jackknifed truck can rollover and slide across lanes. If it is a truck with a large trailer, it can cause terrible damage and injuries.
Truck drivers have an obligation to keep their trucks under control. They must not exceed a reasonable speed under the circumstances. If the road is wet or icy, they have an obligation to use a higher degree of care to ensure they do not lose control of their vehicle and begin to jackknife. If a trucker’s negligence causes a jackknife accident to occur, an attorney in Virginia can prepare a claim to hold him responsible.
The Importance of Mechanical Checks
Anytime a truck driver operates a truck, due care requires that driver inspect his vehicle to make sure it is in good working order. The driver needs to check the tires to ensure proper inflation and in good condition. A flat tire or a tire blowout can cause a truck to jackknife.
Truckers also need to make sure their load is properly secured and will not move within the trailer. Shifting load weight can cause a driver to lose control of his trailer. If an attorney can prove that a jackknife accident occurred because of a trucker’s failure to properly maintain their vehicle or load, the trucker may be liable to pay compensation to an injured party.
Are All Jackknife Incidents Preventable?
The law requires truck drivers to use due care to prevent foreseeable injuries. However, cases can become more complex if there are questions regarding the preventability of a particular case. For example, let’s assume a truck driver inspects his vehicle’s tires prior to operation of the truck and they appear to be in good working order. However, while later driving, a tire blowout occurs due to debris in the roadway, causing the tractor-trailer to jackknife. In this situation, a truck driver may argue that this type of crash was not preventable.
However, an experienced attorney can conduct a more thorough investigation to determine the exact circumstances surrounding this jackknife accident. In this case, a lawyer may ask if this road debris was avoidable or if the driver was improperly trained to inspect his truck tires for signs of potential failure.
Who May be Liable in a Jackknife Accident Case?
There is no limit to the number of parties that can be involved in a jackknife injury case. It is common that a claim be made against the driver of the vehicle, and the employer of the truck driver. If a truck driver was on the clock when a crash occurred, the employer is legally and financially responsible for its driver’s actions. In the case of a negligently secured load, the shipping or loading company may also be held responsible.
Speak with an Attorney After Your Jackknife Accident
While the basic rules of the road apply to all motorists, truck drivers have added duties with regard to the maintenance and upkeep of their vehicle. Oftentimes, the consequences of these accidents are far greater than the other motor vehicle accidents. Because of their size and weight, these vehicles can cause catastrophic injuries. Skilled lawyers with experience handling jackknife cases know what to look for and how to develop these additional theories of liability and negligence. Our Virginia jackknife accident lawyers are here to help you with your case. Call today to schedule your free initial consultation.
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