Because of how long their trailers are and how much cargo they typically carry, semi-trucks can lose traction and balance very easily in poor road conditions compared to smaller passenger cars. When a commercial vehicle’s trailer ends up skidding ahead of its cab after the truck driver loses control of the vehicle, it is known as a jackknife crash.
Jackknife truck accidents in Austin often involve multiple vehicles, cause extensive property damage and personal injury, and often have fatal consequences for others on the road. If you got hurt in or lost a family member to this kind of trucking accident, a skilled lawyer can help you seek civil compensation from the driver or company responsible for your losses.
What Causes Tractor-Trailers to Jackknife?
Because truck trailers are attached to cabs by a rotating hinge, the momentum of the trailer is technically separate from the momentum of the truck pulling it. Accordingly, the most common cause of jackknife commercial vehicle accidents in Austin is truck drivers braking suddenly in an attempt to avoid an accident, resulting in the trailer traveling at a faster speed than the cab and skidding around in front of the cab as a result.
Various factors can increase the risk of jackknifing accidents, such as inclement weather conditions that decrease traction between a truck’s tires and the road’s surface, or unsecured cargo shifting inside a trailer during transit. Even if these factors are not present, a truck driver exceeding the speed limit, taking turns too quickly, or following traffic too closely could also put them at risk of causing or being involved in a wreck.
In some cases, jackknife accidents result from malfunctions within the truck itself. For example, if a commercial vehicle’s brakes malfunction as the driver approaches a sharp turn, they may end up taking the turn too quickly and jackknifing as a result. The specific cause of a jackknife trucking accident can have a significant impact on an injured person’s civil recovery.
Establishing Liability for Jackknife Collisions
While truck drivers are often to blame for negligently allowing their trailers to jackknife, this is not always the case. For example, if a truck jackknifes because it was loaded with cargo in excess of federal weight limits, had defective brakes or steering, or its operator was trying to avoid another negligent driver, fault may lie with the truck driver’s employer, the third-party company that last serviced the vehicle, a part’s manufacturer, or someone else on the road with them prior to the incident.
Identifying who is responsible for an Austin jackknife truck crash can be crucial to building a successful claim for compensation. In addition to collecting, preserving, and presenting evidence of fault, one of our qualified team members can work to ensure an ensuing lawsuit or settlement demand accounts for all a victim’s damages, including medical expenses, vehicle repair costs, physical pain, and emotional suffering.
Let an Austin Attorney Help after a Jackknife Truck Accident
While any roadway collision involving a tractor-trailer has the potential to cause devastating injuries, jackknife truck accidents in Austin are especially dangerous. Because these types of wrecks often involve multiple vehicles, anyone who suffers injuries in this kind of incident should take full advantage of their right to seek civil compensation for their losses.
A qualified attorney on our team can discuss your unique circumstances with you and determine the best course of action for your situation. Get in touch with our firm today to schedule a consultation.