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Legal Blog

Jackknife Truck Accidents in Houston

Large commercial trucks are an essential part of the U.S. economy; however, they cause thousands of dangerous car crashes every year. If you have been involved in an accident with a big rig, tractor-trailer, semi, 18-wheeler, or other commercial truck, your injuries may be causing you physical pain, emotional distress, and serious financial difficulty. The Houston truck accident lawyers of The Krist Law Firm, P.C. can help. They have over 27 years of experience representing people who have been injured throughout Texas, including countless trucking accidents. Call (281) 283-8500 for a free consultation to find out how we can help you.

Large Truck Accidents can be Dangerous

Large truck drivers traveled over 275 billion miles in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). While the transportation of goods is a vital service, these vehicles can present a real danger to other drivers on the road given their size, weight, and lack of maneuverability. In fact, there were over 327,000 crashes in 2013 involving large trucks, with the largest number of accidents occurring in Texas.

Causes of Jackknife Accidents

Large commercial trucks require more turning space and greater distance for breaking than passenger vehicles. Tractor-trailers have larger blind spots, a higher center of gravity making them more susceptible to rollovers, and trailers that can move faster than cabs, which can cause an 18-wheeler to jackknife. Jackknifing happens when trailer wheels begin to skid, causing the trailer to move faster than the cab and swing onto one side at a 90-degree angle from the cab.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), jackknife accidents are more likely to occur in the following situations:

  • Trucks traveling at speeds greater than 55 miles per hour
  • Adverse weather conditions affecting road conditions
  • Trucks maneuvering tight curves
  • Drivers braking too quickly on a wet surface or while speeding
  • Drivers failing to slow down and take appropriate precautions
  • Improperly loaded cargo
  • Improperly maintained brakes and other truck equipment

Preventing Jackknife Truck Accidents

The most common cause of jackknife accidents is slippery or wet road conditions, in which a truck’s front wheels lock up and the trailer continues to move forward. The Texas Department of Transportation recommends that truck drivers drive slowly on slippery or wet road surfaces, make turns as gently as possible, and avoid braking harder than necessary. They also recommend that drivers do not use the engine brake or speed retarder, which can cause skidding on slippery surfaces.

When road conditions are dangerous, trucks should keep a longer following distance and avoid driving through deep puddles or flowing water. Wet brakes can cause wheels to lock up, thereby increasing the risk that a truck will jackknife. Large commercial trucks should also be inspected by drivers to ensure that all equipment is in working order and that cargo is properly secured. Drivers should be properly trained so that they are qualified to handle large commercial trucks and to respond appropriately in jackknife situations.

Liability Issues

Jackknifing accidents can be disastrous because the driver often loses complete control of the truck. When a truck jackknifes, it usually crosses into multiple lanes and has an increased risk of rollover. In the case of serious injuries sustained in a commercial truck accident, multiple state and federal laws may overlap to determine which parties may be held liable for compensating you for your injuries. Liability in a commercial truck accident is a complex legal question that requires an attorney who has experience handling truck accidents and lawsuits.

Call A trucking Accident Attorney Right Away

If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial trucking accident, contact the experienced truck accident attorneys at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. for help. Our skilled attorneys have a successful track record of representing people injured in serious truck accidents and getting them full compensation for the losses they suffered. The Houston personal injury attorneys at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. have the knowledge and experience to help with your claim and to help protect your family’s financial future while you focus on recovery.

Contact our firm today at (281) 283-8500 to schedule a free, one-on-one case consultation with one of our skilled Houston truck accident lawyers.