Commercial vehicles driving on interstate highways may pull 28-foot double trailers and weigh 80,000 pounds. In an emergency, a truck driver has three different ways to brake. Jackknifing occurs when a semi-trailer turns into a shape of an "L" with the cab and trailer moving into perpendicular positions. This can happen when the truck's wheels lock over a slick spot in the road. The cab continues forward, while the trailer swings to the side. Jackknife collisions can be devastating, causing catastrophic and life-changing injuries or death to multiple people on the road. The truck accident lawyers at Feizy Law Office can advise people in Dallas and the surrounding cities in asserting their rights if they have been hurt by a careless driver.Establishing Liability through a Negligence Claim
A commercial vehicle can jackknife due to overloading, equipment failure (such as brake failure), improper braking, or slick roads. For example, when a truck carries too great a load on its tires, the additional weight may interfere with the driver's ability to steer. More force may be necessary to stop the truck, and if the truck driver does not respond appropriately, the truck can jackknife. If the truck is speeding, the vehicle may jackknife and roll over.
Jackknife accidents may happen due to truck driver negligence or lack of training. If you are trying to show negligence, you will need to establish the defendant's duty of care, the defendant's breach of duty, causation, and damages. It may be necessary to retain an accident reconstruction expert after a jackknife accident to figure out what caused the truck to jackknife.
If the problem was excessive weight or another problem that could have been avoided by the driver or his employer, you may be able to hold both the driver and trucking company responsible under the doctrine of negligence per se. Commercial vehicles can only carry as much weight as is permitted by state and federal laws. The doctrine of negligence per se generally makes it easier for a plaintiff to prove liability because he or she no longer has to prove that there was a breach of duty. Instead, the failure to abide by safety laws or regulations, including those that govern the loads a truck may carry, is presumed to be a breach of duty.
In some cases, jackknifing could have been prevented had a driver been adequately trained. Trucking companies are required to take numerous steps to make sure their drivers are qualified to handle enormous, heavy commercial vehicles. Among other things, the trucking company must conduct a background check before hiring a driver and maintain a driver qualification file that includes the driver's crash history from the last three years, a list of employers over the past three years and the reasons for termination of employment, and the driver’s experience. If a truck company fails to make sure that the drivers it hires are qualified, it can often be held accountable for negligent hiring or negligent entrustment.
In most cases, a trucking company has more significant resources than an individual driver, and its insurance coverage is greater than the driver's coverage. Since there are often multiple accident victims in a jackknife accident, you may have a better chance of recovering your damages if you are able to show that a crash was not only the driver's fault, but also the fault of the trucking company.Consult an Experienced Dallas Lawyer for a Truck Accident Case
If you are hurt or have lost a loved one in a motor vehicle collision in the Dallas area, the attorneys at Feizy Law Office can use their experience to assist you. In most cases, trucking companies and their attorneys and insurance adjustors will try to use their extensive knowledge of the trucking regulations and evidence to avoid liability or shift it onto accident victims. This is why it is critical to have your own attorney advocating for your rights. Call Feizy Law Office at (214) 651-8686 or contact us via our online form to set up a free consultation. We also represent accident victims in Fort Worth, Irving, Garland, Arlington, and Plano, among other Texas cities.