When a truck’s cab and trailer fold into a ‘V’ shape, the massive weight and momentum can easily smash into other vehicles, causing catastrophic injuries or even death.
Survivors of jackknife crashes may suffer from traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, amputations, severe lacerations, and chronic pain. The emotional trauma of such a violent collision also takes a heavy toll. Victims and their families struggle to cope with physical disabilities, loss of income, and diminished quality of life.
Justice can also be hard to obtain for jackknife victims in the aftermath. Complex legal and insurance issues often stand in the way of receiving fair compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. As a result, victims need experienced attorneys to cut through the red tape and fight for their rights.
At Husain Law + Associates — Houston Accident & Injury Lawyers, P.C., our attorneys have the expertise to handle jackknife accident cases in San Antonio and across Texas. With over two decades of experience, we have helped truck crash victims recover millions in verdicts and settlements.
When you choose Husain Law for your jackknife accident case, you can trust you are in qualified hands. We know the ins and outs of navigating these complex cases. Our attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation to build the strongest case possible, pinpointing the truck driver’s errors and the trucking company’s negligence.
We are not afraid to take on large corporations and insurance companies in pursuit of the maximum compensation you deserve. At the same time, we understand this is an enormously difficult period in your life, and we provide compassionate guidance each step of the way.
What is a jackknife accident?
A jackknife accident occurs when the trailer of an 18-wheeler folds over the cab of the truck, forming a V or L shape. This often happens when the truck driver locks up the trailer brakes too quickly, causing the trailer to swing around and smash into the cab. Jackknife accidents can be very dangerous, as the folding action can cause the truck and trailer to roll over or hit other vehicles.
In some cases, the cargo in the trailer can shift and smash through the front of the cab, injuring or killing the driver. Jackknife accidents frequently happen on highways and interstates around San Antonio when truckers have to brake suddenly.
What causes a jackknife accident?
There are a few common causes of jackknife truck crashes in San Antonio:
- Brake lockup – If the trailer brakes are applied too forcefully, they can lock up and cause the trailer to swing out. This is the most common cause.
- Equipment failure – Defective brakes, tires, hitches, or other equipment can lead to a jackknife.
- Speeding – Driving too fast to control the vehicle properly on turns or when braking.
- Improper weight distribution – Having too much weight in the rear of the trailer compared to the front can increase sway and lead to a jackknife.
- Avoiding a crash – Abrupt steering movements to avoid another vehicle can start a jackknife.
- Slick roads – Rain, snow, or ice reduces traction and makes it easier for the trailer to swing out.
What are the most common jackknife accident injuries?
Jackknife wrecks usually result in severe injuries, including:
- Head injuries – From hitting interior surfaces or being crushed as the cab collapses. These can be fatal.
- Spinal cord damage – Sudden truck movements can crush vertebrae. Can lead to paralysis.
- Broken bones – Arms and legs can easily break from the impact forces.
- Internal organ damage – Impact with the steering wheel, dashboard, or seatbelt can harm organs.
- Cuts and abrasions – From broken glass and metal.
- Burn injuries – If fire results from spilled fuel.
In addition, car drivers involved often suffer similar injuries during the collision.
Where do jackknife accidents most often occur in San Antonio?
The most common jackknife accident locations in San Antonio are:
- I-10, I-35, and I-37 – Major highways with heavy truck traffic. Fast speeds make braking dangerous.
- Loop 1604 and Loop 410 – Dangerous highway interchanges where rapid maneuvers are required.
- US Highway 281 – A major trucking route through San Antonio.
- Downtown San Antonio – Congested narrower streets increase risks.
- Bexar County rural roads – Long empty roads encourage speeding.
- Construction zones – Sudden stops and rough roads add risk.
In general, any highway, interstate, or congested roadway with high-speed limits and frequent braking carries heightened jackknife risks.
What steps do truck drivers take to prevent jackknifing?
Careful truck drivers take these precautions to avoid jackknife accidents in San Antonio:
- Drive slowly in hazardous conditions – Rain, ice, and snow call for lower speeds.
- Use low gears on downgrades – Avoid riding the brakes to keep them cool.
- Watch load distribution – Don’t overload the rear trailer axles.
- Secure cargo properly – Shifting loads can destabilize the trailer.
- Check equipment – Make sure brakes, tires, and hitches are in good working order.
- Maintain safe following distance – Ensures adequate room to brake gradually.
- Stay focused – Avoid distractions and keep full attention on driving.
- Take fatigue breaks – Driving while exhausted increases crash risks.
However, even conscientious truckers occasionally make mistakes or face equipment failures leading to jackknives.
Who is legally liable in a jackknife truck accident?
Determining liability after a San Antonio jackknife crash involves investigating these factors:
- Truck driver actions – Speeding, reckless driving, or error may indicate their fault.
- Trucking company policies – Encouraging overloading or driving while fatigued suggests negligence.
- Truck maintenance – Badly maintained brakes, tires, etc often cause jackknifing.
- Manufacturing defects – A defective truck or trailer component could be blamed.
- Other drivers – Their reckless driving may have necessitated the trucker’s abrupt braking.
- Road conditions – Poor construction zone setups can also contribute.
- No one – In some cases, a jackknife is unavoidable due to unforeseeable conditions.
A skilled San Antonio jackknife accident lawyer thoroughly explores these issues to identify liable parties and help clients obtain compensation.
Should I hire a San Antonio jackknife accident lawyer for an accident claim?
Yes, it is advisable to work with an experienced San Antonio jackknife accident lawyer for assistance with:
- Gathering truck ECM, inspection records, and other evidence.
- Interviewing witnesses and reconstructing how the crash occurred.
- Proving negligence by truckers, companies, or other parties.
- Calculating full compensation amounts for severe injuries.
- Fighting insurance companies seeking low settlements.
- Avoiding violations of federal trucking regulations.
- Determining all liable defendants and legal avenues for restitution.
- Negotiating satisfactory out-of-court settlements when possible.
- Going to court if necessary and skillfully trying the case.
An attorney’s expertise can make the difference between receiving fair compensation or not – this is one of the main reasons why opting for a San Antonio jackknife truck accident lawyer is always advisable over other attornies with other specialties like a pedestrian accident lawyer in Dallas.
How much is my San Antonio jackknife accident claim worth?
The value of a jackknife accident injury claim depends on factors like:
- Medical bills – Both current and expected future costs.
- Lost income – Wages lost due to inability to work.
- Pain and suffering – Compensation for physical and mental trauma.
- Disability – Losses stemming from permanent impairment.
- Disfigurement – Compensation for scarring or amputation.
- Loss of companionship – For harm to family relationships.
- Punitive damages – If gross negligence can be proven.
Experienced jackknife accident lawyers use professional valuations to seek full coverage of all these damages, which often exceed $1 million for severe injuries.
How quickly should I file a San Antonio jackknife accident claim?
It is important to contact a San Antonio jackknife accident lawyer as soon as possible, because:
- Evidence disappears – Companies remove or alter crash evidence quickly.
- Witnesses forget – Their memories fade, so statements must be obtained fast.
- Laws have deadlines – For notifying defendants and filing litigation.
- Injuries worsen – Damages compound if treatment is delayed.
- Insurance settlements shrink – The longer you wait, the less they will offer.
Starting the claims process immediately preserves your rights and builds negotiating leverage for maximum compensation.
Can I file a claim if I was partially at fault in the accident?
Yes, Texas follows modified comparative negligence rules, meaning you can recover damages if you are less than 50% at fault. For example:
- If you were 25% responsible, your payout decreases by 25%.
- If you were 49% at fault, you can still file a claim, but the damages award drops by 49%.
- If you were 50% or more at fault, you generally cannot recover anything.
So even if you contributed some negligence leading to the crash, contacting a San Antonio jackknife accident lawyer is wise to pursue a claim.
What damages can a jackknife truck accident attorney in San Antonio help me recover?
A knowledgeable San Antonio jackknife accident lawyer can assist in recovering all applicable damages in a jackknife injury case, including:
- All past and future medical bills
- Lost income and reduced earning capacity
- Repair/replacement costs for any property damaged
- Compensation for physical and mental pain/anguish
- Required custodial and home healthcare costs
- Cost of rehabilitation services and assistive devices
- Punitive damages if gross negligence can be established
Maximizing these damage demands requires retaining a jackknife truck accident lawyer in Houston experienced at calculating jackknife accident costs.
How are jackknife accident cases different from other truck crashes?
Jackknife mishaps differ from standard truck collisions because:
- Violent unfolding forces lead to catastrophic injuries.
- Multiple impacted vehicles and complex wreckage make causes hard to prove.
- Trucking companies quickly destroy electronic evidence from the truck.
- Specialized experts in truck technology are needed to identify defects.
- Federal regulations on truck brakes, loads, hours, and maintenance apply.
- Jackknifes result in the complete destruction of the semi-rig.
- Huge damage verdicts are common since injuries are so severe.
These unique factors demonstrate the importance of hiring a jackknife truck accident lawyer in San Antonio who is familiar with investigating jackknifes.
What specific trucking regulations apply in jackknife accidents?
Key federal regulations that pertain to jackknife collisions include rules on:
- Brakes – Requiring proper trailer brake maintenance, adjustment, and synchronization with the tractor brakes.
- Cargo – Securing cargo appropriately to prevent shifting weight that can cause sway.
- Hours of service – Limiting driving hours to prevent drowsy driving that may lead to jackknifing.
- Truck maintenance – Ensuring proper working condition of tires, brakes, lights, and structural integrity.
- Commercial driver qualifications – Setting licensing, testing, and training standards.
Violations of these safety regulations can establish negligence in a San Antonio jackknife accident claim. Such violations also tend to form the basis for lawsuits brought to court by almost any personal injury lawyer on behalf of their clients.
When should I settle my San Antonio jackknife accident claim?
It is generally best to settle a jackknife accident claim when:
- The full scope of injuries and treatment is known. Settling too soon risks missing problems.
- You have reached maximum medical recovery. This ensures no future care costs are omitted.
- The case investigation is complete. All evidence should point to a fair outcome.
- You have the opinion of an experienced San Antonio jackknife truck accident attorney that the offer is appropriate.
- The settlement fully covers all economic and non-economic damages.
- You want to avoid the stress and uncertainty of trial. Settlements provide guaranteed relief.
However, it is wise to prepare diligently for trial in case an adequate settlement cannot be reached.
How can jackknife accidents be prevented in San Antonio?
Key ways trucking companies and government officials could help prevent jackknife crashes include:
- Improved truck driver training on defensive techniques.
- Widespread adoption of jackknife avoidance safety technologies.
- More stringent truck maintenance standards and inspection rules.
- Traffic engineering focused on high-risk jackknife roadways.
- Tougher regulations on maximum driving hours and minimum rest periods.
- Public safety campaigns encouraging all drivers to be alert around trucks.
- Research into truck and trailer designs less prone to jackknifing.
Hopefully, in the future, these prevention strategies can reduce San Antonio’s jackknife accident toll. But comprehensive legal help remains essential for innocent victims in the meantime.
Don’t go it alone against the trucking companies and insurers. With our dedicated team in your corner, you can focus on healing while we fight to get your life back on track.
Call us today at (713) 804-8149 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Our attorneys are ready to review the details of your case and discuss your legal options. With compassionate counsel and relentless advocacy, we can help you seek the justice you deserve.
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