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Jackknife accidents are among the most feared truck accidents. Truckers and other motorists alike worry about the possibility of this type of crash. While they are relatively rare, a jackknife accident often leads to catastrophic or fatal injuries. And because of the nature of these crashes — with the trailer swinging around — the accident can involve several passenger cars.
If you suffered injuries in a truck accident, a jackknife accident lawyer in Dallas at Lovins Trosclair, PLLC can help you explore your legal options for compensation. We file your claim, and negotiate a settlement to cover your medical treatment, lost wages, property damage and more. Contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation: 214-484-1930.
What is a jackknife accident?
Jackknife accidents occur when the cab of the truck stops but the trailer does not. This causes the trailer to swing out to the side, into a shape that resembles a folding knife. This type of accident happens for many reasons, but human error almost always contributes to the crash. Truckers who drive carelessly or while distracted or drowsy are at an increased risk. Common ways these incidents occur include:
- The trucker brakes too hard
- The driver must stop suddenly on slick roads
- The truck driver brakes too hard in a curve
- The trucker accelerates too quickly on wet or icy roads
- The driver attempts to use engine braking on curves or slick pavement
- There are balance or adjustment issues with the truck’s braking systems
Jackknife accidents are especially dangerous because the trailer moves unexpectedly across other lanes of traffic. This can involve not only stopped cars, but lead to underride crashes when other vehicles cannot stop in time. Cargo may also spill, leading to additional injuries and property damage.
Who is liable after a jackknife truck accident?
You may think that if the trucker made a mistake and this caused the crash, then s/he is liable for any injuries you sustained. While this is true in most car accident cases, the driver is rarely the only liable party in a Dallas truck accident. Texas law holds the trucking company responsible for the actions of its drivers under a legal concept known as vicarious liability.
While negligent actions or poor driving habits are typically key in causing a jackknife accident, the insurance company who represents the trucking company rarely wants to accept this type of liability without a fight.
Often, the insurer attempts to blame other motorists, poor road maintenance, or even weather conditions. Only an attorney who can analyze police reports, eyewitness accounts, expert reports, and other evidence can ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve from the trucking company.
How can I get compensation for damages after a Dallas truck crash?
You must file an insurance claim with the trucking company’s liability insurance policy to get compensation after a jackknife truck accident. In a typical car accident case, you might be able to manage a claim on your own. However, when you are taking on a trucking company, it is a good idea to discuss your case with a knowledgeable and skilled attorney.
The process to gather and preserve evidence is somewhat different in a truck accident case, and you will need the help of an attorney to ensure you follow the proper procedures. We will also help you ensure you include all potentially liable parties, build a strong case against those parties, and negotiate a fair settlement to cover all your accident-related losses.
In most cases, the insurance company will try to convince you to settle quickly before you have a chance to discuss your options with an attorney or to look at the wealth of evidence in the hands of the trucking company. This is rarely a good idea. Signing an agreement without having a lawyer review your case may leave you without enough money to continue your medical care and with no options for further legal action.
How do I collect the necessary evidence to prove a Texas jackknife accident claim?
There tends to be more evidence in a truck accident case than in your typical passenger car collision. Investigations of the accident scene and the vehicles involved by an expert in accident reconstruction is frequently necessary to properly evaluate your claim. Also, much of the evidence, lies in the hands of the trucking company. To ensure the trucking company preserves and shares this evidence, we must send a spoliation letter that announces your intent to file a claim. We will do this as soon as we have determined what evidence is necessary to prove your entitlement to damages.
Some of the evidence the trucking company may hold includes:
- The driver’s logs
- Information from the truck’s onboard recorder
- Alcohol and drug tests from after the crash
- Records outlining any past incidents with the truck or driver
- Information about the driver’s health history
- Maintenance records
- Records from truck inspections
- Pictures of damage to the truck
Other evidence we will gather includes:
- Police reports
- Eyewitness testimony
- Pictures from the accident scene
- Documentation of current weather conditions at the time of the crash
- Video of the crash from dashboard cameras or surveillance video
- Testimony from accident reconstruction experts
What types of damages can I recover with a truck accident claim?
Texas personal injury laws allow accident victims to recover damages in many broad categories. These include:
- Medical care
- Physical therapy
- Inpatient and outpatient rehabilitative therapies
- The cost of ongoing nursing care
- Other ongoing care costs
- Required medical equipment or assistive devices
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Replacement of your car or other destroyed items
- Pain and suffering, and other noneconomic losses
Many people think they have a good idea of the value of their claim after a Dallas truck accident, but victims tend to shortchange themselves when they calculate their losses on their own.
The best way to ensure you get the full amount you deserve is to have an attorney value your claim based on the specific details of your case. This is especially important if you have any ongoing care needs, will require future treatment, or will not be able to return to work due to your injuries.
How can Lovins Trosclair, PLLC help me recover after a Dallas jackknife accident?
At Lovins Trosclair, PLLC, we understand how stressful taking on a trucking company can be. Let us go to work for you, and we can manage all aspects of your case, including securing all evidence and negotiating a fair settlement.