Semi-Truck Jackknife Crashes in Texas – What Every Driver Needs to Know

semi-truck with red cab speeding down a highwayJackknife truck crashes happen in Texas far too often. This type of truck crash is less talked about, which is surprising since the injuries and other damages are often catastrophic.

Most big rig jackknife accidents are caused by the negligence of one or more drivers. Learn more about this preventable type of truck accident below and how you can avoid being a victim.

At Anderson & Cummings, we have seen the catastrophic damages resulting from various types of 18-wheeler truck crashes in Texas. These collisions impact the occupants of all vehicles involved, as well as their families.

Injured in a truck crash caused by another driver’s negligence? Our firm is ready to help you with that. Our experienced truck accident lawyers in Fort Worth have answers to your questions. We are ready to discuss your situation today, including whether you may have legal options for recovering compensation.

Request your FREE, no-obligation case review today. (817) 920-9000

What Exactly is a Jackknife Truck Crash?

A semi-truck jackknife crash is what happens when the vehicle’s front cab and rear trailer are moving at different speeds. This out-of-sync motion causes the back trailer to push forward and sway out of the lane and off to the side.

This swaying motion is not like a subtle drift from one lane and back again like you might experience with a drowsy driver. Rather it resembles the action of a pocketknife when you fold it up. In other words, the trailer ends up being perpendicular (90 degrees) to the cab. Truck drivers may skid and completely lose control of the vehicle in this situation. The truck may even roll over before the vehicle comes to rest.

What Causes Semi-Truck Jackknife Crashes?

Big rigs, 18-wheelers and semi-trucks cannot maneuver or self-correct as quickly as a small passenger vehicle or even an SUV. There are a lot of ways a jackknife truck crash may occur, but often they are down to one or more driver errors.

Some of the most common causes of jackknife truck crashes include:

  • Forced sudden braking or improper braking
  • Taking a turn too quickly for the weight of the vehicle
  • Traveling at unsafe speeds for the road conditions and/or the weather
  • Driving while fatigued or drowsy
  • Reacting to a road hazard after becoming distracted
  • Operating the truck while impaired by alcohol, drugs or other substances
  • Equipment failure due to poor maintenance or a mechanical defect
  • Inexperience of the truck driver

Because of the way a jackknifing truck’s trailer sways into another traffic lane, multiple vehicles often get caught in the crossfire. Any car hit by the sudden motion of the trailer may then spin out of control and hit other vehicles sharing the road. Sometimes a passenger vehicle may get swept between the cab of the truck and the swaying trailer. This motion can crush the vehicle and cause severe, life-threatening harm to its occupants.

How Can You Prevent a Semi-Truck Jackknife Crash in Fort Worth?

Sometimes despite your best efforts, a truck crash may still happen. However, there are steps you can take to reduce the chances of being involved in a semi-truck jackknife crash, including:

  • Try to avoid driving near trucks at all – put more distance between your vehicle and theirs
  • Never drive between two semi-trucks
  • Resist the urge to race past and cut in front of a semi-truck
  • Get familiar with and stay out of a truck’s blind spots
  • When road or weather conditions require it, increase your distance from a semi-truck

Commercial vehicles are heavier and bigger, which are both reasons for staying out of their way. Remember also that their size and weight means they cannot stop or suddenly correct an error the way a small passenger vehicle can.

Who Can Be Liable for a Jackknife Semi-Truck Crash in Texas?

There is a long list of parties who may be held partially or fully liable for a collision involving a commercial vehicle. The first step of any truck crash claim is to determine what events contributed to or caused the collision. Potential parties who could be liable include:

  • The truck driver – for any of the reasons mentioned above
  • Driver of other vehicles – for instance, if a vehicle suddenly cut in front of a semi-truck, causing them to slam on the brakes
  • The trucking company or owner – for various reasons, including negligent hiring if the driver was inexperienced or had a prior history of negligent driving
  • Owner of the trailer – which may or may not be the same as the trucking company or cab owner
  • Cargo owner or cargo loaders – if the vehicle was loaded over the weight limit or loaded improperly
  • The party responsible for maintaining and servicing the truck – for instance if the brakes failed due to poor vehicle maintenance
  • Manufacturers – if a defective truck part contributed to or caused the crash

Why Should I Consider Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer in Texas?

The main reason is simple. Truck accident claims are very different – more complex, more lawyers, more things that can go wrong – from car crash claims. Having an experienced truck accident lawyer in Fort Worth can help level the legal playing field against the lawyers defending the truck driver and the trucking company.

At Anderson & Cummings, we have extensive experience managing truck accident cases, and we have a history of proven results. We have recovered over $100 million in compensation for our clients.  These results include $4.5 million recovered in a wrongful death settlement involving an 18-wheeler.

If you choose our firm to represent you, there are several steps we will take to build a strong case on your behalf, including:

  • Fully investigating the cause of the crash to determine all parties who may be liable for your damages.
  • Quickly gathering critical evidence, such as images, dash cam or traffic camera footage, and the truck’s black box data, before it is lost or destroyed.
  • Ensuring no deadlines for filing your insurance claim, lawsuit or other legal actions are missed.
  • Working with your medical team, medical experts, accident reconstruction experts, if needed, and financial advisors to accurately detail the extent of your injuries and other damages.
  • Getting statements from credible witnesses.
  • Negotiating with the insurance companies on your behalf for the maximum possible settlement.
  • And more

The damages you may be able to recover may be significant and include all your relevant medical costs, both now and in the future, as well as multiple other damages. For instance, you may recover lost wages, long-term care costs, counseling for post-traumatic distress syndrome (PTSD) and more.

Contact Our Trusted Law Firm for Legal Help After a Crash Involving a Truck

If you were injured in a crash with a jackknifing semi-truck or other big rig, you may be able to recover significant compensation for your losses.

Medical costs and other expenses from a truck crash can add up quickly, creating a huge financial burden for victims and their families.

No amount of money can reverse what has happened to you, but it can help you financially to recover your losses. It also helps to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.

Contact our law offices anytime, night or day, to discuss your situation. We welcome the opportunity to help you and are prepared to fight for the maximum possible compensation on your behalf.

Millions Recovered. Proven Results. (817) 920-9000

*These are actual dollar amounts paid to clients after the deduction of attorney fees and expenses.


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