San Antonio Jackknife Accidents Lawyer
Strong advocacy for Texans injured when semis and 18-wheelers jackknife
A jackknifed tractor-trailer can tie up traffic for hours, frustrating San Antonio’s commuters and visitors alike. But it can also cause serious harm to other drivers on the road. When you or a loved one is injured in a jackknife collision with a semi-truck, you have legal options.
At the Law Offices of Pat Maloney, we have been fighting for truck accident victims in San Antonio for 40 years. We understand how to show how a truck jackknife accident happened, why it happened, how it could have been prevented, and who is responsible. We demand compensation for all your financial and personal damages. We also file wrongful death claims if a jackknife accident took the life of a loved one.
Our truck accident settlements and verdicts include $3.1 million for a client who required neck and back surgery after a truck accident and $2.75 million for the family of a Good Samaritan who was run over by an 18-wheeler truck. Let a San Antonio truck accident attorney from our firm help you, too.
Why do jackknife accidents happen in San Antonio?
According to CDL-test.org, “A jackknife accident usually occurs when a truck driver accelerates too quickly while turning, causing the truck to skid. As a result, the trailer deviates from its intended path and swings in an L or V shape towards the cabin. The name comes from the fact that it resembles a knife with a blade that folds into the handle.”
The jackknife usually happens because the tractor and trailer travel in different directions or at different speeds, causing the trailer to swing away from the tractor. As the driver tries to brake, there will likely be skid marks.
It’s not just large 18-wheelers, semis, and rigs that jackknife. Any vehicle with an attached trailer, such as when people use a trailer to move their home furnishings to a new location, can jackknife. Campers can jackknife, too.
Some of the physical reasons why jackknifes happen in San Antonio are:
- Shifting cargo. Generally, tractor-trailers are more likely to jackknife if the cargo moves around. The movement can cause the truck to lose traction which contributes to the jackknife. Trucks that are fully loaded or completely empty are usually safer. The cargo needs to be loaded in the proper fashion and properly secured so it doesn’t move while the truck is moving.
- Going through a curve too quickly. The physical forces from going through a curve can force the tractor and trailer to go in separate directions.
- Speeding or driving too fast for traffic or weather conditions. Tractor-trailer combinations need a lot more time to brake and slow down than smaller vehicles and single trucks. Pressure from trucking companies to deliver their goods on time, or for drivers to make up lost time, may lead some truckers to speed.
- Wet roads. Truck drivers in San Antonio should always slow down when the roads are wet. Slippery roads affect traction, which affects how the tractor and trailer travel.
- Improper braking. When truck drivers need to stop, they should not slam on their brakes. Braking slowly reduces the risk of a jackknife. Longer braking helps keep both parts of the truck connected to the road. Generally, truck drivers should use their normal brakes.
- Poor maintenance. Both the tractor and trailer tires and brakes should be checked regularly. The trailer hitches and the truck suspension system should be examined too.
- Defective parts. Faulty brakes are the most likely culprit if a defective part causes a truck to jackknife, but issues with the steering can also come into play. So, too, can a tire blowout.
Other acts of negligence leading to jackknife accidents include driving while intoxicated, driver distraction, and driver fatigue.
Why are jackknife accidents so dangerous?
Jackknife accidents are dangerous for anyone in the truck and for any drivers or passengers near the truck. When a truck jackknifes, it may also roll over. The cargo from the truck may spill onto the highway. These truck accidents often involve multiple vehicles, too: anyone driving near the semi-truck might collide with either the tractor or the trailer, or may collide with other cars or road objects as they attempt to avoid the crash.
Who is liable for a truck jackknife accident in San Antonio?
Many people or businesses may be liable for a San Antonio truck jackknife accident. At the Law Offices of Pat Maloney, we thoroughly investigate how the accident happened. We work with our investigators, the police, and any government officials that may be involved. We work with truck design and safety experts if necessary.
The responsible parties may include:
- The driver of the truck
- The truck driver’s employer
- The companies whose goods were being shipped
- A trucking broker
- A repair or maintenance company
- A manufacturer of defective truck parts
How can truck jackknife accidents be prevented?
Truck jackknives are a common danger. Truck drivers, trucking companies, and shipping companies should all understand how to prevent jackknife accidents from happening. The drivers and companies should also understand what to do if a truck does begin to jackknife.
The main preventive measures are truck maintenance and truck driver experience. Recommendations for truck drivers to prevent a jackknife include the following:
- Check your mirrors to see if the trailer is swaying or swinging. If so, adjust your speed or steering direction.
- Understand that lighter trailers are more apt to lose contact with the ground.
- “Brake before entering a turn and when rounding a corner.” Only brake while driving straight.
- Do not slam the brakes when the trailer swings. “If it is safe, take your foot completely off the brakes.”
Truck drivers should also understand that “trailer sway can sometimes be corrected by gradually increasing your speed, increasing your tractor's pull strength, and straightening the trailer. Increasing speed will usually not help if the tractor or caravan is shaking or swaying.”
CDL-test.org says, “Keep in mind that no one got into a jackknife accident by driving too slowly.”
Do you have a truck accident lawyer near me?
We meet truck accident victims and families at our office located at 239 E Commerce St. in the center of Downtown San Antonio, TX. We’re honored to say our office is one of the most beautiful and historic buildings in San Antonio. There’s plenty of parking. We arrange phone conferences, video conferences, and in-hospital visits when necessary.
At the Law Offices of Pat Maloney, we’ll fight for all the compensation you deserve including your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and property damage. We also seek wrongful death damages if a loved one died in a San Antonio jackknife accident.
Contact our experienced San Antonio jackknife accident lawyer today
Truck drivers and driver companies must place your safety before company profits. Drivers should know how to prevent their trucks from jackknifing. You have the right to hold the responsible parties accountable. At the Law Offices of Pat Maloney, our San Antonio personal injury lawyer is ready to try your case before a jury, if necessary, though many cases do settle. To discuss your rights, call us or fill out or contact form to schedule a free consultation. We handle truck accident claims on a contingency fee basis.