Houston Jackknife Truck Accident Lawyers
Were you involved in a jackknife accident with a large truck? Did you sustain injuries through no fault of your own? If so, contact the Houston truck accident attorneys at Gibson Hill Personal Injury now. We’ll leverage our resources and vast experience in truck accident cases to hold the responsible party liable and secure full compensation for your losses.
Truck drivers and trucking companies have a duty to ensure the safety of others on the road. There are federal and state regulations they must follow to prevent accidents from happening. Unfortunately, many don’t follow the rules and are reckless behind the wheel, putting others at risk.
Commercial trucks can jackknife for many reasons. Jackknifing occurs when the trailer and front cab of a truck slide towards each other at an angle. It is typically the result of the driver losing control of their vehicle due to an overloaded trailer, distracted driving, or another reckless behavior.
At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, our award-winning attorneys have experience helping accident victims just like you. Call us at (713) 659-4000 for a free consultation with one of our Houston jackknife accident lawyers.
Commercial Trucks In Houston
There are many types of large trucks you might see on the roadways in Houston. Some are picking up garbage from commercial and residential properties. Others are transporting consumer goods to stores. Whether they’re carrying small products or hazardous substances, they’re all substantial in size and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds.
The most common trucks include:
- Garbage truck
- Heavy hauler
- Tanker truck
- Dump truck
- Box truck
- Delivery truck
- Refrigerator truck
Regulations for Trucking Companies
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates trucking companies and how they’re supposed to operate. That includes determining qualifications for drivers and the maximum hours they’re allowed to be on the road. Violating these rules could lead to a life-threatening accident.
These requirements are also intended to help ensure truck drivers are responsible behind the wheel so they don’t cause an accident. When they fail to follow federal regulations, however, and use the incorrect securement systems for cargo or maneuver the vehicle incorrectly, they could cause the truck to jackknife.
Examples of federal regulations truck drivers should always comply with include:
- Not exceeding eleven hours of driving after spending ten consecutive hours off-duty.
- Being at least 18 years old to drive within Texas and at least 21 years old to drive across state lines, transport passengers, or transport hazardous materials.
- Maintaining a driver log with hours of each driving shift, maintenance and repairs, and any accidents that occur.
- Reading, writing, and speaking English at a level to understand traffic signs, communicate with others, and maintain logs.
- Carrying a valid commercial driver’s license.
- Using proper securement systems while loading cargo onto the trailer.
- Refraining from consuming alcohol within four hours of a driving shift.
Trucking companies also have specific regulations they must follow, such as:
- Performing a thorough background check on new drivers.
- Implementing and supervising cargo loading requirements.
- Providing training programs.
- Maintaining weight and size limits of cargo and vehicles.
- Performing adequate maintenance and repair damage or defects promptly.
Failure to follow any of the regulations above could result in a jackknife accident that leads to severe injuries. The truck driver or trucking company could be held liable in an insurance claim or lawsuit. Gibson Hill Personal Injury can review your case to determine what caused the crash and the available legal options.
Common Causes of Jackknife Truck Accidents
A jackknifing accident is a dangerous situation for anyone to find themselves in. A small vehicle could become trapped between the cab and trailer or end up under the truck. If the truck driver doesn’t know how to operate the vehicle correctly or isn’t paying attention to where they’re going, they could lose control.
Commercial trucks are large and heavy. When they crash into small cars, the occupants typically end with debilitating injuries. Sometimes fatalities result from a jackknife accident. Many factors could contribute to accidents like this, such as:
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Speeding or driving too fast for road or weather conditions
- Defective truck part
- Braking suddenly or incorrectly
- Taking a turn too fast
- Failure to check blind spots
- Distracted driving
- Fatigued driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Even if the truck driver caused the accident, their employer could also be liable. If they knowingly hired an unqualified driver to save money or didn’t use the right securement devices on the cargo, they could be partly to blame for what happened. Our Houston jackknife accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate and gather evidence that proves who was at fault.
Who’s Liable After a Jackknife Truck Accident
Although the truck driver and trucking company seem to be the only parties involved, multiple other individuals or companies could be responsible for an accident. Some of these parties include:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company
- Company performing maintenance and repairs on the truck
- Cargo loading company
- Vehicle or parts manufacturer
- Cab or trailer owner
Gibson Hill Personal Injury has the resources needed to obtain evidence that shows all of the parties who may be liable for the crash. Jackknife accidents are serious, and we will fight to ensure you receive the compensation you need to heal your injuries. You can depend on us to protect your rights and seek the justice you deserve.
Compensation You Could Pursue In An Insurance Claim or Lawsuit
Insurance claims involve the truck driver’s insurance company. All truck drivers have a legal requirement to carry liability insurance. This coverage could provide compensation for an accident victim’s injuries, medical bills, and other expenses.
In an injury claim or lawsuit, you may receive compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Physical impairment
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Out of pocket costs
Punitive damages are also available, but only if you choose to file a lawsuit. Instead of reimbursing you for your expenses and compensating you for your physical and emotional pain, punitive damages are intended as a form of punishment against the at-fault party. A jury will only award you with punitive damages if you can provide clear and convincing evidence of fraud, gross negligence, or malice.
It is also critical to understand that a jury could reduce your damages by the percentage of fault you share in the accident that injured you. If you were responsible for the accident, the state’s modified comparative negligence rule could come into play.
To give you an example, let’s say you were seeking $50,000 in compensation. If the truck driver was 100% at fault, you could pursue the full $50,000 to cover your total losses. However, if a jury determines you were 10% to blame, you could only seek up to $45,000 in compensation.
Additionally, Texas also follows the 51% rule when it comes to negligence for an accident. If you were at least 51% at fault, you would be prohibited from recovering any amount of financial compensation in a lawsuit.
Filing a Claim With Your Insurance Company
Since the minimum required liability coverage for truck drivers is $300,000, there is a good chance that you’ll be able to secure compensation for your total losses with a liability insurance claim. However, if the truck driver’s coverage isn’t high enough or they don’t have insurance, you could file a claim with your insurance company.
Texas does not require drivers to purchase UM insurance but must offer it. Uninsured/underinsured motorist could be available on your policy if you didn’t choose to reject it when you purchased liability insurance coverage. When you file a UM claim, you might be able to recover the following damages:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Out of pocket expenses
You should always review your insurance policy after a jackknife truck accident to ensure you have adequate coverage. Gibson Hill Personal Injury can help you with that since we have years of experience looking over our clients’ insurance policies. We do everything we can to maximize the value of each case we take so you can walk away with enough compensation to pay for your past and future damages.
Let Gibson Hill Personal Injury Fight for You
Our Houston jackknife accident lawyers have been representing clients in their personal injury cases since 2013. We believe in developing a close relationship with our clients that allows for transparent communication, trust, and dependability. We will always treat you like you’re family no matter what. You need people in your corner fighting for your rights, and you can count on us to do that for you.
We know the trauma caused by a jackknife truck accident. The aftermath of the accident can be overwhelming, and the road to recovery might seem long and tedious. Our legal team will take over and handle every step of the legal process on your behalf. You won’t have to do anything except attend your doctor’s appointments and try to move forward with your life.
Our Houston jackknife accident lawyers are available 24/7 to speak with you. You won’t have to wait days or weeks for us to call you back. You will be a priority for us from start to finish of your case. Providing excellent customer service is something we take very seriously. We don’t want you to feel ignored or abandoned during this stressful time in your life.
If you were the victim of a jackknife truck accident, call Gibson Hill Personal Injury at (713) 659-4000 today for a free consultation with a knowledgeable truck accident attorney. Learn about your rights today.