Proving negligence in Texas trucking cases
When you're hit by a commercial truck, you have legal rights, but exercising those rights depends on proving the trucking company's negligence caused your injuries. Let's take a look at the most common types of truck accidents and the ways negligence contributes to each.
Jackknife Truck Accident
What it is. In a jackknife crash, the cab of a semi-truck folds in against the trailer, creating a "V" shape that resembles a pocket knife. Other vehicles may crash into the truck or be caught in the gap between the cab and trailer.
Why it happens. Experienced truck drivers know how to avoid jackknifing or steer out of a jackknife when it occurs, so driver inexperience is often a cause of jackknifing. Trucking companies have a responsibility to make sure their drivers have the training and experience to avoid losing control of their vehicles. Jackknifing can also be caused by poor vehicle maintenance, particularly bad brakes, or failure to properly secure the trailer hitch. Trucks are also at more risk of jackknifing if they're going too fast for the road conditions, which sometimes happens when the driver is under pressure to make an unrealistic delivery schedule.
Underride Truck Accident
What it is. A smaller vehicle, like a car, pickup truck, or motorcycle, hits the back or side of a tractor-trailer and ends up sliding underneath the trailer. This can cause severe and fatal injuries like brain damage or lost limbs.
Why it happens. Often, an underride occurs when a trucker slams on the brakes and there isn't enough time for the driver in another vehicle to avoid a collision. This can happen because the trucker is distracted, asleep at the wheel, or just following the vehicle in front too closely. Trucks are equipped with underride guards to stop other vehicles from sliding underneath the trailer, but those guards often fail, especially when the collision occurs at an angle instead of head-on. In these situations, the manufacturer of the trailer may be liable for any injuries. Poorly maintained or non-functional brake lights and hazard lights can also cause underrides in low-visibility conditions.
Rollover Truck Accident
What it is. A semi-truck falls over on its side, creating a massive hazard for everyone else on the road. While all vehicles can roll over, heavy trucks are more vulnerable because their center of gravity is so high.
Why it happens. Rollovers often occur because the truck was overloaded. Perhaps the load wasn't properly balanced, usually because the trucking company prioritized profit over safety. Truckers may also cause rollovers when they drive too fast, especially around curves or in inclement weather. Another potential cause of rollovers is oversteering. This happens when a trucker reacts too slowly to an obstacle or another vehicle. This can be due to them being distracted, under the influence or fatigued.
Serious crashes demand serious legal representation
If you were hurt in a truck accident, you have a right to answers. You need an attorney with the experience to get to the bottom of what happened. You need one who will help you fight for the compensation you need and deserve. Trucking companies and their insurance carriers have rapid response teams that arrive on the scene, sometimes within hours, to start planning their defense against your claim. Time is of the essence when pursuing a truck accident case. The story can change and evidence can disappear quickly.
Coby L. Wooten, Attorney At Law, P.C. would be honored to meet with you and listen to your side of the story in a free consultation. Contact us online or call our Fort Worth law office to get started.