A reckless truck driver's actions have the potential to harm not just those with whom the truck shares a traffic lane but also those in other lanes. Due to their weight and size, truck accidents can be devastating. A jackknife accident occurs when the cab of a commercial truck travels straight ahead while its trailer swings to the left or right. These types of accidents are called jackknife accidents because the configuration of the truck is similar to that of an open jackknife. There are numerous reasons for these accidents, but often they are the fault of the truck driver. Numerous people in passenger cars may be injured or killed in these accidents. Many people may be making claims against the truck driver's policy. It is crucial to get an experienced Albuquerque truck accident attorney on your side.
At the Law Office of Matthew Vance, our knowledgeable principal understands the kinds of tactics that may be deployed by truck drivers, trucking companies, and insurers, all seeking to evade liability. Not every personal injury attorney is familiar with these tactics or how to fight them, so it is especially important to consult a lawyer who is.Bringing a Personal Injury Claim After a Jackknife Accident
Eighteen-wheelers, semi-tractor trailers, and other kinds of commercial trucks often have a cabin in which the driver sits and a long trailer that holds cargo. When a jackknife accident occurs, the truck may skid. The wheels may lock up. While the cabin will continue to drive in the right direction, the trailer may swing to the side. Jackknifing can occur in response to slippery roads, sudden stops, overweight cargo, and other reasons. Often, the trailer hits other vehicles, causing serious harm. When a commercial truck jackknifes at high speeds, such as on the highway, it is also highly likely that there will be a rollover.
Jackknifing may be the fault of a distracted driver, a fatigued driver, speeding, or a drunk or drugged driver. Generally, operating a commercial truck requires substantial skill and attention. If a driver is texting or gets distracted by something else and needs to brake suddenly, for example, the trailer may jackknife. Similarly, if a driver has worked for too many hours without rest and is fatigued at the wheel, he may not respond as quickly to changing traffic conditions. Often, trucking companies provide financial incentives for truck drivers to meet tight deadlines, which only encourages driving while fatigued. The need to stop suddenly or falling asleep at the wheel on a slippery road could result in jackknifing. Driving at excessive speeds can cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle, which is also a potential contributor to a jackknife accident.
If a jackknife accident occurs, the trailer may hit many other vehicles, which in turn may hit other vehicles. Accident victims may face enormous medical bills and property bills. Their claims may exceed the coverage available through the truck driver's insurance policy. This is why it is important to retain an experienced attorney who can examine all of the contributing causes to the accident. A trucking company may be held liable for a truck driver's negligence in the course and scope of employment. Moreover, it may also be directly negligent in its hiring, training, or supervision of a truck driver.
Interstate truck drivers are expected to follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's regulations. These are detailed and complicated regulations that govern hours of service, log books, maintenance, inspections, rest breaks, and various aspects of hiring and supervision. New Mexico has adopted certain federal semi truck driving regulations, but New Mexico has modified the federal regulations slightly. In New Mexico, semi truck drivers must be at least 18 and must be 21 if they are hauling hazardous materials. When a semi truck stays within either 100 or 150 miles of its regular place of business in New Mexico, the federal maximum hours of service may not apply.
Sometimes trucking companies fail to make sure that their drivers abide by the hours of service regulations or even look the other way when they see that the truck driver has clearly falsified a log book. If a jackknife accident occurs because a truck driver was too fatigued, and the trucking company knew that he was violating the hours of service rules and falsifying his log book, the trucking company may be liable for the injuries sustained by victims around the truck under a theory of negligent supervision.
Victims of a jackknifing accident may be able to recover compensation by bringing a lawsuit against the truck driver and the trucking company, depending on the circumstances of the accident. Compensatory damages may include economic losses, such as medical treatment, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and lost wages, as well as noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Albuquerque Attorney
Matthew Vance was born and grew up in New Mexico, and his family continues to live here. As an insurance defense attorney for three years, he gained insights into how insurers and defense attorneys operate, including in truck accident cases. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a jackknifing accident, you should consult the Law Office of Matthew Vance. Our firm represents clients in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Los Alamos, Taos, Raton, Gallup, Grants, Belen, Rio Rancho, Los Lunas, Socorro, Truth of Consequences, Deming, Silver City, Alamogordo, Clovis, Hobbs, Espanola, Roswell, Carlsbad, Santa Rosa, Tucumcari, Farmington, and Bloomfield. Call us at (505) 242-6267 or complete our online form.