Semi-trucks are often composed of two parts: the cab/tractor and the trailer. When a truck driver is operating his or her vehicle in a reckless or careless manner, it can result in him or her losing control of the vehicle and the trailer swinging into traffic. This is commonly known as jackknifing.
Jackknife truck accidents in Johnstown are deadly and require the skill of a well-practiced lawyer from the area. If you or a loved one were hurt by a swinging truck trailer, consider speaking with a Johnstown big rig accident attorney.
What are Jackknifing Accidents?
Jackknifing accidents involve situations where a commercial vehicle loses control, and the trailer portion of the truck becomes separated from the cab and blocks the roadway. The end result is the cab of the truck is facing one way while the trailer is facing a different direction. These accidents can be incredibly devastating as the swinging trailer can strike nearby motorists and block the path of oncoming traffic, often resulting in a multiple vehicle pileup.
These collisions often are caused by icy or wet roads, or roadways with winding turns. Even wet leaves on the roadway or gravel could result in the tires losing traction on the roadway and the driver being unable to maintain control of the trailer.
In order for a truck driver in Johnstown to prevent a jackknife accident, he or she should slow down and maintain good control of the trailer. This may mean driving far below the speed limit, especially if the weather or road conditions warrant it. As big rig drivers are responsible to operate their vehicles appropriately for the conditions, slick roadways or poor visibility will not excuse them from liability in the event of a tractor-trailer collision.
Liable Parties in a Swinging Trailer Accident
Tractor-trailer collisions can have multiple liable parties, but the primary defendant is generally the driver of the vehicle. However, the company that he or she works for would also be a defendant, under the theory of vicarious liability.
Vicarious liability means that the employer could also be held accountable for wrongdoings of his or her employers performed during the course of their employment. In other words, if the jackknife accident in Johnstown occurred while the truck driver was performing the functions for which he or she were hired, then his or her employer will be liable for the damages caused by the negligent employee. The employer can also be liable in a claim of direct negligence, such as inadequate hiring or training practices.
There could also potentially be a claim against the company that loaded the truck if it was done in an improper or unsafe manner. For instance, if the trucking company and the driver were hauling for a third-party company, and that third-party company overloaded the vehicle in a way that made it more prone to losing control, that company could potentially be liable.
When a truck jackknifes, it can result in catastrophic damage to others on the roadway. Furthermore, a swinging tractor-trailer also puts the truck at risk of overturning which can result in further harm. People injured in these accidents can seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. If the accident results in someone’s death, his or her surviving family can also seek compensation through a wrongful death claim.
Call a Johnstown Attorney After a Jackknife Truck Accident
If you or a loved one were harmed in a jackknife truck accident in Johnstown, you could be entitled to financial compensation from the responsible party. By working with the experienced attorneys at Marcus & Mack, you could improve your chances of a favorable resolution to your case. Call our office today to schedule your initial consultation for free.