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RD- an actual child support client
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01/10/2014
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Jackknife & Rollover Truck Accidents

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Personal Injury

A significant percentage of truck accidents involve jackknifing or rollovers. These types of accidents are amongst the most dangerous, and often result in serious injury or fatality. According to the Department of Transportation, jackknifing refers to “truck tractors pulling a trailing unit in which the trailing unit and the pulling vehicle rotate with respect to each other.” Whereas, a rollover refers to “any vehicle rotation of 90 degrees or more about any true longitudinal or lateral axis.” The Gainesville Trucking Collision Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. represent injured victims, and family members of the deceased, in recovering financial compensation following an auto wreck that was caused due to the negligent, reckless, and/or unlawful actions of a truck driver.

There are numerous factors that can potentially contribute to any type of truck crash—traveling speed, roadway surface conditions, visibility, weather, distracted driving, improperly secured cargo, vehicle component failures, roadway obstructions (i.e. person, animal, another vehicle), falling debris, impairment, fatigue, other motorists, etc. Jackknife and rollover truck accidents are unique, though, because this type of truck wreck is highly preventable.

Truck driver error is one of the most common reasons that large trucks jackknife or rollover. Most jackknives begin with the truck skidding, whether due to braking or slippery road conditions. When a semi begins to skid, the driver’s reaction is critical—both with regard to steering and braking. Even where another motorist causes the initial harmful event, a skilled truck driver can often avoid a subsequent harmful event, by preventing the vehicle from rolling over or jackknifing. Freight and cargo related factors can also play a role. Shifting can occur due to improper loading (i.e. failing to distribute weight evenly or failing to properly secure cargo), which can then cause the truck to jackknife or roll.

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Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between truck driver experience and accident avoidance, particularly when it comes to jackknife and rollover accidents. Experienced truckers generally have better driving skills; more extensive knowledge on cargo transport safety; and are more capable of properly maneuvering given roadway/weather conditions, the weight and contents of their load, as well as the size of the trailer being towed. According to a NHSTA report:

“A speed limit of 55 mph or higher, poor weather, and a curved road significantly increase the odds of both a rollover and a jackknife for large trucks. As the weight of the large truck and its cargo increases, the odds of a rollover increase, but the odds of a jackknife decrease. Conversely, as the length of a large truck increases, the odds of a rollover decrease, but the odds of a jackknife increase […].”

Given the foregoing, it is easy to see the connection between experience in commercial trucking and the capability of a driver to avoid a rollover or jackknife accident. While truckers must undergo rigorous training and pass skill tests to obtain a commercial driver’s license, it is the real-life and on-road experience which develops over times, that makes a driver better able to assess dangers and react appropriately in situations where the truck is at risk for rolling or jackknifing.

All too often, trucking companies hire individuals that lack the proper credentials, do not have sufficient experience, or that are unprepared to safely handle the transport task they are assigned to do. For example, the driver may not have the skills or required endorsements to operate certain classes of trucks or transport certain types of cargo. Drivers may be unfamiliar with certain routes, or may be inexperienced in driving in certain roadway or weather conditions. Often time, liability in trucking accidents can be traced back to some form of negligence on the part of the employer/trucking company, whether in hiring, supervision, entrustment, or training.

Jackknife and Rollover truck wrecks can be disastrous, often resulting in multiple-vehicle collisions, and even pile-ups. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in an accident with a large truck, it is important that you know your options to recovering financial compensation. Our Gainesville Attorneys will go to work immediately on your case by gathering and preserving evidence, working with insurance companies, securing medical liens, and ensuring that your legal rights and interests are fully protected. Contact the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A., we can help.