Semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles operate on Virginia highways and interstates on a regular basis. These vehicles are capable of hauling thousands of pounds of goods and materials from place to place and perform a critical role in the modern United States economy. Unfortunately, they also expose other motorists to a significant risk of involvement in a truck accident. When these accidents are the result of truck driver negligence, victims are often able to recover significant compensation.
Articulated Vehicles Can Jackknife
Semi-trucks belong to a category of vehicle known as “articulated vehicles,” which simply refers to the fact that they have a moveable joint that connects separate sections. Trams, trains, and some buses are other examples of articulated vehicles. While the fact that the sections in these vehicles are connected by a coupling device makes them more maneuverable, it also makes them more vulnerable to certain types of accidents, including jackknife accidents. Jackknife accidents occur when the trailer of a truck folds over onto its cab in an action resembling the action of a folding knife. There are many examples of driver negligence that could potentially cause a truck to jackknife, including the following:
- Improper braking
- Distracted driving
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Taking turns too fast
Jackknife accidents are a particularly dangerous type of truck accident as the trailer can swing perpendicularly against the flow of traffic. For this reason, the damage caused by a jackknife accident is often widespread. After a jackknife accident, victims should be sure to seek medical attention for any injuries that they may have sustained. In addition, if they are able, victims should also record as much information about the accident as possible, including the names of the drivers involved, the Department of Transportation (DOT) number of the truck, any markings on the truck that identifies a company, and contact information from any individuals who may have witnessed the accident.
Semi-Truck Accident Cases Are Often Significantly More Complicated than “Regular” Car Accidents
There are many complicated legal and technical issues that often arise in tractor-trailer accident cases that are not present in car accident cases involving only non-commercial drivers. For this reason, it is important for anyone hurt in a truck accident to talk to an attorney familiar with truck accident litigation. These issues can include violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMSCR), technical issues having to do with large trucks, industry standards, or employer liability for the acts of an employee that occur in the course of employment.
Contact a Virginia Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, contact a Virginia truck accident attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have against the responsible party or parties. The legal team from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp has successfully advocated for many truck accident victims and their families and we understand how complicated these cases can be. Our attorneys are available to meet and discuss the details of your case and how we may be able to help. Call (833) 997-1774 to set up a free and confidential case evaluation.
For more information about truck accidents in Virginia, please download our free guide.