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Rear-End, Head-Ons, Underride & Jackknife Truck / Auto Accidents

Rear-End, Head-On, Underride & Jackknife Truck Accident Attorneys Lawyers

Rear-End, Head-On, "Underride" & Jackknife Truck Accident Attorneys

The tremendous difference in size and weight between trucks or 18 wheelers and automobiles often result in death or permanent and serious personal injuries. A big rig usually weighs in excess of 80,000 pounds and the tractor trailer combination may be over 70 feet long, therefore, its stopping distance takes far longer than a car. Too often, catastrophic and fatal rear-end truck accidents are caused by the negligence of the truck driver, evidenced by:

  • Inattentiveness to construction zone signs or changes in traffic
  • Driver distractions
  • Following too closely
  • Other human errors [fatigue, drunk driving, DUI, etc.]

Head-On Truck Auto Accidents, Collisions and Injury Lawyers

The most destructive auto truck collision is a head-on truck accident due the mass and momentum. Often, if death does not occur, brain injuries, paralysis, paraplegics and quadriplegics and burn victims are left to live their life constantly fighting to live every day. The law firm of Gordon, Elias & Seely, L.L.P. have only experienced truck auto accident attorneys that employ the best experts to reconstruct the accident and explain the actual internal trauma that takes place inside the human body when the passengers are involved in a deadly head-on collision.

"Underride" Truck Auto Accidents, Collisions and Injury Law Firm

Accidents involving "Big Rig" Tractor Trailer trucks often involve a greater risk of injury in that the body of the trailer sits higher than an average passenger vehicle, causing a likelihood of "underride". An "underride" collision involves the lower passenger vehicle (usually the front) traveling under the higher body of the trailer (usually the rear), causing the trailer to intrude into the occupant compartment of the lower passenger vehicle causing injury to those inside. These injuries include closed head injury, open head injury, brain injury and, sometimes, decapitation. Although there are regulations which require some tractor-trailers to be outfitted with reflective tape on both the rear and/or have a rear bumper equipped at lower heights, there are still thousands of tractor-trailers lacking proper safety underride protections. Bumpers often do not meet DOT standards or collapse on contact. The trucking companies will say it is the automobile drivers' fault for rear-ending the trailer, but sometimes slick streets or "sudden stops" by the 18 wheeler presents an unavoidable situation or the auto driver. These unavoidable circumstances do not excuse the truck company to have advanced bumper systems to minimize the severity of injury.

Jackknife Truck Auto Accident Attorneys

Jackknife accidents are most commonly caused by the sudden application of the brakes in a tractor-trailer. In some cases, though, improperly adjusted brakes can cause jackknife accidents. Improperly adjusted brakes and brake failure in trucks are one of the top reasons for truck accidents on the US roadways. Loss of pedal pressure is among the most common symptoms of brake failure. In fact, any time the angle of articulation between the centerline of the tractor and semi-trailer exceeds fifteen degrees, the truck will jackknife and potentially cause an accident.

Poorly adjusted brakes and brake failure in trucks and other automobiles are some of the top reasons for truck accidents on the Interstates, highways and roadways. Loss of pedal pressure is among the most common symptom of impending brake failure. Too many times, truckers drive with soft brake pedals and do not repair them until it's too late.

Aside from sudden braking and brake failure, jackknife accidents can also be caused by:

  • Downshifting
  • Accelerating on a low friction surface
  • Engine retarders
  • Entering a curve too quickly

The DOT, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute conducted a study to address the relationship of truck size and weight (TS&W) policy, vehicle handling and stability, and safety. Handling and stability are the main mechanisms that relate to vehicle characteristics and safety. The study helps to examine vehicle performance in safety-related maneuvering situations leading to such events as jackknifing, rolling over, poor tracking, poor braking, and loss of directional stability. Vehicle dynamics have defined "intrinsic" or "inherent" safety. Rollover and jackknife accidents are easy to recognize by accident investigators and predictable by appropriate types of vehicle analyses. The study shows that rollover accidents are more likely for fully laden trucks and truck combinations and that jackknife accidents are more likely for empty combinations.

Findings suggest that improvements in brake proportioning and antilock systems should reduce the number of jackknife accidents. Traditionally brake proportioning in the U.S. has been devised for fully laden axles without consideration to the breaking complexities of an empty vehicle or when load is shifted from the rear axles to forward axles. Truck stability and control during braking depend on avoiding wheel locking. A tractor-trailer may jackknife if the rear wheels lock and a trailer swing can occur if the trailer wheels lock. In addition, the study shows that trailers with wide spread axle arrangements can encourage tractor jackknife during tight-radius turning on slippery surfaces and during intersection turns on slippery surfaces. Weight has proven to be the strongest association with fatal truck accident rates. The relationship with fatal truck accident rates was evident when the analysis was limited to specific accident types that were physically related to the vehicle characteristic, such as jackknife accidents and braking efficiency.

If you or a loved one has been injured or suffered a wrongful death in a rear-end, head-on, "underride" or jackknife truck accident or collision anywhere in the country, please e-mail or call our committed truck auto accident lawyers today. We are focused on obtaining justice for you - the victim. Your call to 1-800-773-6770 will be answered by a lawyer.

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Gordon, Elias & Seely, L.L.P.
1811 Bering Drive, Suite 300
Houston, TX 77057
Toll Free: 1-800-773-6770
Fax: 713-668-1980
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