Who Is at Fault in an Oklahoma Jackknife Truck Accident?

Truck jackknifing can cause serious injuries and extensive property damage. You might wonder: In an Oklahoma jackknife accident, who is liable for the damages? And what makes jackknife accidents so dangerous?

Below, we describe the dangers of a jackknife accident as well as the regulations in place to prevent serious trucking accidents and how to determine fault.

What Is a Jackknife Accident?

Jackknifing is when the truck cab and trailer or load swing toward each other, usually as the result of a skid. These accidents are particularly dangerous, as the angle of the trailer often forces it into other lanes, presenting a risk for other drivers on the road.

Jackknifing trucks are at higher risk for flipping over, rolling, and spilling potentially dangerous cargo onto the roadway, including chemicals, heavy equipment, and foodstuffs.

Federal Truck Driving Regulations

Truckers must follow regulations by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Regulations include certification, licensing, hours of service (HOS), and how to load cargo safely. Some regulations that drivers must follow include the following. Drivers must:

  • Be 18 years of age to drive in Oklahoma and 21 years old to cross state lines
  • Have a valid commercial driver’s license
  • Speak, read, and write English well enough to read road signs, communicate with others, and write driving logs
  • Limit working days to 14 hours on the road, only 11 of which include driving
  • Spend ten hours resting after a 14-hour day before getting on the road again
  • Take a 30-minute break after eight hours of driving
  • Report all accidents to the appropriate authorities and trucking company
  • Perform standard maintenance on the truck
  • Never driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Trucking companies must also adhere to strict regulations, including background screening of all new hires, ensuring securement of loads, adhering to HOS restrictions, and ensuring that drivers do not drive overloaded.

Common Causes of Jackknife Accidents

Jackknife accidents usually happen as the result of a skid when the driver loses control of the truck. Common causes include:

  • Speeding, especially during inclement weather
  • Distracted driving
  • A defective truck part causing the controls to fail
  • Turning too quickly
  • Improperly loaded cargo
  • Tailgating
  • Failing to change lanes safely
  • Debris, ice, or water on the road causing the tires to lose traction

Determining Fault in a Jackknife Truck Accident

There are several parties who could be liable for a jackknifing accident.

  1. The driver could be liable if they were driving under the influence or while texting. The driver may also be liable if they are an independent contractor rather than an employee of the trucking company.
  2. The trucking company could be liable if they frequently pressure drivers to violate HOS or drive heavy. If a sleep-deprived driver causes an accident because their trucking company regularly overworks their drivers, the trucking company would likely be liable.
  3. If a defective part led to the accident, the manufacturer could be liable for damages due to injuries and property damage the accident caused.

To know whom to seek compensation from after a jackknife accident, consult an experienced trucking accident attorney near you. Your injury lawyer can help you reconstruct the events of the accident to determine the liable party.

Contact The Law Offices of Bryan Garrett, PLLC., for a Truck Jackknifing Accident in Oklahoma

If you were involved in an Oklahoma jackknifing accident and want to know who is liable, contact us today at The Law Offices of Bryan Garrett, PLLC., to schedule a free initial consultation.

Bryan Garrett PLLC

Bryan Garrett has been dedicated to personal injury law for over 15 years in Oklahoma City. He has achieved excellent results for countless clients, whether through settlement or litigation.

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