Tackling the Threat of Jackknife Accidents Involving 18-Wheelers

by | Jan 3, 2023 | Auto Accident, Firm News

Jackknife accidents, where a large truck such as an 18-wheeler folds at the articulation point between the cab and the trailer, are highly dangerous events on our roads. These accidents can lead to multi-vehicle pile-ups, significant property damage, and severe or fatal injuries. This article delves into the causes of jackknife accidents, the serious risks they pose, and the legal avenues available for victims of such crashes.

Causes of Jackknife Accidents

Jackknife accidents primarily occur due to loss of traction on the road surface, which can be triggered by several factors including sudden braking, slippery road conditions due to weather, improper braking techniques, or mechanical failures. When a driver brakes suddenly and forcefully, the wheels of the trailer can lock while the cab continues to move forward, causing the trailer to swing out and form an acute angle with the cab. Other contributing factors can include speeding, which reduces a driver’s reaction time and increases braking distance, and incorrect loading of cargo, which can affect the vehicle’s stability and handling.

Consequences of Jackknife Accidents

The sudden and unexpected nature of jackknife accidents can lead to catastrophic outcomes. When a truck jackknifes, it can sprawl across multiple lanes, striking other vehicles with deadly force or creating barriers that lead to additional collisions. Drivers and passengers in nearby vehicles are at high risk of injury due to collisions with the truck itself or as a result of secondary accidents caused by trying to avoid the jackknifed truck. Common injuries in such accidents include traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, fractures, and lacerations, along with the psychological impact of being involved in such a traumatic event.

Legal Considerations for Jackknife Accident Victims

For victims of jackknife accidents, navigating the aftermath involves complex legal considerations, as these incidents often raise questions about negligence and liability. Determining fault in a jackknife accident can be complicated and typically requires thorough investigation. Key aspects include assessing the truck driver’s actions leading up to the accident, the condition of the truck, compliance with traffic laws, and adherence to safety protocols by the trucking company. It is also crucial to examine whether any external factors such as road conditions or the actions of other drivers contributed to the accident.

Victims should seek the guidance of a personal injury attorney experienced in truck accident cases to ensure a comprehensive evaluation of the incident and to advocate on their behalf. An attorney can help secure vital evidence, represent the victim’s interests in negotiations with insurance companies, and pursue fair compensation through litigation if necessary. Compensation might cover medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages incurred due to the accident.


Jackknife accidents involving 18-wheelers are among the most hazardous events on the highways, presenting significant dangers to all road users. Preventing these accidents requires diligent driving, adherence to safety protocols, and proper vehicle maintenance. For those affected, legal recourse provides a pathway to recovery and financial support. Engaging a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer is crucial for navigating the complex legal landscape and ensuring that victims receive the compensation and justice they deserve.

Spagnoletti Law Firm has attorneys licensed in Texas, Florida, New Mexico and New York.  We have handled numerous cases involving catastrophic auto and bus accidents in both federal and state court across the country.  Our attorneys have extensive experience and the skills needed to aggressively represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives or been seriously injured in a trucking or commercial vehicle accident.

The experienced accident attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm have previously been involved in similar cases and can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was involved in an accident. Please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or to learn more about your legal rights.