“Jackknifing” occurs when the trailer portion of a tractor-trailer rig folds into the front part of the truck, causing the vehicle to resemble a jack knife or pocket knife. This can occur due to a combination of the braking speed and the truck’s angle during the breaking. It can happen during turning, maneuvering, parking, and other actions with the truck. Jackknifing can happen for larger “big rig” vehicles and for other smaller vehicles towing cargo behind it as well.

Jackknifing accidents can occur because the jackknifing action can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. Also, the awkward angling of the truck during and after a jackknife can cause the truck to block or cross several lanes on a highway. This can sometimes lead to multiple-car pileups and high-speed collisions.

In rare instances, a professional truck driver may sometimes intentionally jackknife their vehicle in order to stop it abruptly. For instance, if the brakes have failed and the road is clear, the truck driver may perform a jackknife maneuver to stop the vehicle.

Who Can be Held Liable for a Jackknifing Accident or Jackknifing Injury?

As mentioned, jackknifing accidents and injuries can be serious due to the potential for a high-speed collision or a multiple car crash. Different parties may be liable for a jackknifing accident, depending on the facts surrounding the incident. For example:

  • The driver of the truck may be found liable if they acted negligently in allowing (or intentionally causing) a jackknife to occur
  • A manufacturer can be held liable for a jackknife accident that was caused by a defect, such as a defective brake mechanism or a defective steering aspect of the truck
  • Another driver or even a pedestrian can be found liable for an accident if they acted in a way that caused a truck to enter into a jackknife condition 

Some jackknife accidents may be attributable to other causes, such as black ice or other slipper road conditions.

Are There any Legal Remedies for a Jackknife Accident?

Like most other vehicle accident claims, a jackknife accident lawsuit typically results in a monetary damages award. This is issued to the victim in order to help them recuperate losses such as hospital bills, automobile damage, and other costs.

Legal consequences may be increased if other factors are present, such as an intent to cause harm (vehicular assault) or if drunk driving was involved. Cases where the accident is attributed to a product malfunction may result in a recall or a class action lawsuit.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Assistance with a Jackknifing Accident Lawsuit?

Jackknife accidents can be serious and can involve severe injuries and widespread property damage. You may need to hire a personal injury attorney in your area if you need legal assistance with a jackknife accident claim. Your attorney can help you with the filing process and can provide legal research for your claim. Also, if you need to appear in court, your lawyer can provide you with legal representation during those times.