Jackknife Accidents

Types of Tractor Trailer Accidents

Jackknifing occurs when the trailer swings to one side toward the truck cab, forming an angle or "V" shape. Jackknife truck accidents develop suddenly and are usually caused by the sudden application of the truck's brakes. A common type of collision involving tractor trailers, a jackknife accident poses a serious risk to nearby motorists, who often do not have time to react to the accident or are incapable of doing so due to other traffic.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a jackknife accident, fill out our FREE case review form. Our lawyers will evaluate your case, at no cost to you, to determine if you are eligible to collect financial compensation.

Causes of Jackknife Accidents

Jackknife accidents occur when a tractor trailer's drive wheels lock as the vehicle nears a slippery spot. The trailer continues forward, causing the truck driver to lose control of the vehicle as the trailer swings out to one side. During this situation, the truck driver has three braking options, as explained below.

  • The truck driver can lock the steering axle brakes, causing the rig to continue forward regardless of wheel angle.
  • The truck driver can lock the drive axles.
  • The driver can lock the trailer axles, and give up directional control of the vehicle.

At Block O'Toole & Murphy, our accident lawyers understand that the driver's actions at this moment have a great effect on the outcome. Locking the steering axles provides the most desirable outcome; while the driver will lose their ability to steer, the truck and trailer will travel a straight path. Locking the drive axles is the least desirable action, as this commonly results in jackknifing. When the driver locks the drive axles, they may be held accountable if another motorist is injured because of their action.

Aside from sudden braking, jackknife accidents can also be caused by downshifting, engine retarders, brake failure, taking a curve too quickly or accelerating on a low friction surface.

New York Jackknife Accident Lawyers

Our lawyers have learned that most jackknife accidents can be avoided by prudent braking. Truckers can prevent jackknifing by keeping a safe following distance, avoiding deceleration at turns or bends and steadily applying pressure to the brakes over the longest distance possible. Because truckers are generally informed about the possibility of jackknifing and the steps to take to avoid an emergency situation, they may be held accountable when a negligent or careless action leads to a crash.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a jackknife accident, we may be able to recover compensation on your behalf by proving that the truck driver's negligence directly led to the crash. To speak with us today about your claim, fill out our FREE case review form by clicking the link below.

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