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What Happens When a Truck Jackknifes?

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What Happens When a Truck Jackknifes?

What Happens When a Truck Jackknifes?Jackknife accidents with 18-wheelers are among the deadliest and the most frightening types of crashes. Trucks that jackknife may roll over. Oftentimes, the truck sprawl causes multi-vehicle accidents as cars do their best to avoid the truck or the cargo the truck spills on the roads. Some unlucky truck drivers crash into the cab or the trailer head-on.

What is a jackknife truck accident?

A jackknife happens when the truck-trailer rotates 90 degrees away from the truck of the cab. Jackknife accidents usually happen when a truck suddenly changes speeds or speeds through a curve too quickly. The trailer wants to keep going straight even though the cab of the truck has stopped or has turned. The trailer then pushes the cab around so that that the cab and trailer are perpendicular to each other.

Icy or slippery roads are a major cause of jackknife truck accidents. Animals running out in the road or cars which cut trucks off or brake suddenly in front of commercial vehicles can also lead to a jackknife.

Potential injuries in a collision with a jackknifed truck

The semi-truck drivers, other drivers, and any passengers can also suffer severe injuries including:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Concussion
  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord damage
  • 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree burns
  • Injuries to internal organs

Other possible damages include nerve, ligament, and muscle damage. Nearly every truck accident victim can suffer cuts and bruises.

To avoid jackknifing, drivers should adjust their speeds and keep a clear distance behind other vehicles, so they don’t have to brake suddenly. Truck drivers should brake gradually instead of slamming on their brakes.

Liability in a crash with a big rig

In addition to the driver, others may also be liable including:

  • The owners of the truck if they are different than the driver
  • A trucking company that pressured the driver to go too fast
  • A trucking company that failed to check if the driver has a current valid commercial driver’s license
  • A trucking company that failed to properly train the driver or monitor the driver – for example, by letting a tired driver keep driving

It may also be possible to sue a liquor establishment that sold alcohol to a visibly drunk driver if the intoxication caused the truck accident.

Delay can hurt your case. The Memphis truck accident lawyers at Bailey & Greer, PLLC need to move fast to inspect the truck that jackknifed and the site of the accident. We need to question the witnesses while their memories are fresh. The sooner the call is made to our truck accident lawyers, the sooner we can fight to hold wrongdoers responsible. Victims and family members of anyone killed by a truck or other vehicle can call us at 901-680-9777 or complete our contact form to make an appointment. Our attorneys see residents of Memphis, Jackson, West Tennessee, and all neighboring areas.


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  • Call 877-819-4414 now or fill out the form above to receive a free confidential consultation.

Bailey & Greer PLLC

Our Locations

Memphis Office:
6256 Poplar Ave
Memphis, TN 38119
Phone: (901) 680-9777
Toll Free: 877-819-4414

Nashville Office:
28 White Bridge Road
Suite 400B
Nashville, TN 37205
(By Appointment Only)

Jackson Office:
2790-A N Highland Ave
Suite 100
Jackson, TN 38305
Phone: 731-423-2789

Text Us901-680-9777