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What Happens When a Semi-Truck Jackknifes?

With many thousands of big rigs on the road today, it’s perhaps no wonder that we see over 100,000 accidents involving tractor-trailers every year. These accidents tend to be catastrophic in nature do to the size, weight, and momentum of the vehicles involved and can result in millions of dollars in damages, including injury and death.

One of the biggest dangers of tractor-trailers on the road involves jackknifing. Learn about jackknife accidents, and whether or not you can file a lawsuit against a semi-truck when you suffer an injury in this kind of incident.


Tractor trailers are classified as articulated vehicles, which means that they’re comprised of multiple sections, each of which is linked by a joint which allows the vehicle to be more flexible. If you’ve seen a big rig turn a corner you understand how this works—rather than the entire vehicle turning at once, the semi cab will turn first, followed by the trailer.

When something causes the driver to lose control, the trailer can swing wildly, folding up against the cab like a pocket or jack knife, hence the term “jackknife accident.”


There are a number of circumstances that can cause a semi-truck to jackknife. These can include inclement weather such as high winds, poor road conditions due to ice, snow, rain or oil slicks, failure of a truck’s coupling device, cargo that’s not loaded or secured right, or driver error such as poor braking or over-steering the vehicle.


When any truck accident occurs due to the negligence of the driver, or due to any other circumstance that isn’t your fault, you may have cause to file a lawsuit to collect compensation for your injuries. You may be entitled not just to having your medical bills covered, but collect lost wages and compensation, future potential earnings, pain and suffering, emotional damages, loss of relationships and comfort and a range of other damages for harm.

It’s important, however, to take the right steps to file and pursue your suit. The first step is to determine who is negligent. The driver may share some of the responsibility, but other parties could also share blame. The trucking company might be responsible for the acts of their driver. The manufacturer of the coupling could be at fault if the part is defective. The loading company could share blame if they failed to secure the load properly. These are just a few examples of the blame that could be shared.


All of the above are the reasons it’s important to hire a qualified truck accident attorney. A lawyer knows how to look at the details of your case, and pursue a claim against all the responsible individuals. If you’ve been hurt in a jackknife accident with a semi-truck, turn to the experienced attorneys at Dunnion Law to pursue your lawsuit and seek the compensation you deserve.