Attorneys at Our Firm

Jackknife Accidents

A jackknife truck accident most commonly occurs when the trucker brakes suddenly, and the back end of the trailer begins to swing or slide to the side and skid forward, toward the tractor. When a trailer begins to jackknife, it creates an extremely dangerous and hazardous situation for other vehicles on the roadway as well as the truck operator. A jackknifing truck can collide with or sideswipe other vehicles and can cause the entire tractor-trailer unit to rollover. Simply put, a jackknifing trailer can cause deadly accidents. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a jackknife trucking accident, you will need an experienced Alabama truck accident attorney to evaluate your case. The attorneys at Hollis Wright have years of experience handling tractor-trailer accidents that involve jackknifing.


Typically, jackknife accidents occur due to a tractor’s wheels locking up while braking too hard and too fast. Generally, the application of the brakes that causes a jackknifing event is the result of the operator trying to avoid a collision up ahead. However, the event can also be caused simply by braking too hard on a road that is wet or slick. Regardless of why the trailer jackknifes, the event is almost always avoidable and the result of operator error and/or negligence. If the tractor-trailer jackknifes due to the driver applying the brakes to avoid a vehicle or automobile up ahead, then this likely means that the driver was following the vehicles too closely and should have maintained a greater distance. It could also mean that the driver of the truck was going too fast for the conditions of the road and should have been traveling at a lower rate of the speed.

A jackknife truck accident or event may also be caused or contributed to by faulty or poorly maintained brakes. It is incumbent on every truck driver and owner of a unit to routinely inspect the brakes on the tractor-trailer and to make sure that the brakes are functioning properly. If brakes are not properly maintained, then they will deteriorate which will in turn result in greater distances to slow or stop the unit. This is an extremely dangerous occurrence and can lead to a jackknifing event. Pursuant to federal law and trucking regulations, brakes have to be maintained, inspected and repaired at various points in time and any commercial truck driver is required to be in compliance with these standards and regulations.


Through many years of experience and having handled many cases involving trucks that jackknifed and caused an accident, our attorneys have a firm understanding of how these types of accidents can be avoided. The vast majority of the time, tractor-trailer operators can prevent jackknifing by:

  • It is imperative that operators of these trucks maintain a safe driving distance from the vehicles in front of them and adjust the distance based upon weather conditions.
  • If the truck skids, the operator should let off the brakes and steer into the skid, which will help prevent jackknifing.
  • The operator should try and avoid braking and swerving to avoid a vehicle or object simultaneously.
  • When braking, try and spread the braking event over the longest distance possible

Our legal team at Hollis Wright is highly experienced in the science of accident investigation and reconstruction as well as determining the responsible parties. We have been involved in many cases that require significant and detailed forensic analysis. Oftentimes, it is necessary to retain an accident reconstruction expert to examine the vehicles and trucks involved in a motor vehicle accident to determine who is liable. We have access to some of the best experts in the country who can conduct a full scale investigation and reconstruction of these types of accidents.

If you or a loved were injured or killed in a trucking accident, don’t wait, contact an experienced attorney at Hollis Wright today for a free consultation. If you retain an attorney at our firm, your case will be handled on a contingency fee basis which means you don’t pay a fee unless we obtain a monetary award or settlement on your behalf.

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