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What Does It Mean for a Truck To Jackknife?

Highways and roadways see motor vehicle accidents daily. While some are minor, others leave lasting physical and emotional scars. 

Accidents involving semi-trucks can be especially hazardous. The National Safety Council estimates that large trucks caused 117,300 injury crashes in 2021. 

When we think of truck accidents, a frightening term surfaces: “jackknifing.” A personal injury attorney can help you recover compensation after a jackknife accident.

What is “Jackknifing”?

The term “jackknifing” is not just trucker jargon. Instead, it denotes a specific type of truck accident in which the trailer swings out to the side, folding against the cab and creating a sharp angle. 

In these frightening moments, a truck driver feels the trailer move the truck cab. The incident destabilizes the truck and can send the trailer into nearby traffic. Federal data shows just how many of these accidents occurred in 2020.

Factors Leading to Jackknife Accidents in Jacksonville, FL

Jackknifing does not occur spontaneously on Florida’s highways and roadways. Various factors, often in tandem, can contribute to a jackknifing event. 

These factors include:

Hard Braking

Hard braking is the main cause of jackknifing. Braking on uneven roadways may cause trailer wheels to lock while the cab’s wheels stay mobile. A mismatch in momentum can cause the trailer to swing sideways into nearby traffic.

Unfavorable Road Conditions

Wet, icy, or slippery roads cause a truck’s wheels to lose grip. When wheels lose traction with the roadway, opportunities for jackknifing increase.

Mechanical Malfunctions

Issues affecting brakes can disrupt a driver’s control over their truck. This can be mitigated with routine maintenance, but not all issues are detectable. 

A trailer that is loaded unevenly or excessively can destabilize quickly. This can occur when a truck suddenly moves or brakes. When this happens, the trailer may jackknife.


A truck moving at high velocities faces reduced reaction time. A truck’s immense momentum can spell disaster and increase the risk of jackknifing. 

The Fallout of a Jackknife Accident in Jacksonville, FL

The consequences of a truck jackknifing in Jacksonville, Florida, are often significant. A Jacksonville truck accident lawyer can help you recover compensation for:

Massive Destruction: Trucks can unleash chaos on highways. They are large in size and weight. A jackknifed truck can cause multi-vehicle crashes, obstructing numerous traffic lanes. A truck’s size can cause serious injuries to people and property damage.

Life-Altering Injuries: Injuries from a jackknifing accident can be devastating. Drivers and passengers often face broken bones and deep cuts. Some even experience traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, or death. It can take weeks or months to recover. Some injuries are even permanent.

Economic and Non-Economic Damages: Medical bills are just the tip of the iceberg. Many victims face the financial burden of vehicle repairs, therapy costs, and lost current and future wages. They may also face pain and suffering and diminished quality of life.

Victims of jackknifing accidents often want to recover from the fallout. A skilled truck accident attorney has experience representing victims and helping them recover the compensation they deserve. 

An attorney can help victims in several pivotal ways, including:

  • Pinpointing Liability: Determining fault is crucial. Recovering compensation for your injuries may require evaluating the driver’s negligence, maintenance records, and road or weather conditions to determine the responsible parties.
  • Evaluating Damages: A holistic view of damages is not limited to immediate medical expenses. Experienced attorneys can evaluate future medical expenses, lost wages, and intangible losses like pain and suffering.
  • Negotiation & Litigation: An attorney can be your most invaluable ally. Attorneys can deal with insurance companies on your behalf and negotiate settlements. If negotiations falter, they can represent you or your loved one in the courtroom.

Jackknifing is more than a simple accident – it is often an alarming event with cascading consequences. As you or your loved ones grapple with the aftermath, a Jacksonville truck accident attorney can evaluate your accident and help you receive the justice and compensation you deserve so you can get back to rebuilding your life.

Contact the Jacksonville Truck Accident Law Firm of Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers Today For Help

For more information, please contact the Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra truck accident law firm of Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We serve Duval County, St. Johns County, and its surrounding areas:

Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Jacksonville
9471 Baymeadows Rd #105,
Jacksonville, FL 32256
(904) 396-1100

Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Downtown Jacksonville
121 W. Forsyth St. #170,
Jacksonville, FL 32202
(904) 822-4225

Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Ponte Vedra
480 Town Plaza Ave #130,
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32081
(904) 675-1167

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