Houston Jackknife Accident Lawyer

jacknife accident lawyer

A jackknife accident in Houston can be one of the worst types of 18-wheeler crashes to due to the size and mass of these semi-trucks. These accidents not only bring about significant physical and emotional trauma but also introduce injured parties to complex legal battles for justice and compensation.

One of the critical hurdles in the aftermath of such accidents is dealing with trucking companies, which often show a marked resistance to providing full and fair compensation to the injured party. Their extensive resources and experienced legal teams can make it frustrating and difficult for individuals to seek the justice they deserve.

This is where The Callahan Law Firm steps in. Our experience, resources, and strategic approach to handling big truck accident cases set us apart. We are committed to advocating for the rights of those injured in jackknife accidents, ensuring they receive the compensation they need to rebuild their lives. For help after an accident, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Commercial Truck Accidents In Houston

In Houston, as in the rest of the United States, commercial trucking is governed by a complex set of regulations designed to ensure safety on the roads. These regulations, enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) along with state authorities, cover a wide range of aspects from vehicle maintenance to hours of service to driver qualifications.

Despite these stringent rules, the failure of trucking companies and individuals to adhere to them remains a significant cause of accidents. For instance, inadequate vehicle maintenance can lead to brake failures or tire blowouts, while non-compliance with hours-of-service regulations can result in driver fatigue, all contributing to the risk of accidents.

Jackknife truck accidents in particular stand out due to their potentially catastrophic outcomes.

What is a Jackknife Accident?

A jackknife accident is a specific type of trucking accident that occurs when the trailer of a semi-truck folds at the hinge and swings out to form a sharp angle with the cab, resembling the folding mechanism of a jackknife. Jackknife accidents, though representing a small fraction of total trucking accidents in Texas – 5.5% – are particularly dangerous due to the tendency to involve multiple other vehicles and block roadways.

Due to the size and weight of commercial trucks, a jackknifing semi can sweep across multiple lanes, striking other vehicles with devastating force. This can lead to extensive property damage, serious injuries to passengers and drivers, and, tragically, loss of life.

The unpredictable nature of jackknife accidents makes them particularly dangerous, posing a significant risk not only to the truck driver but also to everyone else on the roadway. Recognizing the causes and understanding the potential outcomes of such incidents is crucial for preventing them and mitigating their impacts.

What Causes Jackknife Accidents?

Jackknife accidents typically occur for a few reasons, including:

  • Sudden Braking: The first scenario happens when a driver applies the brakes too suddenly and forcefully, causing the rear wheels (or axles) of the trailer to lock up. This can result in the trailer skidding and swinging out to form a sharp angle with the truck’s cab.
  • Improper Braking on Slippery Surfaces: The second scenario involves improper braking on slippery surfaces, where the truck’s drive axles lock, but the trailer continues to move forward due to momentum, leading to a jackknife.
  • Cars Cutting Off Trucks: Cars abruptly cutting off trucks is another common cause of jackknife accidents. Due to their size and weight, trucks need more distance to stop than smaller vehicles. When a car quickly moves in front of a truck, it limits the truck driver’s ability to slow down safely. This can force the driver to brake suddenly or swerve, potentially causing the trailer to swing out and jackknife, particularly at high speeds or on slick roads.

In many cases, these types of accidents are preventable, as they often stem from irresponsible driving behaviors. Other negligent practices include using a cell phone while driving and failing to maintain a safe following distance from other vehicles, which might necessitate abrupt stops.

The Trucking Company Often Has a Hand in These Accidents

The trucking company often plays a significant role in jackknife accidents, in addition to the actions of the truck driver alone. Here’s how this can happen:

  • Inadequate Maintenance: Inadequate maintenance of the truck, particularly the braking system, is a prime example of how negligence on the part of the company can directly contribute to these accidents. Failure to regularly inspect and maintain brakes can lead to increased wear and tear, ultimately increasing the likelihood of brake lock-up during crucial moments.
  • Pressuring Drivers and Unrealistic Schedules: This risk is exacerbated by the pressure trucking companies often place on their drivers. Forcing drivers to adhere to unrealistic delivery schedules can lead to speeding and skipping mandatory rest breaks, behaviors that significantly heighten the chance of jackknifing accidents.

After a jackknife accident, consulting with an experienced truck accident lawyer can be instrumental in seeking the justice and compensation the injured party is entitled to. For help, contact The Callahan Law Firm.

Determining Liability in Jackknife Accidents

Determining liability in jackknife accidents can be complicated, but it’s essential to make this determination so you can obtain the compensation you’re entitled to. Several parties may be held liable, including:

Truck Driver

Liability may fall on the driver if their negligence, such as speeding, fatigue, or non-compliance with safety measures, directly led to the accident.

Trucking Company

The company might be responsible for issues like enforcing unrealistic driving schedules, insufficient driver training, or poor maintenance of the truck fleet, contributing to the accident.


If the accident was partly caused by a mechanical failure due to faulty design or defective parts, the manufacturer of the truck or its components could be held liable.

Another Driver on the Road

Sometimes, the actions of another driver, such as cutting off the trucker abruptly, can force the truck into a jackknife situation, making the driver of the car potentially liable.

The Injured Party

In certain scenarios, the injured party could be found partially liable if their actions contributed to the circumstances of the accident.

Thorough investigations are crucial in establishing liability accurately. This process includes examining vehicle maintenance logs, driver activity records, eyewitness testimonies, and analyses of trucking safety and regulations.

Help from an experienced Houston jackknife accident lawyer is invaluable in navigating the complexities of such cases. A skilled lawyer plays a critical role in ensuring that justice is served by identifying all potentially liable parties and building a solid case.

The Importance of Experienced Legal Representation

Understanding the critical role of experienced legal representation in jackknife accident cases is essential due to the intricate nature of these incidents. Here’s a more detailed look into why experienced legal support is essential:

In-depth Understanding of Commercial Trucking Laws

  • Experienced attorneys bring a comprehensive understanding of laws and standards specific to the commercial trucking industry, crucial for building a strong case.
  • They have knowledge of hours of service regulations, vehicle maintenance requirements, and driver qualification standards.

Thorough Investigation Capabilities

  • Investigating the cause of a jackknife accident requires meticulous attention to detail. Experienced lawyers have the resources to conduct thorough investigations, including accident scene reconstruction and analysis of “black box” data.
  • After a truck accident, they work with experts in fields such as mechanical engineering and medical care to provide evidence-based insights into the accident.

Advocacy and Support

  • Beyond legal representation, an experienced lawyer provides emotional support and guidance through what can be a distressing and confusing time.
  • They advocate for their clients’ rights at every step, offering reassurance and clear communication about the progress of the case.

The importance of securing experienced legal representation in jackknife accident cases cannot be overstated. The right attorney not only navigates the legal challenges but also serves as a steadfast advocate and advisor, ensuring that injured parties receive the justice and compensation they deserve.

How The Callahan Law Firm Can Help After a Jackknife Accident Injury

At The Callahan Law Firm, we possess the experience and commitment necessary to navigate the complexities of jackknife accident cases. From conducting immediate, thorough investigations to securing critical evidence like “black box” data and hours of service logs to engaging in tough negotiations with insurance companies, our goal is to ensure injured parties receive maximum compensation.

Should negotiations fall short, our readiness to take legal action in the courtroom demonstrates our dedication to justice. With a successful track record in handling such intricate cases, The Callahan Law Firm stands as a beacon of support, ready to fight for your rights and secure the best possible outcome with personalized and effective legal representation.

Contact The Callahan Law Firm for Legal Support

If you’ve been involved in a jackknife accident in Houston, securing experienced legal representation is crucial to navigate the complex legal landscape and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Our dedicated team is committed to ensuring all injured parties receive comprehensive support and justice. For a free consultation and case evaluation, reach out to Callahan Law Firm at (281) 729-8986 or visit our website to schedule a consultation with our jackknife accident lawyers. Don’t let the aftermath of a truck accident overwhelm you – contact us today to steer your case toward the right outcome.