What If a Truck’s Brakes Fail and Cause an Accident?

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Since trucks are so large and dangerous, everything must go right when the driver is behind the wheel. Not only must the truck driver brake at the exact right time, but the brakes must work as well. If there is anything wrong with the brakes, the truck driver may rear-end or broadside other cars.

When a truck’s brakes fail, you may be eligible for financial compensation from one or more sources. Call our experienced Aiken truck accident lawyers at The Law Office of Taylor S. Braithwaite to schedule a free initial consultation.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports on the causes of large truck crashes. In a recent report, they found that brake issues contributed to nearly one in every three truck crashes.

Brake Problems Are Found in Many Truck Inspections

Government inspectors often flag brake problems as a reason when they order a truck off the road. In recent years, the FMCSA has set aside one week to focus on surprise inspections focusing on brakes. In one recent inspection sweep, the government found that 12% of the trucks inspected had problems with their brakes. These trucks are ticking time bombs, putting the lives of everyone else on the road at risk.

The government only inspects a fraction of the nation’s trucks. They do not have the necessary manpower, nor would the powerful industry tolerate it.

Truck Accidents Caused by Brake Failures

Truck brake failure can cause the following types of accidents:

  • Rear-end crashes
  • Head-on accidents
  • Rollover accidents
  • Jackknife accidents

The truck’s brakes may be the most critical part on the truck. If a driver cannot slow down, the accident will occur at a higher speed. It takes one-tenth of a mile for a truck traveling at 55 miles per hour to come to a complete stop. The driver’s ability to avoid trouble can come down to a split second. The driver must be sharp, and the brakes must be in perfect condition.

Trucking Companies Often Neglect Maintenance Issues in the Name of Profits

However, the trucking company often tries to cut corners in any way that they can to make money. Maintenance issues cost them money in a number of ways. The truck will have two brakes on each axle, and they are expensive to replace. In addition, maintenance time is idle time. When the trucking company has customers to satisfy, the last thing it wants is to take trucks off the road.

The truck driver themselves may have done everything possible to avoid the accident, However, their efforts may be in vain because the brakes never would have allowed them to stop.

The Causes of Truck Brake Failure

A truck’s brakes fail for a number of reasons, including:

  • Lack of maintenance on the truck that would have uncovered or revealed wear and tear or other mechanical issues
  • Improper maintenance, where the mechanic does not take the proper steps to fix the problem
  • Oil contamination, when oil gets on the brakes and keeps them from properly working
  • Lack of driver training to notice signs of brake failure and handle any issues that arise
  • Defective brakes that never worked properly in the first place or were more likely to fail

The driver has a particularly critical role in preventing brake failure. They are the one who will visually inspect the truck before it goes out on the road. They will also notice that the truck is taking longer to stop than it should. However, the driver may be under pressure from the truck company, which is insistent that they make the delivery on time.

The Trucking Company Is the Most Common Defendant in Brake Failure Lawsuits

The trucking company does not get to escape blame in every brake failure case. There are times when the brakes may have failed due to improper maintenance. The trucking company must only put roadworthy vehicles on the road. If an inspection reveals problems with the brakes, the truck company must take the truck out of commission until they are fixed. However, trucking companies often cut corners to boost profits. Taking a truck out of service means that it is not earning revenue for the trucking company.

Other Defendants in Brake Failure Lawsuits

Some trucking companies (especially smaller ones) will outsource maintenance to a third party.

Then, you could sue that third party if improper maintenance caused the accident. You may also be able to file a claim against the trucking company for negligent hiring and retention.

There are rare cases when the brakes themselves are the cause of the accident. Then, you can file a product liability case. Defendants would be anyone in the “stream of commerce,” including the manufacturer, the truck’s seller, and the part’s wholesaler.

You would need to prove one of the following defects:

  • Manufacturing defects
  • Design defects
  • Marketing defects

You can also win a product liability case by proving negligence.

With so many potential causes of a truck accident, you need an attorney to investigate the cause. A lawyer will learn who may be to blame for the crash and help you take action against any possible defendant. There could be multiple responsible parties.

You need to identify responsible parties and prove that they were to blame. Your attorney could file a claim or lawsuit against everyone who is responsible and determine who pays what towards your settlement. Attorney Taylor Braithwaite can go up against each party who bears some of the blame.

Contact a Truck Brake Failure Attorney in South Carolina Today

If you or a loved one have been injured in any type of truck accident, you may be in line for significant financial compensation. The insurance company will try to do everything in its power to stand in your way, so you need a personal injury attorney to move barriers out of your way. Reach out to TSB Injury Law for a free initial consultation about a truck accident case involving brake failure.

You can send us a message online, you can call us today at (803) 220-0000. We get nothing unless you recover financially.


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