Proving Fault for a Truck Accident Caused by Brake Failure
Truck accidents can result in devastating injuries. The weight of a truck, especially one with a heavy load, can be lethal when it slams into a car. This is especially true when brakes malfunction. If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident caused by brake failure or malfunction, you may be eligible to recover compensation. However, you first must be able to prove the brakes were defective.
For help, call Jason R. Schultz: 404-474-0804.
How can a truck brake be defective?
First, we need to clarify that trucks use different brakes than passenger cars. Passenger cars use hydraulic brakes while trucks use air brakes. This is because hydraulic lines can spring a leak and make it impossible for an 80,000-pound truck to stop. Hydraulic brakes use oil while air brakes use air. The different brake system can make determining liability more complicated.
When an air brake is defective, it can cause:
- Brake imbalance (can lead to jackknife accidents)
- Brake deficiencies (the brakes still function but they do not slow the truck properly in an emergency)
- Brake fire
- Brake fade (occurs when brakes overheat)
Brake failure can result from defects in the brake itself or from maintenance issues.
How can I prove defective brakes caused a truck accident?
A rear-end or override truck accident is often the result of driver inattention or speeding. However, in some cases, the driver did everything right; the brakes simply failed to work correctly. If this is the case, you may be able to hold various parties liable for your injuries. First, you need to prove that defective brakes caused your accident.
To determine whether defective brakes caused your accident, we work with accident reconstruction experts and vehicle experts to investigate the accident and examine the brake system to determine how and why the accident happened.
Who can be at fault in an accident caused by defective truck brakes?
Various parties can be at fault for a defective brake truck accident.
Manufacturers, Designers, Engineers, or Distributors
If the brake failed due to a defect in the brake itself, you may be able to hold the manufacturer, designer, engineer, or distributor liable. For example, if an air brake designer neglected to ensure that the air brake would function correctly when exposed to high heat, you may be able to hold him/her liable.
If a brake malfunctioned and fell apart because it was missing bolts, you can hold the manufacturer liable.
If the brake malfunctioned because of poor maintenance, you may be able to hold the mechanic or auto shop who was responsible for the truck’s maintenance liable.
The Truck Driver
The driver must perform daily safety inspections. If the driver does not perform these inspections, or does not report and repair defective or worn brakes, the driver can be liable for an accident caused by the defective truck brakes.
However, in this case, the trucking company will be liable because trucking companies are vicariously liable for any of their employees’ actions.
The Trucking Company
The trucking company can be liable for improper maintenance practices. The trucking company can also be liable for improper hiring practices if an adequate background investigation would have revealed a driver’s history of careless driving and inspection habits.
In some cases, more than one party will be liable. For example, if the trucking company knew the mechanic performed shoddy maintenance but put the truck out on the road anyway, both the mechanic and the trucking company might be liable.
Where can I get help with my truck accident case?
A truck accident and its aftermath can be a terrifying experience — one that you should not have to go through alone. The Atlanta truck accident attorneys at the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. can help. We work with experts to reconstruct accidents and identify their causes. We also handle all communication and negotiations with the at-fault party and/or its insurance company so you can focus on your recovery.
Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case: 404-474-0804.