Brake Failure

If you've been injured in a truck accident, you might feel confused and overwhelmed. You may not know where to get help for your injuries or how to get paid back for the time you've had to take off work. Even worse, you may not know what caused your accident or who is to blame.

It is possible that your trucking accident was caused by brake failure. In fact, brake failure is one of the most common causes of catastrophic and deadly trucking accidents. The Department of Transportation says nearly 30 percent of all commercial truck accidents involve brake failure. When the brakes fail on an 80,000-pound big rig or semi-truck, the resulting injuries are often horrific and life-changing.

Accidents involving big rig trucks are not only scary but can leave you dealing with a lot of physical pain, confusion about what to do next, and worries about how this will affect your life and your family. It's a tough situation that can feel incredibly isolating, but please know you're not alone.

Our California truck accident injury law firm is here to guide you, offering information to help you decide what to do next. Whether you're dealing with injuries, worried about money because you can't work, or just want to make things right, we can help.

Who is Responsible for Truck Brake Failure?

Commercial trucks are massive vehicles that, due to their size and weight, rely heavily on their braking systems to stop safely. When these brakes fail, the results can be catastrophic. Unfortunately, when brake failures occur, it can be difficult to determine who is ultimately responsible for the failure.

Did the truck driver use the brakes improperly? Were icy or slick roads to blame for the brakes locking up? Were the brake pads or anti-lock brake system defective? Or did the trucking company simply fail to inspect and properly maintain the brakes?

In order to establish who is at fault for your accident—and your injuries, your California trucking accident attorney will need to investigate your accident closely to uncover the answers to those questions. Your legal team will need to scrutinize various elements, such as maintenance records, driver actions, and the conditions of the brakes themselves.

Your truck injury accident legal team will investigate the truck's maintenance history. Proper maintenance is crucial for the safety of commercial trucks, and failure to adhere to maintenance schedules can lead to brake failure. If it's found that the trucking company neglected its duty to maintain the vehicle, it could be held liable for the accident.

During the investigation, your attorney will also consider the truck driver's actions. Drivers must conduct pre-trip inspections, including checking the truck's braking system. The driver could share the blame for the accident if these checks were skipped or inaccuracies were reported.

Additionally, your big rig accident attorney will examine the manufacturing and design of the truck's brakes. In some cases, the brakes may have had defects, leading to failure. If this is the case, the manufacturer of the brakes or the truck could be held accountable.

Most Common Reasons for Truck Brake Failure

There are many ways brake failure can cause a trucking accident, including:

  • Manufacturer did not design brakes properly
  • Brakes are defective from the manufacturing process
  • Trucking companies depowering front brakes
  • Improper brake settings
  • Failure to maintain brakes
  • Improper loading
  • Defective tires
  • Failure to maintain or change tires routinely
  • Using tires that fail to meet the minimum DOT tread depth requirement
  • Mounting mismatched or different brands of tires
  • Mixing bias and radial tires on the same axel (this would also be mismatched?)
  • Failure to perform brake or tire inspections
  • Faulty or worn brake pads

Trucking companies looking to reduce tire replacement costs and brake wear may deliberately depower the front brakes. They then encourage or rely upon truck drivers to downshift to stop the vehicle using the brakes on the trailer—a dangerous and negligent practice that should be eradicated.

Truck drivers and trucking companies are also routinely tempted to cut corners on maintenance and repairs—thus increasing the risk of brake failure and deadly trucking accidents. Sometimes, they don’t properly balance the truck’s load, which can cause brakes to overheat and malfunction. 

When brake failure causes your trucking accident, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries and any damages. An experienced trucking accident attorney will investigate all aspects of your accident, obtain the truck's black box, and review all maintenance records to determine if brake failure was the cause of your crash.

Obtaining Compensation After Brake Failure Occurs

If you or someone you love suffered an injury in a commercial trucking accident because of brake failure, we can help. Our San Jose trucking accident lawyers will investigate the accident to establish fault, handle negotiations with insurance companies, accurately value your claim, and represent you in court if necessary.

We will work to overcome common obstacles such as proving liability, dealing with insurance company tactics to minimize payouts, navigating complex trucking regulations, and adhering to strict filing deadlines. The goal is to ensure you receive fair compensation for all your current and future losses, allowing you to focus on your recovery.

Truck Accidents and Brake Failure FAQs

What causes brake failure in trucks?

Brake failure in trucks can be caused by several factors, including improper maintenance, overuse and overheating, manufacturing defects, and not adhering to the proper loading practices. Regular inspections and maintenance are crucial to preventing these issues. 

What should I do immediately after a truck accident?

Ensure your safety and that of others, then call emergency services. If possible, take photos of the accident scene, gather contact information from witnesses, and avoid discussing fault at the scene. Seek medical attention even if you feel fine, as some injuries might not be immediately apparent.

How do I know if brake failure caused the accident?

Determining brake failure as the cause of a commercial trucking accident often requires an investigation. They will examine the truck's maintenance records, inspect the brake system, and analyze accident scene evidence. Legal professionals can help in hiring the right experts to establish this.

Can I receive compensation if I'm injured in a truck accident caused by brake failure?

Yes, if another person’s actions caused your accident and injuries, you can seek compensation. This includes brake failure, brake defects, and improper use of brakes in an accident. Your compensation should be enough to cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. An experienced San Jose trucking accident lawyer can advise on your eligibility.

Who can be held responsible for a truck accident due to brake failure?

Several parties might be liable, including the truck driver, trucking company, maintenance provider, or the brake manufacturer, depending on the cause of the brake failure. A lawyer can help identify all liable parties to ensure you receive full compensation.

How long do I have to file a claim after a truck accident?

In California, the time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit, including claims for injuries sustained in a truck accident, is generally two years from the accident date. This means you have two years from the day the accident occurred to file a lawsuit against the parties you believe are responsible for your injuries.

The statute of limitations for property damage claims, such as damage to your vehicle, is three years from the accident.

It's important to be aware of these deadlines because if you fail to file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations, you may be barred from pursuing compensation for your injuries or damages later. There can be exceptions to these rules under certain circumstances, so it's advisable to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident to ensure your rights are fully protected.

What can I do to strengthen my truck accident case?

Keep detailed records of everything related to the accident and your injuries, including medical reports, expenses, and any correspondence with insurance companies. Also, document your recovery process and how the injury affects your daily life.

Should I talk to the insurance company after the accident?

While you should report the accident to your insurance company, be cautious when speaking with the other party's insurer. They may try to minimize your claim. Consider consulting a lawyer before giving a detailed statement or accepting any settlement offers.

Schedule a Free Consultation Today

If you or someone you love has been injured in a commercial trucking accident due to improper maintenance, contact the trucking accident lawyers at Cerri, Boskovich & Allard at (408) 289-1417.

The trucking accident lawyers at Cerri, Boskovich & Allard have successfully handled truck accident cases throughout Northern California, including accidents on Highways 1, 5, 17, 33, 101, 152, 580, and 680.

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