Truck Brake Failure Accident

Truck Brake Failures Can Cause Serious Injuries

When a semi-truck’s brakes fail on the road, it could lead to catastrophic consequences. The truck could strike your car at full speed, causing potentially severe truck accident injuries. If you have been hurt in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation when the trucking company, or someone else, was to blame for the accident. Our truck accident lawyer at Case Barnett Law can fight for your rights during the legal process, as we have for countless other clients. We take the obligations that we owe you as our client seriously. 

How Truck Brake Failures Happen

Trucks are extremely large and technologically advanced vehicles. Everything needs to go right for the truck to reach its destination safely. When fully loaded, trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Accordingly, it could take up to 500 feet for a truck traveling at 55 miles per hour to come to a complete stop. A loaded tractor-trailer requires 20 to 40% more space to stop than a passenger vehicle. 

Even if the driver is vigilant and doing their job properly, the truck itself could be the cause of the accident. The brakes could not be in proper working order. Accordingly, when the truck driver goes to apply the brakes, the truck may not be able to stop in time to avoid an accident. 

Trucking companies have a legal obligation to only put roadworthy vehicles on the road. They must inspect their trucks periodically and make the necessary repairs. However, replacing brakes on a semi-truck can be pricey. Not only does the trucking company not want to incur that expense, but they may also want to keep the truck on the road making deliveries. Trucking companies may not do the necessary maintenance work when it is necessary. 

You may not even need to prove that the brakes failed to win your truck accident lawsuit, but it would certainly help your case. The truck’s brake failure could have caused the tractor-trailer to rear-end your car. The mere fact that a rear-end car crash happened creates a presumption of fault. However, knowing the exact cause of the accident could put you in a stronger legal position when it comes time to negotiate a settlement or litigate your case. If the insurance and trucking companies know that you understand the exact extent of their negligence, they could be less inclined to battle you. 

What to Do After a Truck Accident

Your responsibilities after a truck accident caused by brake failure begin with your own health. Seek medical care and follow up on every doctor's recommendation. Time is critical to your truck accident recovery and legal case. If too much time passes, it could impair your ability to make a full recovery and cause the insurance company to accuse you of failing to mitigate your damages.

You should also contact an experienced truck accident lawyer immediately if it is at all possible. There are far more sources of evidence in a truck accident case. Here, because the brakes are at issue, the trucking company may somehow fail to preserve the physical evidence that you need in your case. A truck accident lawyer could immediately direct the trucking company to preserve relevant evidence with an eye toward your eventual litigation

Potential Defendants in a Semi-Truck Brake Accident Lawsuit

Numerous parties may be liable for a semi-truck accident involving brake failure. Your lawyer would need to conduct a complete investigation to determine who is to blame and who you may be able to sue. Even though there may be a government investigation, your attorney would still need to conduct their own inquiry with an eye toward building your own legal case. 

The most obvious defendant is the trucking company. Under federal trucking regulations, they have a legal obligation only to put roadworthy vehicles onto the highway. They must also properly inspect and maintain the trucks, and they could be liable if the accident resulted from their own negligence. Unfortunately, trucking companies have also been known to cut corners in the name of profits. 

Some trucking companies are small and do not have their own maintenance personnel. If the trucking company outsourced maintenance and repair to a third party, you may also be able to sue them (in addition to potentially suing the trucking company for negligent hiring and retention).

If the brakes were defective, you could sue the manufacturer of the truck or the brakes themselves in a product liability lawsuit. Anyone who was involved in the “stream of commerce” that resulted in the truck being sold to the trucking company could be liable to you for damages. First, you would need to prove that there was a defect in the brakes, which usually stems from their design or manufacturing. 

Compensation in a Semi Truck Brake Failure Case

You could be entitled to substantial financial damages in a semi-truck brake accident case. Federal regulations require trucking companies to carry at least $750,000 in insurance coverage, and the average policy is far larger than that because trucking companies want to stay in business. 

Your truck accident lawyer could consult expert witnesses to determine your potential compensation amount. The trucking company would be required to compensate you for both the actual financial losses and the ordeal associated with your injuries. 

Your truck accident damages could include the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Scarring and disfigurement

If your lawyer’s investigation revealed that the trucking company cut corners and consciously violated federal regulations, the jury may even hit the trucking company with punitive damages. These damages can greatly increase the size of your award. 

If a loved one died in a truck accident caused by brake failure, your family can file a wrongful death lawsuit to be compensated for your own losses.