Tractor-trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds fully loaded. Even under the best conditions, trucks are difficult to bring to a stop. It can take up to 500 feet for a truck traveling at 55 miles per hour to come to a complete stop.
The truck needs every part in working order and the full competence of the driver to remain safe on the road. The slightest failure, either of the equipment or from the driver, can cause serious injury to other drivers and their passengers.
One common cause of truck accidents is when the brakes fail. Truck brakes are complex systems critical to a truck’s operation. However, the brakes do not always work as intended. If you or a loved one have suffered an injury in a truck accident involving brake failure, call us at Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys today.
Common Causes of Truck Brake Failure
There are a number of reasons why a truck’s brakes may fail, including:
- Lack of maintenance on the brakes (some truck brake pads may need to be replaced after as little as 25,000 miles)
- Lack of training for the driver on how to properly use the brakes
- Contamination or oil that gets on the brakes
- Manufacturing-related defects in the brakes itself
Trucking Companies Have Extensive Maintenance Obligations
The trucking company has a legal obligation to put road-worthy trucks on the road. They must make reasonable efforts to inspect their trucks and pull vehicles off the road that have mechanical issues. Federal regulations require frequent inspection of the trucks, both pre and post-trip. Trucking companies must spend on maintaining their trucks, but many try to cut corners.
The first line of defense is the truck driver. They are required to visually inspect the vehicle before they head out onto the road. The driver will know whether the brakes are not working as intended, and they should report it and not drive if they are concerned about the brakes. However, truck drivers are often pressured by the trucking company to reach their destination on time, and reporting maintenance issues is not always looked upon favorably.
The most common type of accident when the truck cannot brake in time is a rear-end crash. Given the truck’s size and the amount of force it unleashes, rear-end truck accidents can cause severe head and neck injuries. Truck brake failures can also cause rollover accidents because the truck driver loses control when they cannot slow down the vehicle.
Potentially Responsible Parties When the Truck’s Brakes Fail
There are several parties that you can sue if you suffered an injury in a truck accident when the brakes were not working, including:
- The trucking company for not upholding its legal obligation to act reasonably under the circumstances
- Any third-party company to whom the trucking company entrusted the maintenance of the truck (although this does not get the trucking company out of potential liability because they are required to hire any contractors properly)
- The company that made the defective brake and the truck’s manufacturer in a product liability lawsuit (but product liability lawsuits in truck accidents are relatively rare)
Your Lawyer Will Help You Determine Who May Have Been Responsible
Most often, it will be the trucking company that must pay you financial compensation because they are the ones responsible for your injuries. However, there may be several potential defendants who are to blame for the accident.
Your truck accident lawyer will investigate your accident and help you determine who you may sue in the accident. You should sue anyone who had a role in your injuries to maximize the potential coverage to pay for your injuries. Your personal injury attorney will undertake a complete investigation of the accident caused by the truck brake failure. In addition, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration may perform its own investigation of the accident.
If you can prove that the trucking company put a vehicle onto the road that was not in roadworthy condition, it may be enough to entitle you to financial compensation. Showing that the trucking company violated a federal regulation is often enough to win your case. Still, you will need to secure a large enough settlement to pay for all your damages or take your case to court.
Regardless of the type of crash, on average, truck accident victims suffer more significant injuries than passenger vehicle drivers due to the size of the truck. Your attorney will work to gather all available evidence that shows that the trucking company was responsible for the accident. The black box data will demonstrate whether the truck can brake and how effective the braking is. However, the trucking company will not easily give up black box data without a fight.
Contact a Wilmington Truck Accident Attorney Today
At Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys, we have experience investigating truck accidents and fighting for our clients to get the compensation they deserve. We know that time is of the essence, and we get to work as soon as you hire us. Our lawyers have a long track record of getting results for our clients.
To schedule your free initial consultation, you can send us a message online or call us at (910) 668-8067.
Truck Accident Case FAQs
What does negligence mean in a truck accident?
Negligence is when one party does not uphold their duty of care because they did not act as a reasonable person would have under the circumstances.
Will my truck accident case go to trial?
Not necessarily. In most cases, you will reach a settlement agreement with the trucking company’s insurance carrier.