Brake failures are one of the leading causes of truck accidents. When brakes fail, the truck can crash into any vehicles in the front of the truck. The truck driver can lose control of the truck causing the truck to veer off the road, to jackknife, to rollover, or for cargo to spill from the truck. Truck brake failures can cause deaths, catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injuries and spinal damage, broken bones, and other injuries.
Liability when trucks’ brakes fail
When truck accidents occur because the brakes failed completely or failed to slow down, whether it’s a semi, a box truck, a dump truck, or any other type of truck, the key issue is determining who is responsible for any deaths of injuries. Possible defendants include:
- The truck manufacturer. If the brakes were defective at the time of the truck accident and the defects were the cause of the injuries – then the manufacturers, distributors, and sellers of the truck or brake parts can be held strictly liable. Strict liability means it is not necessary to show the maker or other entity was negligent. Experienced truck accident lawyers work with brake professionals who can explain why the brake was defective. Our truck accident attorneys also work with your physicians to verify that the injuries were caused by the truck crash.
- The trucking company. The trucking company that hires the truck driver can be liable for several reasons:
- The company failed to inspect the truck
- The company was aware the brakes weren’t working and failed to remove the truck from operation so that necessary repairs could be made.
- The company loaded an excessive amount of goods onto the truck which affected the ability of the brakes to work because the load was too heavy
- The shipping company that loads the truck. Often, the truck is sent to a company that wants to ship its inventory to another location. That shipping company is the business that usually loads the truck. If the load is excessive, the shipping company may be liable.
- The truck driver. The driver may be responsible to the occupants of any other vehicles in the truck accident if the driver was speeding, taking a turn too fast, or doing any maneuver that would have made it difficult to stop in time.
- A maintenance repair company. If the trucking company or driver took the car into the shop for brake repairs and the repair company failed to perform those repairs or repaired them negligently, the repair company can be held accountable for any deaths or injuries that occur.
One common cause of brake failure is the practice of depowering brakes. This means turning off the power to the front brakes and relying on the rear brakes and shifting maneuvers to stop the truck. Truck companies and drivers employ this practice usually to save money on the increased need to replace the brakes when front brakes operate with full power.
Brake parts should be checked for wear and tear, and replaced whenever needed. They should be maintained in accordance with the brake manufacturer’s specifications. Generally, trucks brakes are regulated so that they can stop within predetermined distances depending on the truck’s size, speed, and other factors.
At Delius & McKenzie, PLLC, our Sevierville truck accident lawyers have been fighting for injury victims and families for more than 20 years. We have obtained numerous substantial verdicts and settlements for our Sevierville, Seymour, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge Tennessee clients. We represent clients in those locations and the surrounding Tennessee areas. To speak with a skilled truck accident attorney, call us at 865-280-3686 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment.