Who Is to Blame for a Trucking Accident Caused by Defective Brakes?
Defective brakes account for 29.4% of commercial large truck collisions, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT). Issues such as poorly aligned brakes, brake failure, worn brakes and brake defects can all contribute to crashes. Even if you are relatively certain brake issues caused your trucking collision, finding the right liable parties and pursuing them successfully in court or in a settlement can be a challenge.
When brake failures cause trucking collisions, there are multiple possible liable parties, including:
- The driver: If the driver failed to properly maintain brakes or failed to report issues with the brakes, they may be held liable. They may also be held liable if they did not brake correctly. In addition, some drivers depower the front brakes in order to reduce maintenance costs. When drivers rely only on the rear brakes, they can cause a trucking accident and may be held liable.
- The loaders: The company who loads the truck may be held liable if they exceeded maximum loading amounts, overweighting the truck and causing brake failure by exceeding safe weight limits.
- The individuals responsible for maintaining brakes: Sometimes truck carriers will hire a maintenance crew or will take their trucks to a service for brake maintenance. These parties can be held liable if they did not correctly maintain the brakes. However, quite often, it is the owner-operator or driver who is responsible for maintenance.
- The brake manufacturer: In some cases involving a trucking accident, defective brakes are caused by manufacturing or design flaws. Brake manufacturers are also legally obligated to meet federal safety guidelines when it comes to truck brakes. If they fail to achieve these minimum standards or fail to produce safe products, brake manufacturers may be held liable.
Determining what caused the brake failure and truck crash in your case usually involves careful examination of the brakes, expert testimony from engineers, careful reviews of maintenance records and other investigations. If you would like to file a claim after your trucking collision, contact KBG Injury Law for a free consultation.