Semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles transport essential materials for production and deliver the products we use every day. These giant, heavy vehicles can be dangerous, especially since they require much more time to slow down or stop in traffic. If a truck experiences sudden brake failure, the chances of a serious accident are high.
At Christensen Law, we’ve seen the devastating aftermath of defective brake accidents in Michigan. Our firm is a recognized leader in truck accident litigation. Our truck accident lawyers recovered the largest personal injury verdict in the state for a truck accident victim — $17.8 million for a woman who could no longer live independently after being hit by a cement truck in Wayne County.
Serving Michigan from four locations, including Ann Arbor, Christensen Law can listen to your needs and protect your best interests. Call or contact us today for a free consultation with a knowledgeable Ann Arbor truck accident lawyer.
What is Truck Brake Failure?
Truck brake failure happens when a truck’s braking systems fail to perform as intended during operation. These failures could result from poor maintenance or when a badly designed or defective part fails under pressure.
Truck brake failure can lead to terrible accidents for everyone on the road. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, brake failures are among to Top 10 factors that contribute to crashes, causing nearly 30 percent of truck accidents. Brake failures can happen at any time, but especially when truck drivers need stopping power the most.
Common Causes of Defective Brakes Problems in Trucks
Truck accidents resulting from defective brakes can strike out of the blue, taking both the trucker and nearby motorists by surprise. But the truth is that manufacturers and trucking companies could prevent almost all brake accidents through due diligence and fulfilling the safety rules that govern them. They are required to inspect and maintain braking systems every day.
Some of the leading causes of semi brake failure include:
- Incorrect air pressure: Modern trucks use air brakes to provide stopping power in a brake system. But the wrong air pressure can result in brake failure at just the wrong time. If a defective system puts too much or little pressure on the system, the entire system could fail.
- Defective brake fluid systems: To work, some brakes need appropriate fluid levels in a closed system. A defect can lead to ruptures and loss of pressure at critical moments.
- Incorrect repairs: You can’t afford to drive a semi-truck with a broken brake system. Brakes in all vehicles wear down over time. When that happens, trucking companies need to repair or replace them to keep everyone safe. A bad repair job could result in a tragic brake failure accident.
- Lack of maintenance: Regular inspection and maintenance are key to maintaining a truck’s brakes. That’s the responsibility of several parties within the trucking industry, including the driver, the truck company, repair companies, and/or the maker of the brake parts. Because so many parties are potentially liable, it’s best to talk with a truck accident lawyer about your legal options.
- Bad adjustment: Brakes may need fine-tuning, especially when trucks haul heavy loads over time. Imbalances in braking pressure could lead to a collision if brakes are adjusted poorly.
- Defectively designed or manufactured parts: Brake problems can start at the source with those who manufactured them. If there’s a problem with the design or manufacture of brake system parts, it can cause destructive failures down the line.
- Brake balancing problems: Semi-trucks and trucks that haul trailers need consistent braking across their wheels. If one set of brakes is off, it can cause a driver to lose control.
- Brake timing issues: For brakes to work correctly, they need to activate at a driver’s command. But bad wires or other malfunctions could cause brakes to engage at different times, increasing the likelihood of a crash.
- Overheating: Tractor-trailers can weigh tens of thousands of pounds. That generates extraordinary heat and stress in a braking system. If a driver brakes excessively or the brakes aren’t designed to tolerate the heat they should, it could result in semi-truck brake failure.
Liability in a Defective Brakes Truck Accident
Determining liability for a truck accident can be challenging, but our attorneys and investigators have extensive experience investigating these types of crashes. Our truck accident lawyers will identify what caused the brake problem and who should be held accountable for your injuries.
Responsible parties might include:
- Trucking companies
- The truck driver
- Repair shops
- Brake manufacturers and designers
Why the Brake Manufacturer Could Be Liable
A truck’s brakes must undergo rigorous testing for safety and quality before hitting the market. If a flaw in the design or manufacturing process causes a brake failure and resulting wreck, the companies responsible for making those parts can and should be held liable for selling a defective product.
Manufacturing defects are different from design defects. A design defect often impacts an entire line of brakes. By contrast, a manufacturing defect will often occur in a single set of brakes or a small batch of them. Manufacturing defects often appear when the initial design isn’t followed or there is an issue during assembly.
How to Prove Defective Brakes Caused a Crash
You must prove negligence to recover compensation for a truck accident. That means using evidence to show what happened and why.
When an Ann Arbor truck accident lawyer determines truck accident liability, they examine different types of evidence to prove that defective brakes caused the collision. Potential sources of evidence include:
- Photos, videos, and dashcam footage
- Witness statements
- Police reports
- Environmental evidence from the accident scene, such as skid marks and debris patterns
- Driver logs
- Toxicology reports on the driver
- Maintenance and repair records
- Cargo manifests
- Event data recorder information
With the right proof, a truck accident attorney can build a compelling case for maximum compensation for you.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer in Ann Arbor, MI Today
Contact the Ann Arbor truck accident attorneys at Christensen Law today if you’ve been injured by a truck with defective brakes. We put clients before everything else, and our goal is to deliver the highest level of compassion and legal services to you.
It all starts with a free consultation about your case. Call or reach out to us online for yours.