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What Causes Brake Failure in Semi-Trucks & Who Is Responsible When It Causes Accidents

According to a recent massive Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration study, brake failures are the most common contributing mechanical factor in large truck accidents. Since there were over 3,744 fatal accidents involving large trucks in 2014 alone, brake problems are therefore no small matter when it comes to public safety. However, as any experienced truck accident lawyer in North Carolina could tell you, a brake failure does not necessarily equate to an inevitable accident.

Those familiar with the industry know that many mechanical failures are actually maintenance failures or decision-making failures on the part of responsible parties. Other times, defective brake products or improper loading by customer companies can contribute to the accident. Therefore, a brake failure during a truck accident can lead to a tangled web of possible liability encompassing several parties. You can learn more about the issue and how to investigate truck accident liability further by reading on.

Determining Who’s Responsible

Brake failures happen all-too-often during truck accidents, but most of the time these failures do not leave others blameless.

Unfortunately, there are a number of potentially responsible parties when it comes to brake failure in trucks. Sometimes it’s the driver’s fault. Sometimes the brake manufacturer. It could be the owner of the trucking company or even the cargo company who loaded the payload. The problem is that these various parties will often play a blame-game where responsibility is concerned.

In the end, determining who is responsible for a truck accident involving brake failure can involve investigation, evidence-gathering and cutting through the avoidance tactics used by the various parties to try and get out of paying. That’s where a little knowledge and lots of legal help can come into the picture.

Common Sources of Avoidable Brake Failure

When people cite a “brake failure” as a partial cause of an accident, the implication is that the brakes were not working at all. Braking systems are supposed to be designed to avoid catastrophic failure, but sometimes there are mechanical malfunctions at fault. Other times, the problem comes down to common maintenance issues including unbalanced braking performance, which leads to overheating or complete failure of certain braking functions within the system.

This inadequate maintenance could have resulted from work performed by the driver, another mechanic or the agency leasing trucking equipment to the driver. Improper maintenance could also fall under negligent practices by a contracting company, which may be required to audit inspection and maintenance logs to ensure consistent practices.

Other times, a brake manufacturer could be liable in part or in whole. Products under recall, for instance, strongly indicate a defective design. Even if the owner did not submit to the recall as required, the manufacturer could still share liability in such a situation.

Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer in North Carolina

All of these factors can make a trucking accident claim quite a complex affair, involving multiple defendants or multiple concurrent lawsuits. If you were injured in a truck accident and don’t know where to turn, contact Lewis & Keller. Our firm has been helping injured persons fight for their rights for more than two decades, and we want to fight for you. Fill out the free case evaluation form below to get in touch with a skilled truck accident lawyer in North Carolina.