Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Truck Accidents: Defective Brakes

Equipment failure is one of the most common causes of truck accidents, and brake failure is perhaps the #1 cause of all mechanical related truck accidents.  A study published by the Department of Transportation (DOT) reveled that nearly 30 percent of all commercial truck accidents involve brake related issues, including brake failure and brakes out of adjustment.

The following is a look at defective brakes and the legal issues that surround them.  Learning the common causes of brake failure will assist accident victims in uncovering who is responsible for the accident and who to sue in the event injuries are sustained.

Defective Brakes: Who is to Blame?

When the brakes on a commercial truck malfunction, the blame may be placed on one or more parties, including:

  • the driver
  • the party responsible for maintaining the brakes, commonly the owner-operator
  • the company that loaded the truck
  • the manufacturer of the brakes

Potential Liability: The Brake Manufacturer

Strict federal regulations are in place to ensure the safety of truck braking systems.  A truck must be able to:

  • Decelerate to a stop at a certain rate set by the size of the truck
  • Meet a certain braking force, dependent upon the truck’s weight
  • Meet all automatic brake adjustment system requirements

If brakes do not meet these federal standards, you may have a claim against the manufacturer of the brakes.  Usually these claims will be based on one of the following:

  1. The manufacturer failed to design the brakes properly
  2. The brakes were designed correctly, but a defect occurred in the manufacturing process.

Cases against a product manufacturer are considered product liability cases.  Sometimes, the federal government will uncover that a type of brake is defective and issue a recall.  If you have been injured by a truck with brakes that were recalled, the recall will serve as strong evidence of the manufacturer’s negligence.

Potential Liability: Truck Drivers & Trucking Companies

At times the actions, or inactions, of the truck driver or trucking company will cause brakes to fail.  Potential negligence actions include:

  • Depowering the front brakes: Some truck drivers or trucking companies will deliberately depower or unhook the front brakes of the truck and rely upon solely the brakes of the trailer along with downshifting to stop the vehicle.  This is done to minimize wear on the brakes, but is a dangerous process.
  • Failure to maintain or properly adjust brakes: All trucking companies are required by federal law to maintain trucks in a certain manner and keep records of their compliance.
    • Truckers and trucking companies must complete routine inspections and inspect brakes every time a truck is about to set out on a trip.
    • Failure to maintain, adjust, or inspect brakes can result in liability on the part of the trucker or trucking company.

Zinda Law Group:  Experienced Representation  

Defective brakes are a main cause of truck accidents across the country.  The Texas Truck Accident Attorneys at Zinda Law Group have the experience you need to successfully bring a personal injury case against the truck driver, manufacturer of the defective brakes, or the negligent trucking company.

Our skilled and knowledgeable truck accident attorneys offer award winning representation for truck accident victim across the state.  We understand the serious consequences of any truck accident and will zealously seek compensation for all your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

We offer a free consultation to new clients and have office locations in Austin and across Texas.  Call Zinda Law Group toll free at 800-863-5312 to start us fighting for your full recovery.