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When a Commercial Truck's Brakes Fail, Who is Liable for Resulting Accidents?

Brake failures are a serious problem for large commercial trucks, big rigs, and tractor trailers. With so much total weight in the vehicle, the brake system undergoes literally tons of pressure on a regular basis. After a while, or due to a defect, a truck’s brakes can fail unexpectedly, endangering everyone else on the road. The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimate about 30% of all truck accidents involve a brake failure.

Motorists who get blindsided in a trucking accident by an out-of-control truck are faced with the difficult task of determining who is liable for what happened. The obvious answer of liability – blaming the truck driver – might not be entirely correct. In reality, numerous parties may all have lent a negligent hand in causing the brake failure.

It might be possible for each of the following parties to be partially liable for a truck brake failure accident:

  • Truck part manufacturer: When a truck’s brakes give out, it is important to give them a close inspection for defects and part failures. A truck part manufacturer might be liable for a trucking accident if they produced defective brakes that fail or break unexpectedly and under regular conditions.
  • Mechanic: A commercial truck must be in safe, workable condition before it hits the road. Truckers and trucking companies often rely on third party mechanics to complete routine inspections and repairs. If a mechanic failed to notice a defective brake, they could be partially liable for the crash.
  • Cargo crew: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established a thorough guidebook of what trucking companies can and cannot do, right down to how to load the freight properly to avoid stress on a particular set of brakes. Load crews that do not know how to stack and secure a trailer could overload the brakes and cause them to fail.
  • Trucker: No matter who else might be liable for a truck accident, the ultimate responsibility to stop one from occurring ends up on the truck driver. They are the only one who can try to control the truck and prevent a serious crash.

Determining Liability with an Attorney’s Help

Who is the liable party for your trucking accident caused by a brake failure? Or, are there multiple liable parties? You need to know this information with confidence if you want your personal injury claim to be valid and capable of standing up to scrutiny from the opposing insurance parties.

Berthold Law Firm, PLLC and our West Virginia trucking accident attorneys are here to help you with your claim from start to finish. We can begin with a free initial consultation to get a clearer picture of the events leading to your accident. Dial (304) 605-2040 to begin.