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What Are My Legal Rights After a Car Accident Caused by Brake Failure?

If you were injured, you may be eligible for financial compensation

Among the various causes of car accidents, brake failure is a particularly alarming and often preventable issue. When brakes fail, drivers can lose control of their vehicles and cause roadway catastrophes.

At Szantho Law Firm in New Mexico, we understand the profound impact a car accident caused by brake failure can have on victims and their families. We strive to ensure our clients receive the compensation they deserve while holding responsible parties accountable.

What causes brake failure?

Brake failure occurs when a vehicle's braking system malfunctions and prevents drivers from being able to stop or slow down effectively. There are several types of brake failure, each with its own set of causes and consequences:

  • Mechanical failure: This involves the physical components of the braking system, such as brake pads, rotors, and calipers. Mechanical issues can arise from worn-out parts, improper installation, or physical damage.
  • Hydraulic failure: Modern braking systems rely on hydraulic pressure to function. When there is a problem within this system, such as a leak or air in the lines, it can cause brake failure.
  • Brake fluid leakage: Brake fluid is essential for maintaining hydraulic pressure. Leaks in the brake lines, master cylinder, or other components can lead to a loss of braking power.
  • Electronic malfunctions: With advancements in vehicle technology, many cars now have electronic brake systems. Failures in sensors, control modules, or electronic connections can also lead to brake issues.

Common causes of brake failure include:

  • Poor vehicle maintenance
  • Manufacturing defects
  • Overheating of brakes

What types of car accidents are caused by brake failure?

Brake failure can lead to just about any type of car accident since being able to slow down or come to a stop is crucial for avoiding collisions, maintaining control, and ensuring the safety of both the driver and others on the road. Here are some common types of accidents caused by brake failure:

  • Rear-end collisions: When brakes fail, a driver may be unable to stop in time to avoid hitting the vehicle in front of them. For example, a driver is approaching a red traffic light but can't slow down due to brake failure, and they crash into the back of a car that has already stopped at the light.
  • Intersection accidents: A driver with failing brakes could enter an intersection without being able to stop. This could result in a collision with a vehicle that has the right of way.
  • Pedestrian accidents: When brakes fail near pedestrian crossings or in urban areas, pedestrians are at high risk of being hit.
  • Rollovers: Brake failure can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles, especially on curves or steep hills. This often leads to rollovers.
  • Head-on collisions: Brake failure can lead to head-on collisions if a vehicle crosses into oncoming traffic.

Who is responsible for brake failure car accidents?

Determining liability can be complicated when a car accident occurs due to brake failure. Several parties may be held responsible, depending on the circumstances surrounding the brake failure. These parties include:

  • The vehicle driver: Drivers are responsible for ensuring their vehicles are properly maintained. The driver may be liable if a car accident is caused by negligence in maintaining the brake system.
  • The manufacturer: If a brake failure is due to a defect in the design or manufacturing of the vehicle or its components, the manufacturer could be held liable. This includes cases where there is a recall for faulty brakes that the manufacturer failed to address adequately.
  • A vehicle repair mechanic: If a mechanic or repair shop improperly installs or repairs brake components, brake failure can occur, and they can be held responsible for any accidents. This can include negligence in identifying and addressing potential brake issues during routine inspections.

What are New Mexico's laws regarding brake failure?

New Mexico requires that vehicles meet certain safety standards to be roadworthy. This includes having fully functional brakes. Drivers must ensure their vehicles comply with these standards.

If a brake failure is due to a manufacturing defect, New Mexico's product liability laws allow victims to seek compensation from manufacturers. These laws hold manufacturers strictly liable for defects that cause injury or damage.

In cases where a third party, such as a mechanic, is responsible for the brake failure, New Mexico's negligence laws apply. Victims must prove that the third party owed a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused the accident as a result.

What should I do after a car accident caused by brake failure?

Your immediate priority after a collision should be ensuring the safety of all parties involved. Check for injuries and call 911 for medical assistance if necessary. Even if injuries appear minor, seek medical attention and get an accurate diagnosis.

At the crash scene, you'll need to call the police and wait for an officer to arrive. While waiting, contact and insurance information should be exchanged with other parties involved, and pictures of the crash scene should be taken. If there are any witnesses present, get their contact information and statements.

A police officer will document the crash scene and create a detailed report that shows how the crash occurred and who was likely responsible.

Next, you'll need to report your car accident to your insurance provider while providing only the basic details of your crash (e.g., time, location, and injuries sustained). Avoid admitting any fault or discussing who was to blame, as this can hurt your claim.

If the other party's insurance company contacts you looking for a recorded statement, you don't have to give it to them. Anything you tell them can be misinterpreted as admitting fault and later be used against you.

Instead, speak to an experienced New Mexico car accident lawyer at Szantho Law Firm. We can handle all communications and negotiations with the responsible party's insurance company, so you don't risk jeopardizing your claim.

What documents should I keep to support my car accident claim?

Keep detailed records of your injuries, treatments, and medical expenses. This documentation can help demonstrate the extent of your injuries and your recovery. Additionally, keeping copies of paystubs and tax documents demonstrates how much income you're losing while you're unable to work.

Also, keep a diary of any pain and suffering you're enduring due to your injury. Note how the injury has an impact on the quality of your life. Your attorney can use this to determine how much money you're eligible for in pain and suffering damages.

Seeking compensation for a car accident caused by brake failure

In a split second, a car accident caused by brake failure can turn your whole life upside down. You could be faced with months of recovery, hefty medical expenses, lost wages, and long-term pain and suffering. Don't expect to get anywhere with the insurance companies; they're more interested in keeping their costs down than compensating you.

That's why you need someone who understands the law and knows how to get meaningful results. You need an experienced car accident attorney who isn't afraid to take on the insurance companies.

Szantho Law Firm is dedicated to serving injury victims throughout New Mexico, with offices in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. If you were injured or a loved one died in a crash involving brake failure or some other form of negligence, we are here to help you demand justice and accountability. Don't delay—contact us and schedule your free case evaluation today.

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