The brakes are one of the most vital parts of a car or truck. Brakes are designed to slow or stop a moving car or truck by inhibiting forward motion. It's critical that all mechanical parts within a braking system work correctly to prevent a serious crash from occurring. Crashes caused by brake failure tend to be severe since they happen at full speed. Knowing who is at fault for a crash caused by brake failure isn't always clear. In many cases, crash victims aren't fully aware of their rights.
An experienced New Mexico car and truck accident attorney explains how mechanical failures in the braking system can lead to crashes and which parties are likely at fault. If you were injured in a crash linked to brake failure, don't hesitate to reach out to Szantho Law Firm to find out what legal options are available to you.
Mechanical defects that cause brake failure
There are generally three braking components that must work properly to avoid a crash. These include:
- Brake pads — The brake pads help slow cars and trucks by applying pressure to the drums and rotors. Brake pads must be replaced when they become worn down. Failure to do so can cause the braking system to overheat and eventually fail completely.
- Drums and rotors — The drums and rotors are where the brake pads meet the wheels. They can become warped and worn down over time and need to be replaced. When the drums and rotors wear down or become warped, it can take longer to stop and increase the risk of a crash.
- Brake fluid and lines — The braking system will only function when adequate braking fluid is transported through the lines and calipers. When there isn't enough braking fluid, or there is a leak in one of the lines, there won't be enough pressure applied to stop a car or truck. Unlike smaller cars, large commercial trucks use compressed air instead of brake fluid.
Who is responsible when a crash occurs?
Determining who is responsible for causing your crash will take an in-depth investigation. After gathering enough evidence, your attorney may find that the responsible party is:
- The driver who hit you — Drivers have a responsibility to keep their cars in safe condition. Cars and trucks must be inspected annually in compliance with state and federal law. Brake defects sometimes give off warning signs. For example, worn-out brake pads will often emit a squealing sound due to friction between the pad sensors and the drums and rotors. This is when drivers are responsible for getting their brake pads replaced. If the driver who hit you knowingly had a brake defect, but failed to get it fixed, he or she can be held accountable.
- Car dealers or parts manufacturers — It's not always the fault of the driver who hit you when the brakes fail. In some cases, car dealers and parts manufacturers put dangerous products on the market without disclosing the defects to buyers. In this case, a car dealer or parts manufacturer can be held accountable for negligence.
- A car mechanic or repair shop — In some cases, a mechanic who fixes or replaces brakes may use the wrong parts or fail to assemble brake parts properly. When a crash occurs as a result, a car mechanic or repair shop can be held accountable for negligence.
It's critical that you know your rights after being involved in a crash linked to brake failure. An experienced car and truck accident attorney at Szantho Law Firm can investigate your crash, and deal with the insurance companies, and fight for a fair settlement on your behalf. Our law offices are located in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Contact us online to schedule your free and confidential case evaluation.