Properly working brakes are critical for safely bringing cars and trucks to a stop. When brake failure occurs, drivers are often unable to slow down or stop to avoid a collision. Crashes linked to brake failure often occur at full speed and result in serious injuries and fatalities.
If you or a loved one was involved in a crash because another driver's brakes failed to work, you may not be fully aware of the legal rights available to you. Below, we discuss the importance of brake maintenance, as well as who may be found at fault in a crash.
Are drivers responsible for maintaining their brakes?
Brakes are comprised of several mechanical parts that work in unison to allow cars and trucks to stop. These parts include:
- Brake pads — Brake pads apply pressure to the rotor to reduce speed. When brake pads become worn down, they must be replaced. Otherwise, the lack of brake pads could lead to overheating and failure of the braking system.
- Brake lines, fluid and calipers — Brake fluid is transferred through the brake line and calipers when the brake pedal is applied. Without brake fluid, there will not be enough pressure in the braking system to bring a car or truck to a stop. This can occur if there is a leak in a brake line or brake fluid isn't filled to adequate levels.
- Rotors/drums — Rotors and drums are attached to the wheels. The brake pads place pressure on them to slow down a car or truck. When rotors or drums are worn down, they may become warped and wear the brake pads down faster. This can also make it more challenging for the brakes to work efficiently.
Drivers are responsible for getting their cars and trucks inspected each year, as well as repairing any defects to the brakes. In some cases, drivers neglect brakes that squeal or shake, or a brake pedal that feels spongy or soft. When a crash occurs as a result, drivers can be held responsible if it causes someone else's injury or death. Speak to an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney to learn more about how to pursue damages against a negligent driver.
Who is at fault for car accidents linked to brake failure?
Sometimes it's not the fault of the driver who had his or her brakes repaired or purchased a car. There are usually three culprits for crashes caused by defective brakes. These include:
- Brake manufacturers — The brake manufacturer can be held responsible for making a defective product and placing it on the market. If a braking component is found to be defective, there may be a recall issued to car owners.
- Car dealers — New and used car dealers are responsible for ensuring that all parts are in proper working order. If there are any defects, car buyers should be notified and the defect should be repaired promptly.
- Car mechanics — Auto mechanics must be properly trained, experienced and knowledgeable on brake repairs and maintenance. Any errors made during repairs can lead to brake failure on the road.
Why hire an attorney to handle my case?
Crashes linked to brake failure can turn someone's life upside down within seconds. If you survived a crash, you may have sustained a traumatic brain injury, broken bones, back or spinal injuries, internal organ damage or paralysis. At worst, you may have lost a loved one.
It's critical that you consult with an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney at the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays to learn about your legal rights. Our legal team can launch a thorough investigation into your crash and find out where negligence occurred and who was responsible. We can also handle the insurance companies for you and fight to recover every dollar owed to you in damages. Contact us online to schedule your free and confidential case evaluation.