Commercial Truck Brake Failure

All car accidents are frightening and have the potential to result in serious injuries. However, collisions involving commercial trucks tend to be especially dangerous, as these vehicles often weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and are used for transporting hazardous cargo. While most truck-related accidents are the result of driver error, such as falling asleep at the wheel, driving while distracted, or failing to abide by traffic laws, a surprising amount of crashes involving commercial vehicles are caused by brake failure. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates that as many as 29 percent of all commercial truck accidents involve brake failure.

Fortunately, even when an accident was not the result of a driver’s negligence, but instead involved a defective or improperly maintained vehicle part, the individuals or entities responsible  can be held liable for a victim’s damages, so if you were involved in an accident with a semi-truck or other large commercial vehicle and have evidence that brake failure played a role in the crash, you should strongly consider consulting an experienced Tulsa truck accident attorney who can help you file a claim.

Federal Regulations

Because accidents involving commercial vehicles tend to have particularly destructive consequences, the FMCSA, which is a federal agency, requires truck drivers and their employers to adhere to specific rules. While many people know that these regulations involve limits on driving time, as well as qualification standards, few are aware that commercial truck companies must also maintain their vehicles in accordance with federal law, which includes conducting regular brake inspections. During these inspections, qualified professionals are required to look for evidence of brake failure, such as overheating, thin brake pads, a buildup of grease or oil in the brake’s components, and uneven wear on tires.

Although brake failure is dangerous for all drivers, it is particularly dangerous when commercial trucks are involved, as collisions almost always affect more than one vehicle. Furthermore, the much greater weight of commercial trucks has the potential to inflict catastrophic damage, including severe burns, shattered bones, traumatic brain injury, serious lacerations, and spinal cord damage.

Treating these types of injuries is prohibitively expensive, as many victims are required to undergo multiple surgeries, pay for medications, attend grueling physical therapy, and foot the bill for emergency transport and treatment. Many victims also struggle with severe anxiety and depression following especially devastating crashes and must attend therapy sessions for months or even years after the accident. Because truck accidents take such an enormous physical, emotional, and financial toll it is critical for those who are injured in these types of collisions to recover damages from the responsible party to cover these and other accident-related costs.

Liable Parties

Determining who is responsible for an accident involving commercial truck brake failure can be difficult, although at least one of the following parties is most often at fault:

  • The driver of the truck if he or she failed to operate the vehicle safely or did not conduct a cursory pre-trip brake inspection as directed;
  • The company that owns the truck, if it did not ensure that inspections were conducted by qualified professionals or failed to pay for repairs;
  • The truck’s manufacturer, if a defect in its design or assembly caused the brakes to fail;
  • The manufacturer of the brake system if the brakes themselves were defective; and
  • A mechanic, if he or she failed to make proper repairs or overlooked a serious problem.

When an injured party can provide evidence that the negligence or recklessness of one of these parties contributed to or caused a truck’s brake failure, he or she could be eligible to collect compensation for past and future medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Call a Member of our Tulsa Legal Team Today for Help with Your Case

An alarming number of accidents involving commercial trucks occur every year. Tragically, many of these collisions could have been avoided if the driver or his or her employer had conducted regular brake inspections and maintenance. Individuals and companies who fail to fulfill their legal responsibilities to the public can and should be held accountable for their actions, so if you or a loved one were injured in an accident caused by a commercial truck’s brake failure, please don’t hesitate to contact experienced truck accident attorney Charles Bryan Alred, PC at 918-745-9960. A member of our Tulsa legal team is standing by to answer your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.