My Brakes Stopped Working! Am I Responsible for an Accident?

My Brakes Stopped Working! Am I Responsible for an Accident?

Every driver has probably had the thought or fear that they their car will suddenly malfunction, causing them to get into an accident. A malfunction of any type can be catastrophic, but brake failure presents a scary situation. No one wants to be coasting down the highway to suddenly find they cannot brake properly, slow down, or stop when needed. What happens if you are in an accident after a brake failure, whether major or minor? Is the person whose brakes failed always at fault? Or, is brake failure something out of the driver’s control for which he or she cannot be held accountable?

If your brakes fail, it seems likely that an accident will be a rear-end collision. In most cases, the general rule of thumb is that the driver of the vehicle that rear-ended the vehicle in front is at fault. However, when the accident is because of brake failure, the answer to whom is at fault is not simple to answer. When a part on your car malfunctions, whether the brakes or something else, the liability could lie with other parties. When you are in an accident because of failing brakes, the victim in the situation is not just the party who was rear-ended, but the driver of the vehicle that hit the vehicle in front of them.

There are different parties that might be held liable for a brake failure accident:

  • Product Manufacturer: If the manufacturer who is responsible for manufacturing the brakes in your car produced faulty parts, they may be held liable for the accident and resulting damages.
  • Car Mechanic: If the mechanic putting the brakes on your car put them on incorrectly, causing the brake failure, he or she may be held liable for accident and resulting damages.
  • You: As much as we want to blame others for our problems, there are some instances in which you may be found liable if you knew that your brakes were faulty.

If you did not know about any lingering brake issues and the accident is your first indication of something being wrong, it is important to approach the situation in the right way from the beginning:

Make sure to explain that you hit the brakes, but nothing happened from the very beginning – you can make this claim to your insurance provider, the other party or parties to the accident, etc.

Stay at the scene of the accident to speak with the police regarding the accident so they can make a police report, which will become valuable in any future litigation that ensues.

Contact an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney will help you figure out what happened and the next steps you should take, including any claims for damages you might have.

The personal injury attorney at Dennis Hernandez & Associates are here for you. Brake failure can be very scary and we want to hold those responsible accountable and help you receive the damages you might be entitled to as a result. Contact us today for a consultation.

Photo by Nicolas J Leclercq on Unsplash

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