While many factors contribute to automobile accidents, brake failure, and other vehicle defects account for a large portion of car crashes in the United States.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), brake failure contributes to 22 percent of vehicle-related automobile accidents in the country.
A victim of a brake failure accident may have substantial medical bills and other costs and losses. Whether the accident involved another vehicle or your car hit a stationary object, a brake malfunction took the accident out of your control. However, the insurance company may have a different opinion about the cause of the accident.
If you were involved in an accident caused by problems with the braking system, consider contacting a Chicago brake failure accident lawyer from Abels & Annes, PC, to help you navigate the insurance claims process and explore your compensation options.
Table of Contents
- Common Types of Brake Failures
- Faulty Anti-Lock Braking Systems
- Causes of Brake Failure Accidents
- Signs of Brake Malfunction in an Automobile
- Common Types of Brake Failure Accident Injuries
- Who Is Responsible for Your Brake Failure Accident?
- Contact a Chicago Brake Failure Accident Lawyer
- Client Testimonial
Despite the technological advancements in braking systems, even modern vehicles may experience brake failure. When the brake system malfunctions, vehicle occupants and everyone else on the road are at risk of suffering severe injuries.
Some of the most common problems with the braking system include:
- Faulty braking system design
- Electrical malfunction
- Defective brake pads
- Brake malfunction
- Manufacturing defect
- Brake fluid leaks
- Brake light malfunction
- Brake pedal sinking to the floor
- Hard or soft brake pedal
- Vehicle tugging in a direction when braking
When a brake failure occurs, the driver may lose control of the vehicle, resulting in a devastating accident involving multiple vehicles. While motorists are responsible for keeping their brakes in good condition and evaluating the efficiency and reliability of the brakes, you cannot identify some brake problems before they create problems. Brake malfunction may be the result of manufacturing or design defects.
When you get behind the wheel of your car, you probably do not pay a whole lot of attention to your brakes. Your car always comes to a complete stop at stoplights, so what is there to worry about? Modern vehicles now come equipped with anti-lock braking systems (ABS), representing an improved safety feature.
The system helps us maneuver more safely over our nation’s highways and byways. Anti-lock brakes help save lives. However, if these highly complex braking systems malfunction, they can cause serious accidents and severe injuries. If that happens, a Chicago brake failure accident lawyer can help.
Your car’s anti-lock brakes help you steer more effectively in driving emergencies, such as when your tires begin sliding on a slippery road. Anti-lock brakes restore your tires’ traction with the road and prevent them from locking up. Thus, they help you steer through dangerous conditions more safely.
Due to their dual function, ABS is sometimes called brakes that help you steer. Your job as the driver is simply to engage the brakes when you need them by applying and sustaining firm pressure on your brake pedal-while you steer safely out of harm’s way.
In most cases, brake failure accidents occur unexpectedly, endangering the safety of the driver and other people on the road.
There are various causes of accidents involving brake failure, including but not limited to:
- Excessive wear. Brakes can wear out over time, especially when applying a lot of stress and tension to them. Excessive wear may occur due to heavy braking at higher speeds. Drivers should regularly inspect their brakes and ensure that the braking system stays in good condition. When the brake pads wear out, they need replacement to prevent brake failure accidents.
- Overheated brake pads. When you apply the brakes, the braking system forces fluid throughout the brake lines to each wheel, and brake pads create friction to slow the vehicle down or come to a stop. The friction generates heat, which can cause overheating when overused. Typically, vehicles with overheated brake pads require a longer stopping distance.
- Brake fluid leakage. When brake fluid begins to leak, it can mean various problems with the brake system. Brake fluids are the lifeblood of the braking system because it provides the force created when the driver presses down on the brake pedal.
- Rust damage. Like other automobile components, brakes are prone to rust damage when exposed to moisture. Rusting in the brake system can decrease braking efficiency. Regular inspection and maintenance are necessary to prevent and fix rust damage.
- Brake lock-up. Locked-up brakes are any driver’s worst nightmare. When brakes lock up, a driver may be unable to slow the vehicle down or stop it when doing so is necessary to prevent a collision with another vehicle or a stationary object. Locked-up brakes usually mean that there are problems with the anti-lock braking system.
- Disc brake rotor malfunction. Maintaining your disc brake rotors is critical to the vehicle’s safety. When a driver presses down on the brake pedal, the brake pads create friction when compressed against the rotor. This results in the slowing of the rotation of the wheels and halting the vehicle’s movement.
Often, it is difficult to determine what caused the brake failure accident. Thus, a thorough investigation may be necessary to determine the cause of the crash and identify liable parties.
You should be aware of the signs that your brakes are faulty to prevent brake failure accidents.
Some of the most common signs of brake malfunction include:
- Dashboard warning indicators. Dashboard light indicators might warn you of problems in the brake system. If the brake light comes on, you should get your brakes serviced as soon as possible.
- Squealing when in motion. If you hear the squealing noise when in motion or applying the brakes, it can mean worn-out brake pads that need replacement.
- Screeching or grinding noise. This can be an indicator of brake malfunction that requires immediate attention.
- Shaking in the steering wheel or vibration. If you can feel shaking in the steering wheel or vibration when pressing down the brake pedal, it can mean worn-out brake pads or faulty rotors.
- Longer stopping distance. If you notice that your vehicle needs a longer distance to come to a stop, it can be a sign of issues in the brake system. Failure to get the brakes serviced on time can eventually result in a rear-end accident due to the miscalculation of the stopping distance.
- Hard or soft brake pedal. If you notice changes in the resistance in the brake pedal, it can be a warning sign of faulty brakes. In other words, if you need to put more or less effort when pressing down the brake pedal than before, it is likely because there are problems in the braking system.
If you notice any of the following problems when operating your automobile, get your car serviced as soon as possible to prevent accidents caused by brake failure.
Brake failure accidents can result in many injuries ranging from mild to severe and life-threatening. The scariest thing about these accidents is that the driver may lose control of the vehicle due to the inability to slow down or stop.
Some of the most common types of injuries suffered by victims of brake failure accidents include:
- Bruises. If the people in an accident with a vehicle with brake problems wore seatbelts, they may suffer bruises.
- Whiplash. The violent shaking of the head and stretching of the neck can damage ligaments in these neck injuries. Common signs of whiplash include stiffness in the neck, headaches, and limited range of motion in the neck.
- Back and neck injuries. The force of impact in a brake failure accident may cause damage to the back and neck. Symptoms of back and neck injuries may not be apparent immediately after the accident. However, diagnosing these injuries promptly is critical for attaining the most effective treatment.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Head injuries, including TBIs, are some of the most severe and life-changing injuries a victim of a brake failure accident may suffer. Some people never fully recover from a traumatic brain injury and may experience complications for the rest of their life. Early diagnosis and medical intervention are necessary to ensure the best possible outcome for the patient.
- Broken bones. The bones may break when too much force is applied to them. Recovering from a broken bone can be a lengthy process. In some cases, a victim may need surgery to heal their bones.
- Internal injuries. Organ damage is a common type of injury suffered by victims of motor vehicle accidents. A victim may also experience internal bleeding, which, if left untreated, may cause death. Internal injuries are some of the most overlooked injuries suffered by car accident victims.
- Emotional injuries. Do not underestimate the impact a car accident can have on your emotional well-being. A victim of a brake failure accident can seek compensation for their emotional injuries, too. Common emotional conditions following a car crash include post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and others.
If you notice any changes in your physical, psychological, or emotional well-being after your car crash, visit a hospital right away to diagnose possible injuries.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident caused by brake failure, you may hold these parties responsible:
- The automobile manufacturer. You may hold the manufacturer of the vehicle or its parts may liable for the brake failure accident, especially if the crash was the result of manufacturing or design defects. Other parties in the chain of distribution, including the retailer and distributor, may also be sued for the accident.
- The owner of the vehicle. In some cases, the owner of the vehicle that experienced brake malfunction may be partially or fully responsible for the accident if they failed to properly maintain their vehicle.
- Car dealership. You may hold new and used car dealerships responsible for a brake failure accident regardless of whether the dealer knew about the faulty brakes.
- Auto mechanic. You can hold a mechanic who inspected the vehicle, including the brake system, responsible for the accident if they failed to notice faulty parts or the brake malfunction resulted from bad repairs.
Typically, a thorough investigation is necessary to determine what caused the brake failure and whom you can hold responsible for causing or failing to prevent the accident. A consultation with a Chicago brake failure accident lawyer may be necessary to identify all liable parties in your specific case.
The safety systems in the cars we drive are becoming more and more integrated. This means that when something goes wrong, it is harder to get to the root of the problem. Litigation related to brake failures has also naturally become much more complex.
Giant car manufacturers employ teams of attorneys to attempt to shut down any claims brought against them. Claims surrounding the safety of the vehicles that we drive are important for helping to keep our roads safer for everyone. Your rights matter and a Chicago car accident attorney will help guide your brake failure claim to just resolution.
Car accidents are frightening, and brake failure accidents are often terrifying because the driver has no control over the vehicle. If you or someone you care about sustains injuries in a brake failure accident, we know how difficult that is. After all, our car’s brakes are a safety mechanism that should protect us from harm-not cause it.
Consider speaking with a Chicago brake failure accident lawyer to discuss your particular case, determine what caused the collision, and seek the compensation you may deserve.
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