Truck accidents can be caused by many factors, including speeding, distracted, or intoxicated drivers. However, tractor-trailers are different from passenger vehicles in that they are more often susceptible to certain types of mechanical failures, such as those involving brakes. When this happens, other people on the road can suffer devastating harm. We have helped hundreds of injured individuals assert their right to recover damages for the harm that they have suffered, including residents of Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Nassau, and Suffolk Counties.
To begin with a free initial consultation, call us at 718-441-5050 today. We are here to help.
A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation found that, in nearly 30% of all large truck crashes, braking problems were either a primary or a contributing factor. The tremendous weight of trucks, as well as their complicated physical structure—with 18 wheels and detachable trailers—means that braking systems need careful attention. Even more, large trucks may carry different loads at different times, and the extended travel time and distance mean that trucks must endure variations in weather and load weights. Consequently, when brakes fail, there may be several causes. The brakes themselves may be defective as a result of a manufacturing flaw, they may fail because of inadequate maintenance, or they may break down because the vehicle is overloaded.
Many types of vehicle accidents are the result of negligence in one form or another.
At its most basic level, a legal claim based on this conduct requires the presence of four factors:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the victim;
- The defendant breached the duty by failing to meet the required standard of care;
- The defendant’s careless conduct resulted in harm to the victim; and
- Quantifiable costs and losses arose from the accident.
When it comes to the handling of vehicles, every individual owes a duty of care to all other users of the road to obey all traffic laws and to observe the rules of the road, taking special weather conditions or road hazards into account. In general, drivers must refrain from engaging in behavior that would pose needless risks of foreseeable harm to others in their vicinity. This duty can be breached by many types of reckless or careless behavior, such as failing to yield at an intersection, texting behind the wheel, or speeding through a blizzard.
Truckers and trucking companies are regulated by a vast array of federal laws and regulations. Many of these deal with the safety and maintenance of trucks and their components, such as their brakes. Among other responsibilities, every driver is required to perform a pre-trip inspection, including inspection of the brakes and brake components. Trucking companies are required to perform regular and scheduled maintenance on brakes and braking systems. Truckers and trucking companies that fail to perform maintenance and checks—or choose to operate trucks, knowing that parts are worn or are not functioning as required—may be deemed negligent when they fail to meet the standards imposed by federal regulations.
Even if a trucking company was not negligent, it still sometimes may be held liable when carelessness by one of its drivers causes a crash. This is because the rule of vicarious liability holds employers indirectly accountable for the negligence of an employee who is acting in the course and scope of the employment relationship. Whether a driver is an employee or a contractor can be a complex inquiry, and it is important to consult an attorney to help make this determination and decide which parties you can try to hold liable for your injuries.
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision caused by brake failure, driver fatigue, or any other factor, call the Queens brake failure attorneys at The Cassisi Law Firm for advice. We can investigate the details of the truck accident in which you were hurt and discuss the legal options that you may have. Depending on your situation, you may be able to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and the pain and suffering resulting from the collision.
Contact The Cassisi Law Firm at 718-441-5050 or through our online form to set up a free consultation.