When a driver causes a crash, he or she may try to avoid liability by making claims that would defer fault to another party. For example, claiming his or her brakes failed before the collision. Unfortunately, this could negatively impact when and if you recover compensation for your damages.
Brake failure is a valid defense for a car crash. However, the burden of proof shifts from the injured victim to the at-fault driver.
Below, we discuss how an at-fault driver’s claims about brake failure may impact your claim, and what your legal options may be to recover maximum compensation.
If you have questions about your legal rights, call our Fort Worth auto collision lawyers today. There are no upfront fees.
Common Reasons Brakes Fail
If the brakes on a vehicle fail, it is commonly because of some mechanical issue, including:
- Overheating brake pads
- Damaged rotor disks
- Leaking hydraulic fluid
- Loss of hydraulic brake fluid pressure
There are other outside factors that may not necessarily impact the brakes. However, they could hinder a vehicle from coming to a full stop when the brakes are applied. This includes:
- Inclement weather – wet, muddy and icy roads can all cause a vehicle’s tires to lock as the driver applies the brakes, but the vehicle could continue forward momentum
- Overloaded cargo – vehicles with too much weight on them may have a more difficult time coming to a full stop even if the brakes are fully applied
- Worn tires – if the tread on a vehicle’s tires is worn down, there may be little grip on them stop when the brakes are applied
The reason brakes often fail is because of neglect to the maintenance of a vehicle. Vehicle owners are expected to keep an eye on a vehicle’s fluid levels, brake pads and tires. A driver may also be considered negligent if he or she overloads a vehicle with cargo.
In some rare instances, brake failure could be attributed to a defect in a vehicle part. Usually, manufacturers will issue a recall when a defect is discovered. Once the recall is issued, the owner of the vehicle is responsible for taking the vehicle in for repairs.
What Happens to My Case if the At-Fault Driver Claims Brake Failure?
In most injury cases, the burden of proof falls on the injury victim. This means you will have to prove the following:
- You were owed a duty of care
- There was a breach of that duty
- The breach of duty resulted in an accident
- The accident directly resulted in your damages
If the at-fault driver claims brake failure caused the collision, the burden of proof shifts from you to the other driver. He or she will then need to prove the brakes on his or her vehicle failed, resulting in a collision. If the person is successful in proving brake failure, then the cause of it must be established.
Brakes that failed due to a defective product may trigger a different type of injury case. One where both you and the other driver may be able to pursue compensation from the manufacturer of the defective part.
Because brake failure is commonly a cause of negligent vehicle maintenance, you may still have a claim against the driver’s liability insurance.
Will I Still Be Able to Recover Compensation for my Damages?
The burden of proof shifts when the at-fault driver makes a brake failure claim. However, gathering evidence to support your claim that the collision was due to the other driver’s negligence is still a good idea. The stronger your case, the harder it will be for the insurance company to deny compensation.
Your attorney can help you to gather evidence that contradicts any arguments the driver claims. For example, your attorney may be able to get a maintenance log of the vehicle. This may detail how often the vehicle was taken in for a checkup, usually during an oil change.
If the vehicle had a recalled brake part, your attorney may be able to find out whether the vehicle owner was informed prior to the crash. If he or she was informed, your attorney may also be able to find out whether he or she took the vehicle in for repairs.
In more challenging cases, your attorney may enlist the help of an expert witness, like a mechanic, who can determine whether the vehicle had brake issues prior to the collision.
Get Legal Help. Call Us Today
If you were injured in an accident due to another party’s negligence, you have the right to pursue compensation for your damages.
Our attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience building strong cases on behalf of our clients. We have successfully secured millions on their behalf. Give us the opportunity to help you.
We offer a free consultation with no obligation to take legal action. We also do not charge you any hourly fees. You only pay us when we win.
Call (817) 920-9000 to schedule a free legal consultation.