How Drivers Could Be Liable for a Brake Failure Crash

Posted on behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak

on September 14, 2023

. Updated on October 24, 2023


driver experiencing brake failureBrake failure could make it difficult or even impossible to stop your vehicle in time to avoid a crash. Drivers who lose control of their brakes risk hitting another car, pedestrian, or a stationary object. If you get injured by a driver who blames the crash on faulty brakes, how do you recover damages?

In this blog, Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak discuss brake failure and when a driver may be liable if a crash results and causes harm to others.

After a car crash caused by another driver’s negligence, we recommend seeking legal help right away. Our knowledgeable auto accident attorneys in South Bend are ready to help you pursue a full settlement to cover your medical expenses, vehicle damages, and other losses.

Call today at (844)-678-1800 to request a free case review.

What Drivers Should Do After a Brake Failure Incident?

If you are injured by a driver in a brake failure crash,  there are steps you need to take to protect your legal interests and your health.

  • Call 9-1-1: As with every crash, it is vital that you get the police and medical assistance to the scene as soon as possible.
  • Check yourself and others for injuries
  • Take photos of the damaged vehicles as well as the crash scene – but only if you do not put yourself or others at risk of further injury.
  • See if there were any witnesses nearby who saw what happened
  • Note your surroundings for traffic cameras that may have captured the crash
  • Seek immediate medical attention to rule out any serious or life-threatening injuries
  • Notify the insurance company about the crash
  • Seek legal help as soon as possible to help ensure your legal interests are protected

When police arrive at the scene, you will need to provide a statement about what happened. Be honest, but do not ramble with unnecessary details. You should also not apologize or admit to any fault. Your statement will be documented in the police report. Saying you are sorry, for instance, could be used by the insurance company later to say you were partially to blame.

What Are The Most Common Causes of Brake Failure?

Fortunately, brake failure results in relatively few car accidents. However, it is still necessary to properly maintain your brakes as recommended by the manufacturer. The most common causes of brake failure include:

  • Owner neglect – improper vehicle maintenance
  • Hydraulic fluid leakage
  • Driving through mud or water
  • Worn brake pads
  • Damaged rotor discs
  • Overloading your automobile
  • Loss of hydraulic brake fluid pressure

All brakes experience wear and tear over time, which is why you need to be sure to have them checked and properly maintained.

What Are The Warning Signs of Brake Failure?

Brakes rarely fail without some prior notice that something is going wrong. In addition to getting regular maintenance, these are some of the warning signs that indicate you may have a problem with your brakes:

  • The brake light comes on
  • High-pitched, squealing or screeching noises when you try to brake
  • Grinding noises when you press the brake
  • The steering wheel vibrates when pressing the brake.
  • Leaking brake fluid
  • The brake pedal feels spongy or soft.
  • Burning smell when braking (could mean the brakes have overheated)
  • The vehicle pulls to one side when braking.

Drivers should regularly maintain their vehicles to avoid crashes due to brake failure. When drivers notice any of the following warning signs above, they should visit their local mechanics to get the issue resolved. Doing so helps to keep roads safe for themselves and other drivers.

Who Can Be Liable for a Brake Failure Crash?

Most of the time, the party responsible for a brake failure crash is the owner of the vehicle. If you have a car, it is your legal duty to maintain it to prevent causing harm to yourself and to others.

Additionally, Indiana is an at-fault state. Therefore, even if a driver can prove that his or her crash was due to brake failure, he or she will likely be held liable for the damages.

Can Auto Manufacturers Be Liable For Brake Failure?

If the driver can prove he or she properly maintained his or her brakes, there are others who could be responsible for your damages. For instance, if an investigation shows the brake failure was due to an issue the car manufacturer knew or should have known about. In this situation, the manufacturer may be liable for failing to issue a recall.

A recall is usually issued when a manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finds a vehicle part dangerous or does not meet safety standards. Manufacturers are required to fix the problem or take the vehicle off the market.

Vehicle owners can search the NHTSA website at any time to see if their cars have any open recalls.

What if Brake Failure happens To a Company Car?

Liability can get complex when you are involved in a car crash with a company’s vehicle. Employers could be partly responsible if they have failed to properly maintain their company’s vehicles.

Call Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak To Further Discuss Your Indiana Car Accident Case

If you have been in a car accident, seeking legal assistance can help you get the compensation you need to recover your damages.

At Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak, our attorneys have the knowledge and resources to help you proceed with your case. We do not charge you any upfront costs and only get paid after our attorney recovers your compensation.

Call our office at (844)-678-1800 today to speak to an attorney.

Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak

Serious Attorneys for Serious Cases