Truck Accident Due To Brake Failure in Utah
Trucks that experience brake failure pose a threat to anyone in their path. Stopping a fully loaded 18-wheeler requires extra time, even when operating optimally. Defective brakes only increase the danger. Many truck accident victims struggle with painful injuries, huge medical costs, and life-changing losses.
Determining the cause of a truck accident involving brake malfunctions is not straightforward. Some crashes happen because truck companies fail to perform maintenance on their fleets to save money. Other wrecks result from a faulty design or breakdown in the manufacturing process. In either case, Utah law allows injured victims to seek compensation for their losses after a collision.
Identifying who caused the crash and how to hold them liable is challenging. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Swenson & Shelley provide aggressive and effective representation to accident victims and their families. We can identify all potential sources of compensation and negotiate aggressively to maximize the money you receive. Call or contact us today for a free consultation with a truck accident lawyer in Utah.
Why Brake Failure in Trucks is Dangerous
Every motorist relies on their vehicle’s brakes to slow or stop them while driving. However, the massive size difference between the average car and a tractor-trailer makes brake failure in a truck especially dangerous. The force of impact when a truck hits a smaller motor vehicle is immense, and the occupants of the other car almost always suffer the worst injuries.
Sadly, brake failure is an ongoing problem within the trucking industry. A historical study from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) examined the top contributing factors in large truck accidents. The findings pointed to disturbing statistics regarding commercial vehicle accidents caused by brake failure:
Commercial trucks with brake issues are 170 percent more likely than trucks with functioning brakes to be the source of the critical reason behind a truck accident.
Over three years, nearly one in three large trucks involved in accidents reportedly experienced pre-crash braking problems.
Brake defects were among the top 10 factors associated with truck accidents.
Other FMCSA statistics indicate that around one-third of commercial truck inspections reveal some brake defect.
Talk to a truck accident lawyer immediately if brake failure contributed to the crash that injured you.
Possible Causes of Brake Failure
Today’s commercial trucks primarily have air brakes, which use pressurized air to compress special pistons that, in turn, press brake shoes to slow the vehicle. Compared to hydraulic brake systems, which are standard in most personal vehicles, air brake systems are more complex and vulnerable to issues stemming from the following:
- Imbalances – A poorly balanced or calibrated component in an air brake system may cause certain brakes to exert more force than others, causing a truck driver to lose control of the rig.
- Overheating – Truck brakes are subjected to extreme friction, which can cause dangerous overheating, especially if drivers need to brake frequently while traveling downhill.
- Misalignment – Brake shoes, which compress the brake drums and stop truck wheels from spinning, can wear unevenly and become less reliable if misaligned.
- Residue and corrosion – Air brake systems are more susceptible to corrosion and failure when water, oils, or other residues leak into air reservoirs.
- Faulty compressors – If the compressor in a truck’s air brake system is poorly calibrated, the air in its brake lines may build up or dissipate too slowly, affecting braking ability.
- Poor braking technique – Correctly operating air brakes takes training and experience. Inexperienced drivers who overwork the brakes are at increased risk of brake failure.
- Poor maintenance – When truck owners and operators neglect to inspect or maintain air brake systems consistently, normal wear and tear can lead to failure.
- Overloaded cargo – If cargo loading teams or drivers overload trucks, the surplus weight can strain air brakes to their limit and cause brake failure.
- Design flaws – Air brakes sometimes fail because of a defective design or flaws arising during the manufacturing process, which means automakers may be liable for a crash.
Who is Responsible for a Truck Brake Failure Accident?
Utah follows a no-fault system for traffic accident claims, so you must typically file any accident claims with your own insurance provider first. But if your medical costs exceed $3,000 or you suffer especially severe injuries, Utah personal injury laws allow you to seek compensation from any parties responsible for the accident. Potential defendants include:
- Truck drivers – Truckers may be responsible if they fail to conduct required pre-trip brake inspections or use unsafe braking techniques.
- Trucking companies – A truck owner or company may be at fault if it fails to conduct annual inspections or hold drivers accountable for pre-trip checks. Truck companies can also be liable for accidents caused by employees rather than independent contractors.
- Maintenance crews – A truck maintenance shop or provider might be at fault if it fails to adequately inspect, maintain, or repair a truck’s air brake system.
- Cargo loading teams – A cargo loading team or company may be liable if its overloading of a trailer contributed to brake failure and the resulting collision.
- Brake manufacturers – A truck’s air brake manufacturer might be at fault if the brakes fail due to poor-quality design, assembly, or installation.
In some cases, more than one party plays a role in a trucking accident. Holding each one accountable is essential to maximize your compensation. A defective brake truck accident lawyer will determine who is responsible and demand money from all possible sources.
How to Prove Brake Failure Contributed to a Truck Wreck
The Utah truck accident lawyers at Swenson & Shelley collect detailed evidence to establish that brake failure led to a collision. Examples of potential evidence include:
- Post-accident truck brake inspection results
- The police accident report
- Digital data from electronic logging devices (ELDs)
- Truck driver global positioning system (GPS) data
- Crash and pre-crash event data from the truck’s black box
- Truck driver personal and/or company cell phone records
- Pre-trip brake inspection reports
- Truck driver licensing, training, and safety records
- Trucking company dispatch instructions and employment records
- Truck owner or company annual brake inspection reports
- Cargo loading records, manifests, and bills of lading
- Photographs from the crash scene
- Video footage from dash cams and traffic cameras
- Models and analyses from accident reconstruction specialists
- Expert testimony regarding defective brake designs or manufacturing flaws
- Witness statements
Our attorneys will use the available evidence to build a persuasive case for compensation for you.
Fighting for Justice When Truck Crashes Happen Due to Faulty Vehicle Parts
Going up against a Utah insurance company or big corporation after a truck accident is a gigantic undertaking. Truck accident cases are often high-dollar claims due to severe injuries and the long-term impacts of a crash on a victim’s life. No insurer is going to make a big payout without a fight. A truck accident attorney is your best chance at recovering the compensation you deserve.
A lawyer can help by:
- Explaining your rights and possible sources of compensation
- Determining the potential value of your case
- Identifying liable parties
- Conducting an independent investigation of the truck accident
- Communicating with truck companies, insurers, and other parties
- Obtaining valuable evidence to support your case
- Gathering witness and expert testimony
- Managing all documents, details, and deadlines for you
- Filing truck crash insurance claims and negotiating to maximize your settlement
- Filing a lawsuit and representing you at trial, if necessary
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer for Air Brake Failure
If you were severely injured in a defective brake truck accident, reach out to Swenson & Shelley today. Our award-winning truck accident lawyers can answer your questions and review your case for free. Call or contact us today.