Brake failure is one of the common reasons for road accidents in California. When brakes fail, the accident’s injuries can be mild or catastrophic, mainly depending on the vehicle’s speed. Failure of the braking system is one of the most serious mechanical failures in a car because of its significance in the safety of the occupants and other road users. When you own a car, it is critical to regularly service it to ensure optimal functioning, even its brakes.
Brakes fail because of various reasons, resulting in catastrophic accidents in some cases. The injuries are also significant, causing you to suffer severe damage as you recover from the accident’s consequences. If you crash and you suspect your brakes failed, an experienced lawyer from Los Angeles Accident Attorney can assist you in recovering your damages or losses.
When Accidents Occur Due to Brake Failure
The concern of most road users and the state is safety on the roads. The state of California has stringent laws aimed at enhancing road safety and avoiding accidents. However, accidents still happen every day, resulting in severe injuries and deaths.
The population in California is high, making the number of cars on our roads equally high. The roads are used by different types of drivers, with some being fast drivers, others careless, yet others are obedient to the traffic rules.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that many accidents on our roads are out of driver errors. Drunk driving, speeding, fatigue, and recklessness are significant contributors to these errors that cause significant damages. However, not all crashes are due to the mistake of a driver.
Road and weather conditions and brake failures are some of the other reasons accidents happen. A vehicle can develop various kinds of mechanical problems with brake failure, one of the prevalent ones causing catastrophic accidents.
Vehicles come with various safety features, with the braking system being one of the most significant ones. When faced with an emergency on the road, instinctively, you will press on your brakes, hoping to come to an immediate stop. If your car responds well by stopping, you will likely avoid the danger or reduce its impact. However, if the brakes fail you when you need them most, you will not prevent the threat and are likely to suffer significant damages as a result.
Drivers are easy to assume their brakes are okay at all times, putting faith in them. Unfortunately, vehicles often have their brakes fail or the braking system malfunctions. This makes it critical to ensure your brakes are checked and serviced regularly to avoid their failure or identify any potential problem.
When your brakes fail, you are likely to have no control over your vehicle, resulting in a crash with another car, a pedestrian, or even a stationary object. Your brakes may not entirely fail, but even partial failure can result in a severe accident. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to detect problems with your brakes if you are a careful driver. You may hear strange noises being produced by your brakes that will sound like a squeak or a grind, and sometimes you may find them spongy. Other times, when you hit on your brakes, you may feel your car drift to one side. All these are signs signaling there is a problem with your braking system. Learning to listen to your car is vital to avoid avoidable accidents.
Another sign of a malfunctioning braking system is when you notice your brake pedal looking stuck lower than its usual position, or hitting the floor sluggishly when pressed. Brake fluid is another significant aspect of the braking system. This is often overlooked or ignored and can cause serious problems. Many drivers get into their cars and drive off without checking if their vehicles are safe to drive. You must always check on your brakes because they are a significant part of your safety.
The reasons why brakes fail are varied. An error by the manufacturer, poor vehicle maintenance, or negligence is why brakes fail. Regardless of why your brakes fail, you must remember their failure results in serious crashes and must be avoided when possible.
Liability in Brake Failure Accident
When an accident occurs due to your failed brakes, you may not be liable to pay the damages resulting in California. The state of California adheres to the at-fault rule when determining liability following an accident. The party responsible for the accident must be established and pay for the damages. However, you must prove that an error by the manufacturer or your auto repair shop is responsible for avoiding paying costs.
Determining liability in this type of accident can be challenging. If you blame the vehicle manufacturer, part manufacturer, or auto repair shop, you must have sufficient evidence to support your claim. You must always remember that no one wants to be liable for damages to fight the allegations you level against them. This makes it crucial to have an experienced attorney that understands the challenges and knows various ways to prove your case.
If your auto repair shop puts in malfunctioning parts or fixes your brakes wrongly, you may not know it. If you get into an accident and determine it was because of faulty brakes, you can seek your damages from the auto repair shop. If the brakes have not been repaired and the fault for the accident is the brake’s failure due to a manufacturing defect, the manufacturer is liable for your losses.
Following an accident, you may also be found responsible for it even when it is the brakes that have failed. When you buy a car in good condition, it is your responsibility to keep it optimal. This includes regular servicing of the brakes and changing various parts when required to. If you fail in your duty and the brakes fail, you are the one to blame and will be liable for the losses.
Compensation laws in California also follow the comparative negligence rule. This rule states that when the fault is shared among various parties, damages must also be shared. If you crash and bear partial responsibility for the accident, you will still receive your costs under this rule. For instance, you were driving, and at an intersection, your brakes failed. On the other side, a motorist refused to give way and entered the intersection, resulting in crashing into each other. Your brakes may have failed because you never maintained them well, and the other motorist owed you a duty of care. From this, both of you have a certain degree of fault that will result in shared responsibility for the damages.
When you sue the other party for damages, they may claim you’re the reason for the accident. Even before the lawsuit, the other person’s insurance company will claim you were partially responsible for the accident, if not entirely. This causes the disagreement that can result in both parties seeking legal redress for their damages.
When your lawyer files a petition for your losses, the court will offer a date when the hearing commences. Both parties present their cases, and the jury determines if the fault is shared or not. If you are found to share responsibility in the accident, the degree or percentage of your contribution is determined. Under pure comparative negligence rule, each party will receive damages based on their percentage contribution to the accident.
How to Seek Compensation for an Accident Due to Brake Failure
Following a traffic accident, compensation for losses suffered is primarily left to the party responsible for the accident. This is the entity that failed in their duty or was negligent might be in their driving, ensuring roads are well maintained, manufacturing car parts, or servicing the car. When an accident occurs in California, establishing fault is critical to getting compensated. If your brakes failed you, it must be determined whose fault it was for their failure.
Getting compensated for your damages is not always straightforward. Engaging an attorney experienced in compensation law is crucial to your successful compensation. When the accident happens, you must gather critical information that your lawyer will use in your claim. Always remember that the other party involved in the accident or you are blaming for the accident will not readily accept blame. Because of this, substantial evidence of responsibility makes your compensation case smoother and quicker to settle.
If your brakes fail you and you end up in an accident, the first thing to do is move to a safe distance to avoid more injuries. Checking on the other persons involved in the accident is also critical, and helping them if you can. The next thing consists of calling for help. The emergency line operator will dispatch paramedics and the police to the accident scene to assist you.
As you wait for help, gathering evidence of the accident will assist in your claim. If you have a smartphone with you, take photos from different accident angles and the surrounding. Pictures of your injuries, if possible, and other victims are also relevant. The images taken are essential in showing that you were in the accident and the parties involved. Additionally, the pictures help accident reconstruction experts piece together what happened and the probable cause of the accident.
Suppose you crashed into another vehicle, exchange details with the other motorist. These details include your names, insurance providers, vehicle identification numbers, your addresses, and all crucial information possible. If you notice a witness to the crash, engage them, and get their details as well. Ask them if they would give a written and signed account of their accident according to their observation. A witness account is crucial in determining fault in a car crash.
When the police arrive at the scene, they may ask you a few questions which you may answer or refer them to your attorney. The police are responsible for writing a report of their findings, highly relied upon in compensation.
Once the emergency personnel arrives at the scene, they will give first aid to you and others involved and take you to the nearest hospital for treatment. Going to the hospital, even when you think you are not severely injured, is critical. Sometimes, you may suffer internal injuries that may not be obvious. Ignoring that and going home is dangerous because you can die from the injuries you never knew you had or suffered more permanent damage.
Explain to your doctor everything you feel and allow them to carry out all the necessary tests to eliminate problems that are not obvious. Your doctor will give a comprehensive report of your injuries and treatment used to claim your damages.
It is crucial to also report the accident to your insurance provider and the DMV within the shortest time possible. The other party may claim you were responsible for their damages and want you to compensate them. Your insurance provider will help protect you from dishonest claims from the other party as you protect them too.
After you are in a safe place or environment, you can engage a personal injury lawyer to follow your claims. Your lawyer will require details of the accident as you collected from the scene to pursue your claim. Suppose you were critically injured and were unable to obtain any evidence. In that case, the police will provide your attorney with the pictures they took and report any information critical to the case.
Next, your lawyer will report to the other insurance party’s provider about the potential claim. If you felt your brakes failed and caused the accident, you must convey it to your attorney and police. Your lawyer works with experts who will investigate your claims about your brakes and determine fault. If brakes are found to have failed, the party responsible, either yourself, the manufacturer of the brakes, or the auto shop, will be established. If the manufacturer released a faulty product into the market, they would be held accountable for the damages.
Once your lawyer has determined fault, a claim is prepared and delivered to the party responsible for your accident. In the document or claim file, the pictures you took from the scene, the witness account, police report, doctor’s report, and any other relevant information is included. Your lawyer will ensure the amount you are seeking in damages is well outlined and supported by the necessary documents.
The other party’s insurance adjuster will study the claim, and if they require carrying an investigation themselves, they can. The adjuster may accept your application or offer you a different amount in compensation, and other times they may refute your claim entirely. Your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf until an agreeable amount is reached. However, if this is not achieved or the insurance company refuses your claim, your lawyer will petition it for your damages.
Injuries Following a Brake Failure Accident
Brake failure can result in some of the most severe accidents witnessed. This type of accident often leaves its victims with various kinds of injuries that include:
- Traumatic brain injuries – When you suffer a forceful impact on your head, you can sustain this injury. The treatment period for these injuries is long, and sometimes it may require you to be under medical care for you to remain alive. Some victims following this injury can be left in a vegetative state requiring round the clock care.
- Injuries to the spinal cord – When your back gets injured following a brake failure accident, the injuries can damage your nerves. In most cases, this leads to partial or permanent paralysis that can see you lose your ability to work or inconveniences you from doing the usual things you did before.
- Broken and fractured bones – You can also sustain injuries that involve the breaking or fracturing of your bones. The treatment for these injuries sometimes may require surgery depending on the severity of correcting the damaged bone.
- Internal injuries – These injuries are not apparent but involve damage to your vital organs and other internal body parts. These injuries often, when they are overlooked, result in death when you bleed excessively in your body.
Depending on the force of impact and the angle you were when the accident occurred, you will suffer different injuries that are costly to treat.
Available Damages Following a Brake Failure Accident
When you get in an accident due to brake failure, you can receive both monetary and non-monetary damages. The financial losses, also known as economic damages, have a quantifiable value supported by documented evidence while the non-monetary or non-economic costs are not measurable.
Economic damages you would involve the things you must raise finances to deal with. Some of these include:
Medical bills – When you get injured following a brake failure accident, the crash’s impact determines the type of injuries you may sustain. Earlier, we discussed the various bodily damages you may suffer and will require medical care. The cost of treatment includes the doctor’s fees, cost of medical procedures carried out, and the medications administered. Sometimes, the injuries you sustain can be substantial, requiring an extended period of treatment. The cost of treating these injuries in the future is also compensable under the compensation laws.
Cost of damaged property – In a traffic accident, the property involved is typically your car. The cost of repairing your vehicle is compensable. The auto repair shop you take your vehicle must give a comprehensive report of the damages and the cost of repair. This report with an invoice attached is part of the claim by your lawyer.
Lost wages – Recovering from injuries takes time, depending on the seriousness of the damages. During your recovery or healing time, you may miss work, meaning you miss on your earnings. The lost wages during your healing time is considered damage for compensation in California.
Lost ability to earn – Brake failure can also lead to catastrophic injuries. If you suffer these types of damages, you may never be able to secure gainful employment. Losing your ability to earn a living following an accident is devastating, yet you have needs. As a result, the laws on compensation allow you to receive damages for your future earnings that you lose due to the accident.
Cost of therapy – When an accident causes significant injuries, you may suffer from psychological distress. This often requires you to seek counseling which is costly and may take longer. Most people that suffer substantial losses in an accident endure psychological trauma as well. The cost of seeking psychological help is compensable under the compensation laws in California.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are losses you suffer but cannot be quantified or supported by a document. The costs for these vary from one victim to the next and are mostly dependent on the injuries sustained. These damages include:
Pain and suffering – An accident leaves its victims with significant pain and distress. It is impossible to quantify the value of the suffering you go through following an accident. However, the severity of your injuries helps in determining the compensation you receive.
A lost body part – An accident can result in you losing part of your body. Sometimes, you can lose the functioning of an arm or a leg while you still have them. The lost body part value is determined, and you will get compensated for it.
Lost companionship – This type of loss is also referred to as lost consortium. This is damage awarded to your intimate partner when you are unable to offer them love or companionship as you did before the accident.
Inconvenience – A brake failure accident results in different kinds of bodily injuries. If you suffered an injury to your spinal cord, you might end up paralyzed, meaning you lose the functioning of some of your body parts. This injury can also confine you to a wheelchair for the rest of your life, inconveniencing you. The value of the inconvenience is determined, and you receive damages for it.
Wrongful death – A brake failure accident can also be severe that a life is lost on the spot or later following the injuries. It is impossible to quantify the value of life, but different things are considered in determining compensation for wrongful death.
Find a Car Accident Lawyer Near Me
Car accidents happen suddenly and are never planned. When accidents happen, they leave you with huge bills ranging from your medical bills to other unquantifiable costs. Fortunately, compensation laws in California allow you to seek compensation for your losses following a road accident. Brake failure accidents are common, and determining the right party to seek damages from is critical. With the help of an experienced lawyer from Los Angeles Accident Attorney, it becomes easier to receive compensation for costs incurred. Call our office to discuss your case in detail at 424-237-3600.