Brake failure accidents are not common. This is because vehicles have two brake systems, and when one has a malfunction, the driver will use the other one. However, when brake failure occurs, it can result in very severe accidents and severe injuries on the victims. The most common types of accidents that result from brake failure include head-on collisions and rear-end car collisions. If you or your loved one is injured in an accident resulting from brake failure, you are entitled to compensation for those injuries. Receiving maximum payment in a personal injury claim can be difficult. Therefore, we at the Orange County Personal Injury Attorney are here to offer the legal help you need while pursuing your compensation.
Overview or Brake Failure
Brake failure is an aspect of vehicle malfunction that can cause accidents. Several things could cause brake failure in a car, including:
- Overheating of the brakes
- Damage to the brake pads or rotors
- Poorly attached hydraulic line
Although modern technology has reduced the instances of brake failure, the problem arises. Brake failure can result in serious head-on collisions and rear-end car collisions. Drivers and car owners must ensure that all parts of the vehicle are functioning correctly before driving on the roads. Also, the manufacturers of vehicle parts must ensure that the brakes are in proper functioning conditions when selling the vehicle.
Brake failure may occur on the road when the driver is on the wheel and causes an accident. Sometimes an underlying problem that was not corrected could cause the failure of the brakes. If you or your loved one is injured in an accident resulting from brake failure, you can claim compensation. Also, if a loved one dies in such an accident, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the liable party.
One of the most challenging aspects of accidents that involve brake failure is to identify and prove liability. Sometimes the driver may have failed to identify and correct a problem before driving. In other cases, an auto repair shop may be liable for the accident if they did not make appropriate repairs. If the brake failure is a result of problems in manufacture, the manufacturer can be held responsible for your injuries.
It is crucial to understand that there can be several liable parties in your accident; you just need to identify them and prove their contribution to brake failure. However, brake failure is incredibly challenging to prove, and much will depend on evidence from the scene and witness reports. After an accident, it is essential to keep photographic evidence and identify witnesses who were at the scene. With the help of a competent personal injury attorney, you can identify the liable party in the accident and recover maximum compensation.
Types of Accidents Caused by Brake Failure
When brake failure occurs, a driver may not be able to engage the brakes on time and can cause impact with other vehicles, especially when moving at high speed. Sometimes the brakes will engage too fast and stop the car unexpectedly, which may cause other drivers to hit the vehicle from behind. The following are some of the most common accidents that can result from brake failure:
Rear-End Car Collisions
Rear-end car collisions occur when the driver in the back hits the one in the front from behind. In most cases, brake failure is a contributing factor to such an accident. Sometimes the rear driver will be held liable for the crash if they did not stop the vehicle on time or did not keep the right distance from the lead driver. When driving in a crowded area, they should follow the right distance with the vehicle in front of them. However, when the brake system fails, it would be challenging to stop causing a crash. In this case, the rear driver may be held liable for the accident and any other person who may have contributed to the failure of the brakes.
On the other hand, a rear-end collision may occur when a lead driver stops in the wrong place. When the lead vehicle suddenly stops at a place where it is t supposed to due to rake failure, the driver may be held liable for the injuries resulting in such an accident. Determining who is at fault in the rear-end collision is crucial since it helps determine the party who will compensate you. Proving that brake failure was the cause of an accident can be complicated. Therefore, it is crucial to seek legal guidance when filing the compensation claim.
All drivers must ensure the safety of other drivers and road users. By driving a vehicle with faulty brakes, a driver poses a threat to the safety of other people. Sometimes when a pedestrian is crossing, and the car is supposed to stop, brake failure may cause the vehicle to hit you. Pedestrian accidents are fatal since there is a direct impact of your body with the car. If brake failure caused a driver to hit you, you could file a compensation claim against the driver. Also, the manufacturer of the brakes could be held liable for your accident. This will be the case if a design or manufacturing problem caused the failure.
Rollover accidents produce the most severe injuries you can expect from an accident. A rollover accident resulting from brake failure can occur when you try to park your vehicle. When you park, you are likely to engage the parking brake, especially when parking on a sloppy area. However, after turning off the car, the driver may realize that the brake did not engage, and the driver is still rolling. Most drivers have no option after realizing that they have lost the ability to brake. The vehicle may hit other cars or objects, causing severe injuries to themselves and other people.
Injuries Caused by Brake Failure
Although most accidents caused by defective brakes are severe, the severity of the injuries sustained will depend on the speed at which the vehicle was traveling. Some of the most common damages that could result from brake failure accidents include:
Neck and Shoulder Injuries
Most brake failure accidents will cause injury to the neck and shoulder muscles. Whiplash is a version of neck muscle injury which occurs when a car suddenly stops. The body will move forward and backward at high speed damaging the muscles of your neck. Whiplash injuries will manifest in neck and shoulder pains. When the accident is severe, you may experience headaches, blurred vision, and instability.
Head and Brain Injuries
Most vehicle accidents will cause injury to your head. When the accident is less severe, you may suffer minor scrapes or cuts. However, for severe accidents, you may experience a traumatic brain injury. A brain injury will occur after a high impact on your head or penetration of sharp objects. Damage to the brain is difficult to detect and thus very dangerous. It is essential to get a medical checkup after an accident. This will facilitate the timely detection of injuries and treatment. If you suffer head or brain injuries from a brake failure accident, you are entitled to compensation. With guidance from a personal injury attorney, you have a better chance of success in the personal injury lawsuit.
When a brake accident occurs, your body is likely to be hit by hard objects in the vehicle. This may result in breaking the bones of your back. The spinal column costs of vertebra cushioned with discs, which may get dislocated when your upper body is whipped. The symptoms of back injuries will depend on the severity and nature of the accident. Back injuries may range from pain and dislocation of bones and discomfort to severe spinal cord injuries.
Sometimes broken bone fragments could enter the spinal canal, causing damage. Once the spinal cord has been affected, you can experience paralysis or even damage to the vital organs like the bladder. The best thing you can do after an accident is to seek medical care as soon as possible. This will help in the early diagnosis of your injuries and facilitate compensation.
Cuts and Scrapes
Brake failure, especially when parking a vehicle, can cause the car to rollover. In such an accident, the glasses on vehicle windows may shatter, causing you scrapes and cuts. These injuries could be minor, requiring little treatment. However, when an object penetrates your body, it can cause severe damages to your internal orgasm. Regardless of the severity of our injuries, you can file a claim for compensation.
Liable Parties in Brake Failure Accidents
When brake failure causes an accident, the most crucial thing is finding the responsible party so you can claim compensation. There can be several liable parties in the accident; you just need to prove their negligence and how it contributed to the accident. With the help of an attorney, you can find the liable party and get compensation for your injuries. However, you will be required to prove the following elements of negligence before getting compensation:
- Duty of care. When showing that a particular individual was liable for your injuries, you need to prove that they owed you a duty of care. All drivers owe a duty of care to their road users and are obliged to ensure their safety.
- Reach of duty. Even though a person owed you a duty of care, you need to show how they breached that duty. If you are involved in a brake failure accident, a breach of duty may have occurred when the driver failed to check and repair the brake system before driving. Also, a manufacturer breaches duty by making defective products.
- When proving negligence and liability in a personal injury claim, it must be clear how a breach of duty caused the accident. Even though it should not be the only contributing factor, the breach of duty must have been a substantial factor. Also, you will claim compensation if you suffered some injuries as a result of the brake failure accident.
Some of the individuals who could be held liable for brake failure include:
- The Driver of the Vehicle. Drivers have a responsibility to ensure that all parts of the vehicle are in good condition before operating the vehicle. Failure to do this may cause a problem with the brakes causing an accident. When you file a personal injury claim, the driver could be held liable for your injuries. With the help of a knowledgeable attorney, you can prove that the driver failed to check and repair the brakes, thus causing the accident.
- If you are involved in an accident where defective parts may have been a contributing factor, you need to prove liability. Under product liability, if the brakes that caused the accident had a design or manufacturing defect, the manufacturer can be held liable for your injuries. Your attorney will be required to prove that the fault was dangerous so you can hold the manufacturer of the brakes responsible for the accident.
- Auto repair experts. Sometimes a driver can take their vehicle to an auto repair shop, but the experts fail to make appropriate repairs. If it is clear that the car was taken for repair, but it was not done correctly, the auto repair experts will be liable for your injuries.
- Vehicle owners. Especially when the vehicle is for public transport or cargo, the owners should do regular checks and repair of vehicles before entrusting them to the drivers. When an accident is caused by brake failure, the vehicle owners may be one of the liable parties in your lawsuit.
Compensation benefits in a Brake Failure Lawsuit
After an accident caused by defective brakes, it is only right that you get compensation from the liable party. By filing a personal injury claim, you will be eligible to receive compensation benefits. In a successful personal injury claim, you will receive both economic and no-economic benefits:
Medical Care Benefits
Most accidents resulting from brake failure will cause severe injuries. Immediately after an accident, it is vital to seek medical care. This will help identify the injuries that you don’t feel and avoid the worsening of preexisting injuries. Regardless of the severity of the accident, you can claim compensation for your medical bills.
In most cases, the parties involved in the accident will not accept liability. Therefore, you will be required to pay your medical bills until compensation is done. You have different options through which you can pay your medical bills. However, the best option is using a medical insurance cover. When using the cover, medical practitioners cannot charge you more than the coverage.
If you do not have medical insurance, the government allows the hospitals to give you a discount on the bills. Also, you can get medical care on a lien basis where the bills will get paid with the returns from the lawsuit. However, it is crucial to understand that when settling on a lien basis, you will cater to medical bills that exceed your compensation. A successful lawsuit will earn you compensation for:
- Ambulance bills
- Emergency room fees
- Prescription medications
- X-rays a diagnosis of your injuries
- Future medical expenses
When brake failure causes an accident, you may suffer very severe injuries. Depending on the type of accident and speed of vehicles, your injuries could range from minor to very severe. The time you spend recovering from your injuries could keep you away from your job. This will include time spent entirely away from work or missing work hours to get treatment. This can result in losing the amount you would have earned during the time you were away.
Before getting compensation for the lost wages, you have to prove that you missed the opportunity to work by producing the following documents:
- A lost Wages letter. If you have regular employment, the fastest way through which you can prove lost wages is by providing a letter from your employer. The letter will contain the details of your work, including the nature of your employment, and the amount you make hourly. This will aid in determining the amount you would have earned at the time you were nursing your injuries.
- Tax returns documents. It may be challenging to obtain a lost wage letter when you have irregular employment. In this case, you can establish the lost wages using pay stubs and tax returns. You can request copies of these documents from the Internal Revenue Service.
- Providing documents to support self-employment. If you are self-employed, you can prove the lost wages by producing documents that indicate the amount you would have made during the time you were unable to work. Some of the papers that could support lost self-employment income are the billing statements of the months preceding the injury.
Lost Future Earning Capacity
After a crash, you may suffer injuries that take a lifetime to heal. Other injuries will incapacitate you for some time. Lost earning capacity is the loss in your ability to make in the future. This is calculated by finding the difference in the amount you would be earning without the injuries and what you earn given your injuries. You can receive compensation for lost earning capacity if your injuries have not been resolved by the date of trial. Also, it is crucial to understand that our injuries do not need to be permanent for you to get compensation. After a brake failure accident, you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit, after which you may lose your right to compensation.
Lost earning capacity can be calculated in the form of:
- Overtime pay
- Income from self-employment
- Vacation and sick days pay
- Commission and bonuses
There are factors that a civil court will consider when determining the amount of compensation you will receive for lost earning capacity:
- The severity of the injuries a duration of incapacitation
- Your age and life expectancy
- When you decide to return to your regular job
- Your past earning
- Your state of health before the accident. You may be asked to provide your medical records dating five years back.
If you are seeking to get compensation for future lost earning capacity after a rake failure accident, you will require competent legal representation.
Wrongful Death Damages
Brake failure accidents can be fatal, especially when the vehicles involved were traveling at high speed. If your loved one is killed in a brake failure accident, you can file for compensation. By submitting a wrongful death claim, you will have a chance to recover compensation for wrongful death. However, you may be required to prove the negligence of the liable party.
The following are some family members that could be allowed to file for wrongful death:
- Children of the deceased
- Spouse and domestic partner
- Grandchildren in the case where the children are also deceased
- Individuals who are entitled to the property of the deceased legally
Although you may be having a difficult time after losing your loved one, seeking compensation can help offset the financial expenses that come with death. A successful lawsuit may see you get a benefit for burial and funeral expenses.
Find a Competent Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death in California. There are many ways in which a road accident can occur, including brake failure. When a drive fails to engage the brakes on time due to a malfunction, it could result in a crash. Fortunately, if you are injured in an accident that was caused by brake failure, you can claim compensation benefits. By filing a personal injury claim, you can recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and lost earning capacity as well as pain and suffering. When going through the process of filing the claim and proving liability in the accident, you will require legal guidance. At Orange County Personal Injury Attorney, we work with victims of accidents to help them seek compensation. Contact us today at 714-876-1959 to get our help.