How to Recognize Standard Brake Problems With Semitrucks

March 20, 2021 Truck Accident Blog

Common Brake Problems That Are Found in Semitrucks

Large semitrucks can be affected by numerous mechanical issues, many of which take place in the brake system. In 2018, around 150,000 people were injured in crashes that directly involved larger trucks. If you’ve recently been involved in a truck accident and you believe that the accident was the result of a mechanical failure, it’s important to understand how brake problems can develop in a semitruck.

Braking Problems That Can Occur in Semitrucks

While driver error is responsible for some of the truck accidents that occur throughout the U.S., it’s also common for these accidents to be the result of mechanical failure. When semitruck accidents are investigated, mechanical violations will be looked for to determine if the truck should have been kept off the road. Even though tire failures, lighting problems, and complete engine breakdowns can cause semitrucks to get into accidents, these accidents may also be the result of brake problems that went undetected.

When brakes fail or malfunction in some way, the driver of the truck will almost certainly be unable to properly stop their vehicle. Even if the brakes haven’t given out entirely, damage to brakes can still make it more difficult for a truck driver to slow down their vehicle before an accident occurs. If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, it’s important that you know the cause of the accident to make sure that you’re seeking compensation from the right entity.

Along with total failure, there are several additional ways that brakes can malfunction. For instance, the brakes may not release correctly or may not be applied to the wheels with the proper force. Brake failure can occur as the result of defective parts or because the brakes aren’t regularly maintained. If inspections were performed incorrectly or didn’t take place as often as they should have, it’s possible that notable issues with the brakes were overlooked.

Warning Signs That Indicate Brake Problems

Brakes can malfunction for numerous reasons, the primary of which occurs when the brake shoes become misaligned. Each brake is outfitted with two brake shoes that are designed to become worn-out evenly. In the event that one shoe wears out and becomes thinner more quickly than the other, an imbalance will be created that places an undue amount of stress on the thinner brake shoe. Problematic friction will then be created as the lining of the shoe rubs against the brake drum. At this point, scraping noises can be heard, which indicates that more severe problems may occur in the near future.

Semitrucks differ from passenger vehicles in that their brakes are powered by a pneumatic system that uses air pressure to stop the vehicle. It’s possible for the air line that delivers the air pressure to break or crack, which means that pressing down on the brake pedals might not allow the vehicle to come to a full and quick stop.

The air compressor within the pneumatic system may also be damaged, which would create issues with air distribution to the brakes. The presence of any of these problems means that the brakes are likely close to malfunctioning and need to be repaired. However, these brake problems can be difficult to detect, which is why accidents can still happen before they are caught and corrected.

Who Is at Fault for an Accident Involving Brake Problems?

When driver error is involved in a truck accident, it may be easy to pinpoint who was at fault for the accident. However, driver error isn’t always the cause. If you’ve been involved in an accident that you believe occurred because of mechanical failure with one of these vehicles, it’s important that you understand who would be liable for your injuries. When you contact one of our trucking accident attorneys, we can help you identify if the truck that caused the accident was defective.

When a mechanical failure is suspected, the vehicle will be investigated to determine the cause of the accident. In the event that the semitruck wasn’t properly inspected and maintained, the driver would likely be at fault for the accident. On the other hand, it’s possible that poor maintenance caused the brakes to be faulty, which means that another party may be responsible.

Aside from the driver, the main person who could be held responsible for injuries sustained during an accident would be a mechanic who worked on the vehicle. Whether the truck underwent recent maintenance or a part that was installed in the vehicle malfunctioned, the repair shop or mechanic themselves may be liable.

If the mechanical defect is caused by the way the vehicle was designed or built, the manufacturer of the truck could be at fault for the accident. Even if the part that caused the accident wasn’t necessarily defective, the manufacturer may be liable. If you want to determine who is at fault for the accident that you were involved in, you should speak with our New Jersey trucking accident attorney. We know what to look for when investigating an accident and will use witness statements, accident reports, and other information to paint a detailed picture of the accident and how it occurred.

Compensation You Could Obtain for Your Injuries

No matter which party is liable for the accident that caused your injuries, there are numerous types of compensation that you can seek if you file a lawsuit. In a personal injury case, the types of compensation you could claim include special compensatory damages, general compensatory damages, and wrongful death damages. For special compensatory damages, there’s typically no limit to the amount that can be claimed. These damages can include:

  • Loss of current or future earnings
  • Medical expenses
  • Expenses for future health care
  • Household expenses

General compensatory damages refer to any nonmonetary damages that can be claimed in a personal injury case. These damages extend to:

  • Loss of companionship
  • Mental anguish
  • Pain and suffering

Since these damages are less specific, different calculations can be used to determine the amount of compensation you’ll receive if your claim is awarded. Wrongful death damages only apply if a death occurred as a result of the accident. Damages that can be sought for a wrongful death claim include:

  • Loss of financial contribution from the deceased individual
  • Loss of support and services
  • Funeral expenses
  • Cost of medical care that occurred before death

There are several things that can happen when filing a case. If fault cannot be established, the claim may be dismissed altogether. In the majority of cases, the defendant will settle, which means that a settlement is reached without going to court. If the case goes to court, it will need to be presented before a judge, after which a verdict will be made. When the defendant has insurance, their insurance provider will likely pay some or all of the damages that are owed. Even if the entity at fault is a mechanic or the manufacturer of the vehicle, insurance usually covers the compensation associated with the claim.

If you have recently been involved in a truck accident and would like to learn more about your legal options, call us today at (732) 394-1549 to speak with one of our representatives. We have offices in New Brunswick and Somerville.

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