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Who is at fault if defective brakes cause a truck accident?

Defective brakes can cause deadly crashes, especially when those brakes are defective on large trucks. While Washington State law allows accident victims to recover compensation for any injuries they sustain at the hands of another party, determining who is at-fault for a defective brake crash can be difficult. We can help.

Who is responsible when defective brakes cause a truck crash?

The answer is not always easy to determine. Many different people can be responsible for the safe condition of truck brakes. If any of those parties fail in their duty, they can be responsible for a truck crash and any resulting injuries. The following parties can all be liable:

Brake Manufacturer

This is likely your first option. If a manufacturer of a product makes a defective product, the manufacturer is liable for any injuries that occur.

Taking on a manufacturer is quite a challenge though. Manufacturers have teams of lawyers who will try to wear down anyone who is trying to hold them responsible for their negligence. You need a tough, aggressive lawyer on your side, one who will stand up to the manufacturers and demand that they pay for the harm they caused.

Because holding a manufacturer liable is so difficult, you do not need to prove negligence. Instead, you need to prove the following:

  • The manufacturer created an unreasonably dangerous product.
  • The product injured you or someone else while you were using it in a way the manufacturer could have foreseen.
  • The product was not changed substantially after being received.

Semi-trucks defective brakes cause accident.

Truck Driver

Truck drivers must perform a daily safety check on their trucks, and write a report of all problems found. There are two ways in which a truck driver can be liable for defective brakes based upon the duty to inspect:

  • If the truck driver failed to perform the required safety inspection of the vehicle or did an incomplete or inept inspection; and
  • If the truck driver did an inspection but failed to report defective brakes on his report.

 

However, even if the truck driver is responsible, the liable party will be the trucking company under the laws of vicarious liability. Vicarious liability holds employers liable for their employees’ actions so long as the employees acted in the scope of their employment.

Trucking Company

In addition to being vicariously liable for their drivers’ actions, trucking companies can also be directly liable if they do not inspect their trucks regularly or if they failed to repair defective or worn brakes.

Truck Maintenance/Repair Company

Many trucking companies hire other companies to perform needed repairs and to do the necessary maintenance to ensure safety on the roads. If the maintenance/repair company did not do its job correctly, it will be liable. A truck maintenance and repair company could be liable if it forgot to check the brakes during regular maintenance.

A truck maintenance/repair company can also be liable if it was negligent in performing required service on the brakes, or if it incorrectly installed the brakes. If the brakes failed and caused a collision, the maintenance company will be liable for any injuries that occurred.

How can I get help?

If you have been injured in an accident caused by defective truck brakes, you have an uphill battle. Holding a trucking company or manufacturer liable alone can be almost impossible.

You need a lawyer on your side who will take on the trucking company, the maintenance/repair company, the manufacturer, and anyone else who may be at fault in the accident.

The truck accident legal team at Max Meyers Law will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. We will determine what evidence you need, send spoliation letters when necessary, gather all the necessary evidence, and negotiate with the at-fault parties to recover the compensation you need. And we do this without charging a fee until you win. Call us today at 425-242-5595 for your free consultation.

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