What Tractor-Trailer Crash Victims Need to Know about Brake-Related Trucking Accidents


December 11, 2013

If you are involved in a tractor-trailer accident caused by brake failure, the force of the impact can be so devastating that crippling injuries and wrongful death are often the result. The drastic weight difference between a semi-truck and passenger car means that the failure of a commercial carrier to properly inspect and maintain the brakes of a big-rig can result in serious collisions. Approximately a half a million trucking accidents occur every year according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). When brakes fail in trucking accidents, the risk to others on the roadways is extremely high because DOT data reveals that one in every eight traffic fatalities involves a large truck.

Federal regulations impose strict requirements on big-rig brake manufacturers when it comes to standards for tractor-trailer brake performance. Manufacturer big-rig brakes must meet the following requirements:

  • The big-rig must be able to slow from a speed of twenty mph to a stop within a certain time based on the size of the vehicle.
  • The vehicle must meet automatic brake adjustment systems requirements.
  • The brakes must build a specified braking force based on the weight of the tractor-trailer.

If a collision occurs because the brakes of a commercial truck do not comply with these standards, the brake manufacturer may be liable for injuries resulting from the substandard brakes. Product liability claims base on defective brakes will usually be founded on either the claim that the brakes were not properly designed or that some defect arose during the manufacturing process causing the brakes to deviate from the product specifications.

When the federal government determines that the braking systems or components installed on big-rigs are defective, the feds may require the manufacturer of the brake part or brake system to issue a recall. If the brakes on a commercial truck are subject to recall, this constitutes strong evidence of negligence. When the recall is never issued by the brake manufacturer, this may provide evidence of negligence by the company that manufactured the brakes. In situations where the product recall was issued but the commercial carrier failed to take remedial steps, the trucking company may be liable. If you or someone you love is injured in a trucking accident where the semi-truck's brakes do not function properly, an experienced Atlanta tractor-trailer lawyer at Montlick and Associates may be able to advise you about any recall on the brake components.

Even when the brake systems are not defective, they may fail to function properly because the trucking company does not comply with requirements that the brakes be inspected and maintained which involves checking for leaks in the brake chamber, functioning of the brake shoes and loose brake components. Sometimes commercial trucking companies will intentionally disable the front brakes of the cab so that the brakes of the trailer and gear shifting bear the entire load of the truck when slowing or stopping. This step may be taken to minimize brake and tire wear and reduce operating costs.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years Experience to Work For You

When the brakes fail on a tractor-trailer because of defective brakes, inadequately inspected or maintained brakes and/or improper use of the brakes by a driver, this may provide a basis for financial compensation for injuries or wrongful death in a Georgia trucking accident. If you experience serious injury or a loved one dies in a Atlanta trucking accident, our Atlanta truck accident attorneys have been representing injury victims for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Truck Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.