A loaded tractor trailer truck can weigh up to 40 tons – 16 times more than the average 5,000 lb car. The tremendous weight of trucks requires stringent laws to ensure that safe driving is the major concern of every truck driver- and good braking systems. Many tractor trailers on the road today have two braking systems, -airbrakes and antilock brakes. While a complete braking failure is unusual in semi-trucks, accidents due to brake problems still occur. In fact, the DOT reports that nearly 30% of all truck accidents were caused by issues with the brakes.

If you have been injured or lost a loved one to a tractor trailer accident, you may be wondering if brakes played a role in the accident. The insurance companies and responding law enforcement will investigate the accident scene including the braking system of the truck to determine if brakes were a reason for the accident. There are several ways that the brakes could have caused an accident:

• Wear and tear. Often, truck brakes do not perform as expected because of excessive wear and tear on brake disks.

• Poor air pressure in the air brake system.

• Worn brake seals.

• Missing or broken components in the brake shoe.

If there was some sort of brake failure that led to the trucking accident, you will be eligible for compensation for your injuries, including medical bills, loss of income, long term disability accommodation, and compensation for pain and suffering. Exactly by whom you will be compensated can often be a tricky matter, however.

Trucking is a complex system that can involve a driver who works alone or for a company, trucking companies, loading companies, and manufacturers of parts. Any of these parties might be liable for the brake problems that lead to the truck accident, and the parties will likely try to shift blame. The liability falls with the party who was negligent in their duty to ensure that the truck was properly functioning:

  • The truck driver: Truck drivers are required to inspect the truck before every trip. If a truck’s records reveal that the truck driver had not properly inspected the truck’s braking system before the fateful drive, the truck driver can be held negligible for the brake failure.
  • The trucking company: If a trucking company was responsible for inspecting or maintaining a truck and failed to properly do so, they can be held liable for the trucking accident.
  • The manufacturer of the parts: Manufacturing defects happen in all sorts of products, including truck brakes. If a brake suffered a defect, the manufacturing company might be responsible for the accident.
  • The loading company: If a loading company didn’t load the truck well, problems with the brakes could result.

There are so many different reasons that a truck’s brakes could have failed and so many different parties that could be responsible for their failure. If you have suffered injuries from a semi accident, you should contact an attorney. A truck accident attorney will make sure that all necessary reports are collected, that responsible parties are held accountable for their actions, and that you receive an adequate insurance award to help you recover to the best of your ability.