It’s a known fact in the insurance industry, and among law enforcement that the driver who rear-ends the vehicle in front is almost always legally liable for the crash. But what if you were the tailing driver and you are claiming that faulty brakes made it so you could not stop the vehicle? Are you still responsible for the accident? Read on for the answers.
What to Do if Your Brakes Fail
On occasion, someone’s brakes will fail. They’ll be unable to stop their vehicle until they collide with the vehicle in front of them, or until they hit some other vehicle in their path. If this happens to you, you must follow a specific protocol to have a chance at avoiding legal liability. Here’s what needs to be done if your brakes fail and you strike another vehicle:
- Tell everyone at the accident scene right away. Say, “My brakes failed and I couldn’t stop.” If you make this claim two or three weeks later, the insurance company probably won’t believe you.
- Do not drive your car away from the scene. Instead, have it towed directly from the accident scene to an auto repair shop close by. If you drive home, it’s not believable that you have bad brakes.
- Do not have the car towed home and then say, “I’ll have my friend check out the brakes.” Instead, have it towed to a neutral auto repair shop that can examine the brakes. A delay in taking it to a mechanic can create questions about any real brake issues.
- For you to have a valid claim that the brakes failed, the cause of the brake failure must be clear and obvious to the mechanic.
Can I Still Be Held Liable?
Let’s say you did everything right. You called a tow truck driver and had your car towed directly to an auto shop. The mechanic did find the reason for the brake failure, but is there still any way you can be on the hook for the crash? It depends on the cause of the failure. Was it a defect in the brakes themselves? Was it a defect by the auto manufacturer? Were you driving a rental? Or, did the brakes fail because you neglected to maintain them? If the brakes failed because you have not properly maintained them, you can still be liable for the accident. Why? Because car owners have a duty to maintain their vehicles so they are safe to drive and don’t place others in danger. If the brakes were slowly failing over time, surely you should have noticed, at least that’s going to be the insurance company’s argument if you try to escape liability. Next: No-Doubt Liability Car Accidents
To file a car accident claim in Plano, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC today.