Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney is a highly rated personal injury law firm serving injured accident victims in and around the Los Angeles area. The attorneys for the firm have in-depth knowledge and full-familiarity with the potential complexities of California’s personal injury laws. The attorneys are also experienced in successfully handling car accident cases caused by brake failure. Based on the unique circumstances of each case, the attorneys and staff provide legal representation customized to the client’s specific needs to advance their best interests. It is important for the injured victims not to delay in claiming their rights and demanding financial compensation for the injuries caused in order to achieve the best possible outcome.
Car Accidents Caused by Brake Failure
Road safety has been an issue of concern. Despite stringent laws and considerable efforts to reduce the number of deadly car crashes, California has witnessed an increase in injury-causing and fatal car accidents. In a populated city like Los Angeles, the roads are always swarming with thousands of fast-moving vehicles and the busy transport networks coupled with road conditions and high rate of negligence make car accidents inevitable.
According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), most of the car accidents in the United States are caused by driver error. The most common driver behaviors associated with driver error include speeding, driving while fatigued, driving while smoking/drinking, and running a red light. However, not all car accidents are caused due to drivers’ mistakes. There are several non-driver related causes of car accidents, such as the physical condition of the roads, inclement weather conditions, and mechanical failures, such as faulty brakes, which can play a role in causing car accidents. The National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey by NHTSA revealed that of all the car accidents where a vehicle mechanical failure was cited as the cause of the crash/accident, brake failure accounts for roughly 22 percent of them.
Brakes are undeniably one of the most crucial "safety features" in a car or any other vehicle and your first line of defense against accidents. While you may not think about them very often, but you put a lot of trust in them. Unfortunately, like every mechanical system, they aren’t perfect and prone to malfunction or defects. Failure of brakes may result in loss of car control and/or collision with other vehicles, pedestrians, or nearby stationary objects. Although it is unusual to suffer a total failure of the braking system, it is still a common cause of road accidents. Even if you do everything right, you might end up hitting another vehicle and cause injuries due to defective or "faulty" brakes.
The good part about brakes is that it is often easily evident when there is a problem with them. Whether your brakes are making strange grinding or squeaking noises, feeling spongy, or your car is drifting to one side when you apply brakes, you should always pay attention to such warning signs. If your brake pedal seems stuck in an unusually low position or sinks to the floor sluggishly, it may also be a sign that there is something wrong with your brakes and needs to be serviced. Brake fluid is also one of the most important parts of a car’s braking system, which is most often overlooked. When it comes to something as important as your car brakes, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Brake failure may result due to defective or faulty brakes and parts, poor mechanical service, or other problems that may be attributed to the driver’s or owner’s negligence.
Assessing Liability in Brake Failure Accidents
When you are involved in a car accident where you failed to brake and crashed with another car, you may still not be obligated to pay for the damages under the law. This can happen if you can prove that brake failure is the cause of the accident or injury caused, or perhaps it was due to poor maintenance or a manufacturing defect.
Proving liability in a car crash that occurred due to faulty brakes can be an uphill task. The liability will depend on whether a vehicle owner or person responsible for that vehicle’s maintenance maintain it in a safe working order or not, which caused the accident and injuries. It may also depend on whether the driver or owner knew or should have known about the impending brake failure. The fault and liability in the accident will also depend on whether the car was serviced recently, or whether a part(s) of the braking system was negligently manufactured, designed, or marketed.
In California, the personal injury law adheres to the theory of comparative fault to determine the level of responsibility or fault in a car accident. California’s "pure comparative negligence" rule states that if you also share a part of the fault in a car accident, you are not barred from recovering compensation for the injuries sustained from an at-fault party. In a comparative fault theory, you can still collect a portion of the entitled compensation even though you are partly responsible for the damages caused by accident. The judge or jury decides what percentage of the victim’s negligence contributed to the injuries, and then the entitled damages award is reduced accordingly.
Any situation involving damaged or faulty brakes is going to be complex, and all the parties involved in the accident will do anything possible to avoid the liability of the crash. In such situations, you will want a skilled personal injury attorney on your side to claim and fight for you to receive fair compensation for injuries sustained in a brake failure accident.
How to Pursue a Financial Compensation After Car Accident
Monetary compensation of injuries in a car accident largely depends on who is at fault—which means who acted carelessly or in an unsafe manner. When the victim party can prove the other party’s negligence, the at-fault party comes under a legal obligation to compensate for monetary damages for injuries and losses they have caused.
To prove the fault of the other party in the accident, you must collect some pictures, witnesses’ names, and addresses with statements, and most importantly, a police report. This will help to prove your innocence and make a strong compensation claim case against the at-fault driver or driver’s insurance company, which will otherwise argue the liability and weasel their way out of paying for the damages.
The amount of compensation you may seek typically depends on the amount of car/property damage incurred, the severity of the injuries sustained, and the type and size of the insurance policy you and the at-fault party hold. When you are pursuing compensation, you must seek assistance from a professional personal injury lawyer to file a successful compensation claim that covers all your damages and future costs.
Also, every owner or driver of a registered car in California must meet the financial responsibility code, which means they must hold the minimally-accepted car insurance coverage. According to the California Vehicle Code §16056, all drivers need to maintain a minimum of 15/30/5 coverage on all registered vehicles. This means that every driver must carry a minimum of $15,000 per person liability coverage for physical injury or death, $30,000 for physical injury or death per accident, and a minimum of $5,000 liability coverage for damage to the property.
Types of Compensatory Damages Available in Brake Failure Accidents
While you may be likely aware that you can recover compensation for the injuries, it is also crucial for you to understand what types of compensation you can seek. Under California law, personal injury victims can request for consumption for two types of damages in a car accident injury:
Economic Damages. As per the California Civil Code §1431.2(b)(1), this type of damages—also called "special" damages—includes verifiable monetary losses incurred as a result of the accident. These may include:
- Medical costs
- Costs associated with property repair or replacement
- Loss of wages during the recovery period
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Loss of necessary home services, such as a child care expense
Non-economic Damages. As per the California Civil Code §1431.2(b)(2), this type of damages includes subjective, less tangible, non-monetary losses. Also called "general" damages, these are damages that adversely affect one’s life but can’t be repaired by money. These may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Mental trauma
In California, some drivers may not be allowed to recover compensation for non-economic damages. As per the California Civil Code § 333.4, those drivers who do not have car insurance or not meet the state's financial responsibility requirements are prohibited from recovering non-economic damages. Also, drivers who had been convicted of a DUI offense under the California VC sections § 23152 or 23153 are not eligible for non-economic damages.
The compensatory damages may depend on the degree and severity of injuries from a brake failure accident. Some injuries are minor and heal faster with proper treatment, while others may persist and impact the person's quality of life for many years. The injuries vary from severe collarbone or pelvic fractures to soft tissue injuries, such as sprains, strains, and contusions. Some injuries can be immediately noticed and treated, but some injuries can take time to produce symptoms and can be hard to prove that they are a result of the accident. This is why it is very important to see a doctor right after the accident, even if you don't feel pain or hurt right. This will get you the required medical treatment as well as provide a record that the injury was caused by accident.
Whom Can You Sue After a Brake Failure Car Crash?
When you are involved in a brake failure accident and get seriously injured, you present a compensation claim for the physical injuries and the property damage that has occurred. If the claim is not honored or accepted by the defendant party, and you believe you can establish that you were not at fault, then you can also bring a lawsuit action against the defendant party and sue them.
Depending on the circumstances, there are several different sources of potential liability in a car accident caused by brake failure. Based on the statute of limitations in California, you will have a two-year deadline to file a lawsuit for injuries and damages in California starting from the day of the accident. The time limit drastically shortens to only six months if a government party—for instance, a police cruiser—is involved in the crash.
When filing a lawsuit, it is often a tricky situation as you will have to prove the fault of the defendant party in these kinds of accidents. So, before you think of suing anyone, it would always be wise to try and settle the case outside the court. An experienced attorney should be able to get a better settlement offer by negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf.
Too often injured victims settle for far less than they deserve being oblivious of their compensation rights under the law. Unsurprisingly, your insurance representative or the other involved party's insurance company is not interested in getting you the best possible compensation. Never sign anything or accept a settlement offer by an insurance adjuster without realizing the extent of your injuries and talking to your car accident lawyer, or you will lose the right to sue the potentially liable parties for any future compensation.
Imagine a reckless driver who slams into your car while you were at a stop traffic sign. Due to someone’s negligence and lack of attention, you are now left with a damaged car and some physical injuries leaving you in need of medical treatment. For injuries or damages suffered in such situations, you can sue the other party provided that you have witnesses or additional proofs to prove the other person was negligent and that the other person's negligence caused the damages.
You can also file a lawsuit against the manufacturer or seller of the brakes for either a faulty design or manufacturing process with the right evidence at hand. Every product from the manufacturer site goes through multi-process testing to prevent faulty items from making to the market. However, they still sometimes do. In other cases, the car manufacturer may be aware of a potential defect that may lead to brake failure but fails to warn consumers of the problem, certainly putting their profit ahead of the drivers and passengers’ safety. In such cases, a car accident victim can sue the vehicle manufacturer as well as the manufacturer of the defective part on the grounds of product liability cause of action to seek compensation for the injuries.
In some cases, an auto shop could also be held liable and sued for improper maintenance, negligent brake repair, or any other error caused by a vehicle service department.
An experienced personal injury attorney will thoroughly review your car accident to help you (plaintiff) understand the dynamics of your claim and work together with accident reconstruction experts, bio-mechanics engineers, and other helpful resources in order to identify all the potentially liable parties. If more than one parties share the responsibility, a good personal injury lawyer will look into the possibility of seeking compensation from each of them, be it a manufacturer, car dealer, car mechanic, or anyone else involved in the line of distribution from the manufacturer to the buyer that is you.
Tips for Brake Safety
No accident is always better than getting the best possible compensation! Here are a few tips to avoid brake failure and ensure your safety in every drive:
- Regularly inspect and service your car’s brakes and other related parts
- Immediately replace any outdated or worn out parts of the brake system
- Malfunctioning "faulty" brake parts should be reported to the car manufacturer/ dealer
Find a Los Angeles Injury Attorney Specializing in Break Failure Accidents Near Me
Have you or a loved one suffered serious injuries in a car accident where either the brakes of your car or the brakes on the vehicle that hit you failed? We understand car accidents can cause life-altering injuries resulting in intense physical pain and emotional trauma. While financial compensation can't take away the pain and trauma you have had to go through, it can certainly help you meet your financial obligations concerned with the payment of medical bills and other associated expenses. If you are seeking full compensation for the losses inflicted on you, you must contact an experienced and skilled personal injury law firm like the Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney. We have experience of handling a wide array of car accident cases due to brake failure in and around the LA area. For any questions about the car accident lawsuits in California or if you want to discuss your car accident case caused by brake failure, get in touch with us at 424-231-2013 to talk to one of our skilled personal injury lawyers for a free, no-obligation consultation.