When a truck’s brakes fail, the consequences can be catastrophic. The force from a collision between a runaway truck and a passenger car can leave victims with severe injuries. Many people injured in runaway truck accidents develop permanent disabilities, leaving them unable to work or care for themselves. The costs of treating injuries from a brake failure truck accident can put an intense financial strain on injured victims.
At Sumner Law Group, LLC, we can help you pursue compensation for your injuries and other losses after a St. Louis truck accident caused by brake failure. We have more than 50 years of combined experience and a reputation for recovering significant compensation for our clients. We know how to advocate for your rights and seek accountability from the at-fault party.
Contact us today for a free consultation with a brake failure truck accident attorney in St. Louis.
Why Truck Brakes Fail
Knowing how a tractor-trailer’s brake system works is crucial to understanding why a truck’s brakes can fail. Most commercial trucks use air brakes to manage their speed, which use an air compressor to push air through a truck’s brake lines. This air pressure presses the brake’s shoes onto the drum, which impedes the wheel’s rotation, increases friction, and slows the vehicle.
A truck’s air brakes should work as intended as long as the air compressor functions correctly and there is sufficient air in the storage tanks. However, mechanical issues, overheating, poor braking techniques, and other issues can lead to failure.
Trucks can only store a certain amount of air in their brake systems, so truck drivers should use lower gears to control their speed whenever possible. Using the air brakes too often can deplete the system’s air supply and cause the brakes to fail. Overheating from overuse can also cause brake fade and truck brake failure.
Regular inspections, maintenance, and repairs are crucial for keeping a truck’s brake system in proper working order. If worn or damaged parts are not repaired or replaced, they are more likely to fail at a crucial moment, leading to a crash.
Why Are Truck Brake Failure Cases So Common in St. Louis Truck Accidents?
There are two primary reasons why brake failure is a common cause of truck accidents. The first reason is that trucks are more complex machines than passenger cars. Trucks have more components than passenger vehicles, which means more parts that can break or fail. And because trucks weigh significantly more than cars and often travel much longer distances, those components wear out more quickly. Without regular maintenance, a truck’s brakes and other vital parts are more likely to fail.
The other reason brake failure is so common in truck accidents is that trucks are more challenging to operate than passenger cars. In addition to using a different braking system from passenger cars, semi-trucks are much bigger and heavier. A driver without experience handling commercial vehicles or proper training is likelier to misuse their brakes and cause a crash.
Most Common Brake Problems Resulting in Truck Accidents in St. Louis
A number of common issues can lead to truck brake failure accidents in St. Louis, including:
- Timing issues – A truck’s braking system must apply the same pressure at the same time to allow the wheels to slow in unison. Problems with the system’s electrical or mechanical systems can cause them to slow at uneven rates, potentially causing its driver to lose control.
- Overheating – Overuse can cause a truck’s brake system to overheat, making brake failure more likely. To keep this from happening, a truck driver should put the truck in a lower gear when traveling down steep hills or approaching traffic signals to reduce the stress on the brake system.
- Worn components – As with any complex machine, a truck’s parts gradually wear out over time and must be repaired or replaced. When worn or damaged components are not fixed or replaced, the truck’s brakes are more likely to fail.
- Lack of maintenance – Regular maintenance checks can help keep a truck’s brakes in good working order. Federal regulations require trucking companies to follow strict maintenance schedules. When these regulations are violated, avoidable accidents can happen.
- Brake pressurization issues – Truck brakes use air instead of hydraulic fluid to activate the brakes. The air compressor in a truck’s brake system can only pressurize a certain amount of air in a given time. A truck’s brake system can run out of air if a driver overuses the brakes. Similarly, a broken or malfunctioning air compressor may not have enough air to stop the truck.
Types of Truck Accidents Caused by Brake Failure
Some common types of accidents that occur when a truck’s brakes fail include:
- Rear-end collisions – Trucks without functional brakes may be unable to stop in time to avoid colliding with a car in front of them. A rear-end crash is more likely if a truck’s brakes fail while traveling downhill.
- Intersection accidents – A truck can cause a crash if its brakes fail as it nears an intersection and the truck collides with another car.
- Speeding accidents – At high speeds, a truck’s brakes may not be sufficient to slow the vehicle down in time to avoid a crash.
Serious Injuries from Crashes When Truck Brakes Give Out
Truck brake failure accidents in St. Louis frequently cause severe injuries, such as:
- External injuries to the head and face
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Internal organ injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Broken bones
- Strains, sprains, and other soft-tissue injuries
- Severe burns
- Crushed or severed limbs
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional distress
Pursuing an Injury Claim After a Trucking Accident
If you were injured in a trucking accident caused by brake failure, you could be entitled to pursue compensation from all the responsible parties. Multiple parties could be liable for your injuries, including the following:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The truck’s owner
- The truck manufacturer
- Parts manufacturers
- Maintenance and repair shops
If your injury claim is successful, you could be compensated for losses such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages and lost future earnings
- Diminished quality of life
- Physical pain
- Emotional distress
How Our Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help You
At Sumner Law Group, our truck accident attorneys know how chaotic the aftermath of a collision can be, and we want to make your life easier during this difficult time. While you focus on your medical treatment and healing, we can investigate the truck accident and secure evidence of the brake failure and who was responsible for it. Our dedicated team can file an insurance claim on your behalf and begin negotiations for a fair settlement.
Contact Sumner Law Group, LLC, today for a free consultation with one of our truck accident lawyers.