A car’s brakes are one of its most important components. If they fail the driver may be unable to avoid a collision with another car.
If you are involved in a brake failure collision, the other driver may say there was no way to prevent the accident. However, there are many warning signs of failing brakes.
Below, Greg Monforton and Partners’ Windsor-based car crash lawyers discuss car accidents caused by brake failure in Ontario. We explain why brakes fail and who may be at fault for damages from the accident.
Free legal consultation for injured victims. No upfront fees. Call (866) 320-4770.
What Causes Vehicle Brakes to Fail?
There are several reasons why a car’s brakes may fail. These problems can be easily prevented if drivers keep up with their vehicle’s recommended maintenance schedule. Unfortunately, many drivers do not keep up with the maintenance of their vehicles, which allows problems to worsen and make their vehicles unsafe to drive.
Some of the common causes of brake failure include:
Loss of Brake Fluid
Sometimes brake fluid leaks out of your brake lines. When this happens, it is harder for the brake lines to transfer the force you apply with your foot to the brake pads.
Overheated Rotors or Pads
If you have been driving for an extended period and using the brakes often, the pads or rotors could heat up. When this happens, you lose braking power.
Excessive Wear on Brake Pads
Brake pads wear down over time and must be replaced. If your brake pads are too worn down, it will be much harder to brake quickly.
Greasy Rotors or Pads
Sometimes oil or grease leaks into your brakes. This makes it harder for the brake pads and rotors to apply friction to slow your vehicle to a stop.
Air Bubbles in Brake Lines
When air gets into your brake lines, the brake pedal may feel soft under your foot. The air bubbles make it harder to transfer the force from your foot to the pedal and to the brakes.
What Are the Warning Signs of Brake Failure?
There are many signs of brake failure that are obvious to drivers, even if they know little to nothing about how cars work.
For example, sometimes cars pull to one side when the brakes are applied. The brakes may also feel soft or spongy when you press on them. You may hear grinding or screeching sounds when you apply the brakes.
If you notice fluid pooling under your vehicle when it is parked, it could be brake fluid leaking out of your brake lines.
Another common sign of failing brakes is the pedal being unusually low to the floor. This is often accompanied by the pedal moving very slowly when it is pressed down.
If you notice a burning or mechanical order emanating from your car, it could mean something is overheated, like the brake pads or rotors.
Cars often have brake lights, indicating something is wrong.
What You Need to Know About Fault for an Auto Accident Caused by Brake Failure
Drivers are often the ones held liable for crashes caused by brake failure. This is because the driver probably should have known there were problems long before the brakes failed.
If you were a victim of this type of crash, it will be up to you to prove the driver knew or should have known there were problems with his or her vehicle’s brakes. Your lawyer may need to bring in an accident reconstruction expert to examine the brakes to determine if they were old or in disrepair.
Your lawyer may also need to obtain maintenance records for the vehicle to determine if the brakes were overdue for maintenance. Maintenance records can be compared to your vehicle’s maintenance schedule to determine if the driver had been keeping up with repairs.
It may be possible to hold a repair shop liable for the crash as well. Maybe the other driver took the vehicle in for repairs and the mechanic did not fix the brakes. Maybe the mechanic did poor work or did not notice a problem with the brakes when he or she should have.
Vehicle or parts manufacturers could be held liable if the brakes were defective and this was the cause of the accident. However, if the brakes had been recalled and the driver did not go in for the recall repair, he or she is likely liable if a crash occurs.
Seeking Compensation for a Brake Failure Crash
If you were injured in a collision in Ontario, you may be able to obtain Statutory Accident Benefits. These benefits are available even if you are at fault for the crash. You can obtain compensation for medical care, lost income, the cost of hiring a caregiver, and other damages.
You may also be able to file a liability claim against the at-fault driver’s car insurance policy. However, in this type of claim you would need to prove the other driver’s negligence caused your injuries and damages.
What to Do if Your Brakes Fail
The first thing to remember is to stay calm. If you panic, you may be more likely to get into a crash.
Try to pump the brakes as quickly as you can. This may help to generate friction to help slow your car or even bring it to a stop. You could also try to downshift or slowly engage your emergency brakes.
While trying to slow down, do your best to avoid a collision and pull over onto the side of the road. You should also use your horn (without laying on it) to alert other drivers that there is a problem.
Injured in a Crash Caused by Brake Failure? We Are Here to Help
Negligent drivers offer a lot of excuses on why a crash occurred. For example, they may cite mechanical issues that were out of their control.
However, these are often just excuses. There are often many signs that brakes or other components need to be repaired. Unfortunately, these signs may be ignored. If your lawyer can prove this, the other driver may be liable for your damages.
No upfront fees or legal obligations. Contact us today: (866) 320-4770.