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3 FAQs About Truck Accidents Caused by Brake Failure

September 16, 2019

by Donaldson & Weston

personal injury lawyer

When the brakes on a large truck fail, the consequences can be deadly. Weighing up to 20 times more than the average passenger vehicle, 18-wheelers can decimate smaller cars, especially when the trucker is unable to decelerate before impact.

If you were hurt in a truck accident caused by brake failure, you probably have a lot of questions about the claims process. In this article, we’ll answer a few FAQs about these cases, but the best way to get the advice you need is to speak with a personal injury attorney.

Who Might Be Liable for a Brake Failure Accident?

If brake failure was the proximate cause of your accident, there are several parties that could be liable including:

  • The Trucker: Commercial drivers are responsible for maintaining their vehicles. If the brakes were clearly malfunctioning but the trucker ignored the problem until it was too late, he or she could be liable for the resulting damages.
  • The Motor Carrier: Trucking companies must maintain their fleets to a reasonable standard, and this involves inspecting their trucks’ brakes and replacing them when necessary.
  • The Maintenance Contractor: If the brakes failed because of an error or oversight by the maintenance contractor, you may be able to name the contractor in your claim.
  • The Vehicle or Parts Manufacturer: If the brakes malfunctioned due to a defect that occurred during production, the manufacturer may be liable for your damages.

How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

If settlement negotiations fail and you have to file a lawsuit, you’ll most likely have four years from the date of the accident to do so. But if you’re filing a wrongful death claim, the statute of limitations that applies to most cases is two years. If the negligence of a government entity was somehow to blame for the accident, you’ll need to file a notice of claim and wait 180 days for an investigation to occur. If your claim is denied, you’ll have three years from the date of the accident to file suit for a personal injury or two years in the case of wrongful death.

There are several exceptions to these statutes of limitations. Even if it seems as though you have a considerable amount of time to take your case to court, it’s important that you consult an attorney right away so any time-sensitive evidence can be gathered.

What Damages Can I Pursue?

In the state of Florida, truck accident victims can pursue compensation for both economic and non-economic damages including:

  • Pain and suffering;
  • Emotional distress;
  • Loss of enjoyment in life;
  • Loss of consortium;
  • Medical bills;
  • Lost income and benefits;
  • Loss of future earning capacity; and
  • Property damage.