Personal Injury in Car Accidents & Brake Failure

Some car accidents are caused by brake failure. In these instances the driver with the defective brakes claims that he is not liable to the injured victim because he had no control of his car; his brakes failed and he had no prior knowledge that the brakes were prone to failure. In making this argument the driver has an uphill battle. All California car drivers have a duty to keep their brakes in good working order. In fact, this duty holds the driver ultimately responsible even when a mechanic negligently failed to notice the defective bakes. When drivers fail to keep their brakes in good working order and cause a car accident as a result, they are often liable to their injured victims in a personal injury lawsuit.

When Drivers Are Not Liable For Brake Failure

In some instances a driver may be successful in arguing that they are not liable for the brake failure which caused the car accident. To be successful the driver must demonstrate (1) what caused the brake failure; (2) that nothing had occurred prior to put them on notice of the defect or brake failure, or to put them on notice of another defect or failure which ultimately contributed to the brake failure, (3) that the vehicle had been inspected within a reasonable period of time before the accident and proper maintenance conducted accordingly; and (4) either that the cause arose after the inspection, or was of such a nature as to not be discoverable by a reasonable inspection within a reasonable period of time prior to the accident. In making this argument the driver is conceding that they violated their duty to keep their brakes in good working order and is seeking to rebut a presumption of negligence. As a result, the driver is fighting an uphill battle. If they fail one component of the above argument they will most likely be found negligent in the maintenance of their brakes and be held liable to the injured in a personal injury lawsuit.

Why Defendants Must Show The Cause of Brake Failure

When a defendant is attempting to blame the cause of a car accident on brake failure, as opposed to inattention or lack of care, it would be inequitable to force the plaintiff to prove the defendant’s argument. Consequently, where the defendant is blaming brake failure as the cause of a car accident, they are charged with proving that cause in addition to the other elements stated above. If the defendant cannot rebut the presumption of negligence through the above argument they will most likely be held liable for the car accident.