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Sacramento Defective Brake Tractor-Trailer Injury Lawyer

Mechanical problems that include brake failure constitute one of the common causes of tractor-trailer collisions.  Under the best of circumstances, large commercial trucks pose a serious risk of devastating injuries and fatalities because these massive vehicles can weigh up to forty tons when fully loaded.  If the prospect of a huge fully loaded 18-wheeler barreling down the I-5 or the Capital City Freeway (I-80 Business Loop) at sixty miles per hour sounds frightening, the prospect of a collision generated by such a vehicle which cannot be slowed or stopped by the driver should seem terrifying. 

Sacramento Brake Failure Accident Lawyer Edward A. Smith represents victims of negligent commercial drivers and commercial carriers involved in all types of trucking accidents caused by mechanical failure.  While driver error is the most common cause of semi-truck collisions, mechanical failure still accounts for approximately twelve percent of trucking accidents according to federal data.  According to a study conducted by the Department of Transportation (DOT), brake malfunctions and failures are an especially common cause of big-rig crashes.  While federal and state regulations impose a duty on trucking companies and their drivers to conduct inspections and maintenance on large trucks, nearly one in three tractor-trailer collisions involve improper brake adjustment, brake failure, or other brake-related problems as a contributing factor.

At the Law Office of Edward A. Smith, our law firm has been representing victims of trucking accidents in California for over three decades.  Ed Smith has extensive familiarity with the federal and state regulations that impose duties on trucking companies to conduct brake inspections and to maintain the brakes of large trucks in safe operating condition.  Our law firm is committed to providing exemplary legal representation in pursuit of the maximum recovery for our clients.  This commitment is evidence by our past client reviews on Yahoo, Google, AVVO and Yelp, so we invite you to visit these sites to get an independent evaluation of the client experience provided by our law firm.  Although we offer the personal contact and attention typically associated with a small law firm, we offer the resources, tenacity, and sophisticated representation of much larger law firms.

Causes of Faulty Brake Failure and Malfunctions

There is a range of parties that can be financially responsible for a crash caused by faulty operation of the brake system on a tractor-trailer.  The driver of the tractor-trailer and the trucking company will usually be parties in such accidents.  However, the truck manufacturer and maker of defective parts or components also can be liable to the extent defects in the design and/or manufacture of brake components, or inadequate warnings regarding potential brake problems contribute to a crash.  Many commercial carriers have independent service providers that perform fleet maintenance.  When shoddy brake maintenance plays a significant role in causing a trucking accident, the company that performed the work can be liable for the damages experienced by crash victims.  Some of the most common issues that cause brakes to malfunction or fail include the following:

Defective Brake Parts & Components: Any party in the production, distribution, or retail chain can be liable when defective components contribute to a trucking accident. 

Shifting or Unbalanced Cargo: Many parties can be liable for an excessively heavy load, unbalanced load, or insufficiently secured load, such as the trucking company, shipper that loaded the cargo, and truck driver.  When the load is excessive or improperly balance, the wear on the brakes is magnified which increases the risk of brake failure.

Failure to Conduct Pre-Trip Inspections: Commercial carriers and their drivers are required to conduct pre-trip safety inspections and to record the results.  When these inspections are ignored to save time, the consequence can be a fatal trucking accident.  Examples of what the brake inspection must cover include the following:

  • Listening for potential air leaks in the brake chamber
  • Inspecting the brake shoes to uncover any broken or missing mechanical components
  • Examining the brakes to identify any loose brake components

Overheating Brakes: When brakes overheat, they might not function appropriately in an emergency.  Brakes can overheat for a variety of reasons, including transportation of an oversized load or poor route selection that entails navigating steep grades.

Worn Tires or Improper Brake Pressure: The brake system on big-rigs works in conjunction with the wheels so improper tire pressure or worn tires can compromise the effectiveness of the brakes. 

Improper Brake Adjustment: If the air brakes are not adjusted properly, a range of problems can occur.  Improper adjustment can result in drag on the brakes, which can cause the brakes to overheat.  Automatic brakes also can be manually adjusted too often rendering the mechanism incapable of maintaining proper adjustment.  When the brakes are not adjusted properly, they might not provide sufficient braking power when necessary.

Brief Note about Personal Vehicles

Although this page focuses on product defects and maintenance issues involving commercial trucks, owners of personal vehicles also have a duty to keep their vehicle in safe operating condition.  Just like with a large truck that experiences a brake malfunction resulting in a crash, the driver and/or owner of a personal vehicle can be liable for neglecting maintenance related to brake fluid, brake pads, rotors, and other brake maintenance issues.  Similarly, the shop that bungles a repair job which contributes to the brakes failing can also be liable to those injured in a crash.  Finally, companies that design, manufacture, distribute, or retail defective brake parts, components, and/or systems can be liable for collisions caused by malfunctioning brakes.

Contact a Sacramento Brake Failure Accident Injury Lawyer for Help

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer.  If you or a family member have been injured in a crash caused by a sticky accelerator pedal, please call me today at 916.921.6400 for free, friendly advice and to meet my friendly staff. 

Read my reviews on: Yelp, Avvo, and Google.

I am a current member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.  Trial lawyers here have won multiple cases worth more than a million dollars. 

Take a moment to review a long history of my successful case Verdicts and Settlements.

I’ve been practicing in personal injury law exclusively since 1982.

Client Reviews
"Me and my wife; had a car accident. We were amazed how easy, professional, friendly attorney Ed Smith is along with his staff. Everybody is amazing. Thank you so much, we are very impressed!" Alex & Dinah M.
"Ed Smith and his office team took on a difficult personal injury case on my behalf and for the passenger in my car. Ed is a top- notch attorney. His staff couldn't have been more helpful and kind. No need to look elsewhere. I give Ed Smith my highest recommendation." Beverly
"Ed and Robert have been taking great care of my husband and I for the past 5+ years. They are always there when you have a problem and a quick resolution! Even when the issues have nothing to do with them. They are willing to help ease the pain off your shoulders. They are as good as it gets! Thank you again for everything." Annie T.
"Very professional. Great team, staff and service all around. Mr Smith was very honest, straight forward with his advice. He gives the word "attorney" an honest reputation. I will seek his council anytime, and would recommend him at the drop of a dime." Jeremy M.
"I would highly recommend Ed Smith to any friends or family in need of a personal injury attorney. Ed, and his staff, are very caring on top of being very experienced in this field. The staff always keeps you informed of the status of your case and they are always easy to reach by phone." Shannon D.
"Edward Smith law offices provide competent, thorough, and personable help for victims of personal injury. When you first meet the staff you know you contacted the right office. This law office treats clients like people. I recommend this office to anyone seeking representation regarding personal injury." David M.