Look Out for Faulty Brakes

By Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari on May 4, 2017

car-accidentBrake failure can be due to product design defects, manufacturing defects, or poor maintenance and repair by auto mechanics. Bad brakes may lead to accidents where injuries might be sustained.

How Do Brakes Work?

Hydraulic brakes use pressure from a foot on the brake pedal to cause fluid within the brake lines to exert pressure on the braking mechanism(s). This pressure will close the space between the brake “pads” and the rotor of the spinning tire, pressing the pads against the tire to slow it down. Other types of brakes like “mechanical” brakes utilize cables and other mechanisms instead of fluid pressure.Brake systems can be complex. Newer vehicles’ brakes are often controlled by software that reads information or data processors within the vehicle. ABS or anti-lock brakes are designed to not “lock up” when too much pressure is applied to the brake pedal by a driver. ABS brakes are intended to prevent skidding and spins often seen when the human attempts a “hard stop.” These systems allow for a more evenly controlled application of “pressure” through the brake system, and help maintain control of the vehicle.

Brakes Defects and Signs of Failure or Malfunction

Poorly designed, manufactured, or maintained brake systems can result in defects, which in turn cause the brakes to fail to perform as intended; and that may result in motor vehicle accidents. Errors in brake system software or flaws in the brake lines carrying the brake fluid, or even their placement within the vehicle, can contribute to defects in a brake system.

Some signs of faulty braking systems include but are not limited to:

  • Grinding noises and other unusual sounds during braking or vehicle movement,
  • Pulling to one side,
  • Loss of brake pedal tension or too much tension,
  • Brake fluid leaks, and
  • Unusual odors after braking.

Who’s Liable If Your Brakes Fail?

Manufacturers and/or distributors that provide defective brake equipment can be liable for injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents. If this defective product was the reason for the accident, you bet they’re liable. Mechanics, auto dealer service departments, and others that maintain brake systems may be liable if their careless and negligent acts and/or omissions resulted in a malfunction of the brake system.

Auto product liability is a complex field of law, with many idiosyncrasies. These claims usually entail working with experienced and qualified automotive engineering experts and accident reconstructionists, proper preservation of the vehicles in question, and black-box and other data retrieval from the vehicle. Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari’s attorneys have handled numerous auto product liability claims over many decades. Please contact us at (973) 635-5400 for more information.

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