There is nothing more terrifying than losing control of your vehicle, especially when your brakes fail. Whether you are speeding down the freeway or casually driving through your neighborhood, you expect your brakes to bring you to a safe and comfortable stop. However, if your brakes are defective or were improperly worked on by a careless mechanic, then you can be involved in a catastrophic car accident.
If you or someone you loved were injured due to defective brakes, then you may be able to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer. In order to do so, you will need to diligently research the accident to determine fault and evaluate whether or not a mechanical failure contributed to your injuries. This can be difficult to do while recovering, but with a New York brake defects accident attorney at your side, you may have a fair shot at receiving compensation. To learn how the attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, can help you, schedule a free consultation at (212) 986-7353.
Our car’s brake systems are invaluable to ensuring we can safely reach our destinations. We use them so often that we sometimes do not notice when they are not functioning properly. Most of us will wait until our brake’s squeak to schedule maintenance, but sometimes the issue is not readily apparent. While brakes naturally wear down over time, they can also be inherently defective. Parts may have been installed improperly, meaning they will not function properly, or the overall design of the brake system is flawed.
Common types of brake issues that can contribute to an auto accident include:
- Unreliable parking or emergency brake systems
- Defective anti-lock brakes
- Defective brake shift interlocks
- Sticking brake pedals
- Unresponsive brake pedals
- Leaking or torn brake lines
- Brakes that are prone to overheating
- Calipers that crack easily
Scheduling regular maintenance and properly inspecting a vehicle’s brake systems is key to ensuring they operate properly. But, if a brake system does fail, the results can be catastrophic. A vehicle may fail to stop altogether, causing a driver to collide with a fixed object or another vehicle. Or the brakes could be misaligned, meaning only one side of the vehicle stops. This can cause the car to spin out of control or even rollover, such as with SUVs.
Altogether, these accidents can be devastating and come with a high price tag, especially if a large truck is involved. Commercial trucks can cover hundreds of miles every day, leading to extensive wear and tear on their mechanical systems. Thus, regular maintenance is required to prevent a mechanical failure. However, sometimes the design of the vehicle or a defective part is the key cause of a truck accident and it was only a matter of time before the vehicle caused a collision.
Traditionally, you would assume that all collisions are the fault of a negligent driver, but multiple parties can have a hand in your accident. A vehicle is designed and maintained by various different groups who each hold different responsibilities. When evaluating a brake failure accident, your attorney may discover one of the following groups caused your injuries:
The driver: The maintenance of a vehicle ultimately falls on the owner. We are all expected to schedule proper maintenance on our vehicles and take any reports of mechanical failures seriously, especially if it involves a large truck. If a driver was aware that their brakes were defective or needed maintenance but still chose to drive the vehicle, then they could be found liable for any accident they cause.
The mechanic: Brakes must be routinely reviewed and replaced over the life cycle of a car. When replacing your vehicle’s brakes, your mechanic should take great care to make sure the new parts are installed properly and that there are no recalls on your vehicle. If they failed to check the new brakes or installed them incorrectly, they could be liable in a claim.
The manufacturer: Manufacturing errors can take two forms: design defects and part defects. Oftentimes, issues with the vehicle’s overall design and systems are resolved earlier on through analysis and testing, but some issues may slip through the cracks. However, with brake defects, the problem is likely caused by a specific automotive defect. Auto parts are developed by multiple different companies that are contracted by the primary manufacturer who puts the vehicle together. Thus, if the defective brake was caused by a manufacturer, the liable party may be a specific auto part company.
The retailer: Sometimes, the brake failure was not the result of a manufacturing issue, but a negligent retailer. Vehicles are often transported over long distances to various retailers throughout the country, meaning they change hands several times before reaching a customer. Before being sold to you, a retailer should properly store the vehicle so that it does not fall into disrepair and check it for any auto part recalls or maintenance issues before selling it.
Who you file a claim against will vary depending on whether or not your brakes were the cause of the accident. For example, if your own brakes failed and led to you colliding with another vehicle or fixed object, then you may be able to pursue a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
However, if another driver’s brakes failed and they hit you, then your claim may be slightly different depending on the cause. Traditionally, you would file a claim against the driver, especially if they failed to maintain their vehicle’s brakes. However, if the manufacturer caused the defect, then you may be able to file a claim against them instead of the driver.
In both situations, you will want to have a skilled and knowledgeable attorney review your claim. Auto product liability claims require a keen eye for details, and mechanical issues can often be overlooked by most firms. But at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, our attorneys have extensive experience investigating auto accidents and can work with experts to determine whether or not a defective brake system caused your injuries.
Moving forward with a claim can be a difficult process. Right now, you probably only want to focus on healing and getting back to a normal routine. It can be extremely hard to do that if you are saddled by medical debt, but you may not know where to start with the claims process. An auto accident claim on its own can be extremely confusing for most victims as they may not be sure if they are even eligible to file a claim. This goes double for auto product liability claims.
However, if you choose to work with the New York auto product liability attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, we can provide extensive legal support throughout the entire process. From collecting evidence to reviewing insurance policies to working with auto part experts, we will shoulder the majority of the legal burdens of filing a claim so that you can focus on recovering. To schedule a free consultation and learn about your options after an auto accident, call us at (212) 986-7353.
Jason Rubin secured a settlement of $2,500,000.00 on behalf of a 33 year old man who was injured as a result of a defective inflatable tube towed behind a boat.
Cliff Shapiro obtained a settlement of 1.175 million dollars for a twenty-one year old man who was blinded in one eye as a result of an accident involving a defective platform hoist.
Kenneth J. Halperin recently obtained a $565,000 settlement for a former N.Y.C.T.A worker who sustained an electrical shock while inspecting a propulsion system supplied by a foreign manufacturer.
The case settled at mediation prior to trial for $524,000, including $424,000 from the dumpster manufacturer and $100,000 from the municipality.
Following a fiercely contested jury trial, WRSH associate Joseph Stoduto was able to obtain a verdict in excess of $200,000 on behalf of a 20-year-old wiring technician from Brooklyn.