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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

Liability in Car Crashes: Who's At Fault in Brake Failure Accidents?

Driver error accounts for a fair portion of car accident cases, but sometimes the car itself can be the problem. When car brakes fail, it can cause serious accidents involving multiple vehicles.

The question is, if the braking system fails, who is liable to pay the damages? Who's at fault in brake failure accidents is not always clear-cut, and there are many possible answers. Anyone injured in an accident where their or another driver's brakes failed needs to know the liability laws and how to prove fault. can also consult on who's at fault in head-on truck accidents.

Who May be Liable in a Car Accident Caused by Brake Failure?

Who May be Liable in a Car Accident Caused by Brake Failure?

When the brake system in a car fails and causes an accident, the fault may lie with several parties. It largely depends on what caused the failing brakes and who was responsible for the issue.

Here are some of the parties most likely to be liable in a car accident caused by brake failure.

Driver or Owner of the Car with Failed Brakes

Although driver error in their handling of the vehicle on the road may not be present, negligence as far as car maintenance and upkeep goes may still mean the driver or owner of the vehicle is at fault. If they failed to have their car serviced with proper maintenance and their brake failure caused an injury to someone else, they are likely to be liable for the damages.

The Vehicle Manufacturer

Sometimes, faulty brakes are to blame through no fault of the driver. If there is an error with the brake pedal, brake pads, or brake lines that is down to the design of the car, then it is a manufacturer's error, and all injured parties (including the driver) may have a product liability claim to make against them.

To hold a car manufacturer liable, there must be proof that the brakes were defective by design or through an error in the production process.

Auto Parts Manufacturer or Retailer

Faulty brakes are not always down to the original car manufacturer. If any part of the brake system has been replaced, the retailer or manufacturer of the replacement brakes may be at least partially liable.

Defective brake replacements also come under product liability personal injury claims.


If the car owner has had their vehicle serviced recently and work was done on the brakes, there is a chance the inferior quality work by the mechanic is the cause of the failure. It could be an issue with installation, or the parts that have been used may be incorrect or incompatible.

Something to note is that a vehicle owner who employs an unqualified mechanic who does not have a license may still be liable if faulty installation leads to an accident. Always work with a qualified mechanic to ensure the quality of the maintenance work.

Can Drivers Be At Fault if Another Vehicle's Brakes Failed and Caused a Collision?

The fact that someone's brakes fail doesn't automatically mean that their vehicle is the only one that contributed to the accident. It is possible for the person who is hit by a car with failing brakes to also carry some of the blame, and, as a result, some of the liability.

This is what is known legally as comparative fault- a.k.a. when more than one party contributes to an accident. Even if someone holds part of the blame, they can still usually claim from the other party's insurance company if they are more responsible.

Comparative Fault in Break Failure Car Accidents

Say, for example, a rear-end collision occurs when a tailing driver has a brake failure. If the other driver brake checked (came to a sudden stop for no apparent reason), had no brake lights, or was driving recklessly in some way in the events leading up to the crash, they are also partially to blame.

There are many other circumstances where the other driver's negligence can play a part in a crash, even if it was the other vehicle's brakes that failed. Here are some other examples.

  • A driver runs a red light, and the other vehicle cannot stop on time to avoid them because of their failed brakes.

  • Someone fails to give way, and a car with failed brakes drives into them.

  • One driver is having brake problems, and a speeding driver is going too fast to notice, resulting in a collision.

What Can Cause Brake Failure?

Brake failure can happen for many reasons, but it usually comes down to a lack of maintenance, poor installation, or defective parts.

Vehicle owners need to have their brakes checked regularly by a trusted and qualified mechanic and look out for signs that there may be an issue.

Claiming Compensation After a Car Crash Where Brakes Fail

Claiming Compensation After a Car Crash Where Brakes Fail

It is possible to claim financial damages from an at-fault driver, manufacturer, or mechanic if a brake failure leads to an accident. A personal injury claim can be made against the liable insurance company for all expenses incurred, including medical bills, property damage, and lost wages.

Injured victims may also be able to claim non-economical damages for their pain and suffering, meaning the emotional distress that comes with being involved in a car accident.

In Texas, car owners who are partially to blame can still claim damages from any party that carries more responsibility for the accident than they do. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also explain who's at fault in spilled cargo accidents.

Injured in a Brake Failure Accident? Let Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys Go to War for You

After being injured in a car accident involving a brake failure, victims can be left facing high bills and a long road to recovery, and ensuring the at-fault party is held liable is vital.

Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys go to war for Hou accident victims, supporting clients with a team of experienced Houston semi truck accident attorneys who are dedicated to recovering compensation on their behalf.

Contact the team today to arrange a free consultation with professional attorneys who care about your injury and will fight passionately to get the settlement you deserve.


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