The brakes are one of the most important pieces of equipment in a motor vehicle. Even minor issues with a vehicle’s brakes may have deadly consequences. It is believed that mechanical failures cause 12 to 13 percent of all motor vehicle accidents. In 2014, Illinois reported 296,049 motor vehicle accidents. Using these numbers, roughly 35,526 to 38,487 accidents are caused by mechanical failure in Illinois every year.

Poor Maintenance

Drivers must make sure their vehicles are in working order. This means that ensuring the brakes are functioning. Drivers need to take their vehicles in for regular maintenance. In addition, they need to act promptly and take their vehicles to a skilled auto mechanic if they think there is an issue with their brakes. For example, if the brake light comes on, if the brakes are making abnormal noises, if the car shakes while braking, if there is a burning smell, or if brake fluid is leaking from the vehicle, the owner of the vehicle should have the issue looked into immediately.

If an accident is caused by faulty brakes, and if it is discovered that the owner of the vehicle failed to properly maintain the brakes, the owner of that vehicle may be liable for any damages that result. The owner of a vehicle has a duty to maintain it to make sure that it does not become a hazard to other drivers on the road.

Manufacturer Liability

In other cases, the automobile manufacturer may be liable for brake problems. This type of case is called a products liability claim. In a products liability case, a claimant alleges that a product was defectively designed, defectively manufactured, or that consumers were not adequately warned about hazards inherent in the product.

In a defective design case, the claimant argues that the design of the product caused harm to consumers. In the present example, the claimant may argue that the materials used to manufacture the brakes were improper and eventually caused motor vehicle accidents.

In a defective manufacture claim, the argument is that an issue arose as the defective product was being manufactured. For example, a claimant may argue brakes were defectively manufactured if a factory erroneously used improper ratios of metals in the manufacturing process.

Finally, in an inadequate warning claim, consumers argue they were unaware of certain risks of using the product. With brakes, perhaps the consumers did not receive any information on how to maintain the brakes, and the brakes became faulty and led to an accident.

In each of these claims, the injured party must demonstrate that the faulty brakes directly caused the accident.

An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

If you or a loved one was injured due to defective brakes, contact the attorneys at Stein & Shulman to discuss your claim. Our attorneys have secured over $40 million in settlements and verdicts for our clients. To schedule your free initial consultation to discuss your accident, call (312) 422-0506.