Brake Failures: A Common Culprit of Tractor-Trailer Accidents

Tractor-trailer accidents happen often here in Illinois. These accidents can result in serious injuries, even fatalities. These accidents are often a direct result of mechanical failures. According to the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), one of the most reoccurring culprits is break failures. As a matter of fact, DOT’s study revealed that 29.4 percent of all tractor-trailer accidents involve brake failures, brakes that are not adjusted properly, or other issues related to brakes.

If you are involved in an accident caused by a trucker’s defective brakes, there may be several parties to blame. The responsible parties include, but are not limited to, the manufacturer of the brakes, the truck’s driver, the loading company and the individual in charge of maintaining and inspecting the brakes. These cases tend to be very convoluted. It is important that you have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side.

Illinois’ Tractor-Trailer Brakes Law

According to AAA: Digest of Motor Laws, regarding tractor-trailer drivers in Illinois, every trailer weighing more than 3,000 lbs. is required to be equipped with working brakes when driving on a highway.

Furthermore, at this link, the FMCSA lists additional federal rules and regulations that tractor-trailer drivers must adhere to. For instance, and similar to Illinois’ state law, federal law requires each tractor-trailer to have working brakes allowing the truck to adequately stop and hold the vehicle or combination of vehicles.

Section 393.47 of the federal law goes on to state that a tractor-trailer’s brake components must be built, installed, and maintained in effort to prevent brake failure. The brakes must provide for a safe, reliable, stopping of the tractor-trailer.

Illinois’ Negligence and Negligence Per Se

If a tractor-trailer crashes into you as a result of faulty brakes, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages/injuries. You will need to at least establish a claim of negligence, or even negligence per se. Negligence occurs when someone fails to exercise ordinary care and causes injury to you. Under negligence, you, as the plaintiff, must show that the defendant owed you a duty of care, breached that duty, was the cause of your harm, and you incurred injury.  

As for negligence per se, this may be a viable claim for damages if the defendant violated a statute, ordinance, administrative ruling, regulation, or order, that was specifically designed to protect people from injury or property from being damage. If the defendant did violate one of the above, and caused injury to you in the process, Illinois sees this as prima facie evidence of negligence. Nevertheless, please note that if you establish this, the defendant may then argue against it by a showing that he or she acted reasonable under the circumstances, even with the violation.

Do not wait! Hire an Attorney:

If you were involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer and now suffer injuries, it is imperative that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney. The Illinois personal injury lawyers at Levin & Perconti have the experience needed to aggressively take on your case. Call us today at (312) 332-2872 or toll free (877) 374-1417 to schedule a FREE consultation.


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