Brakes Failed in Accident? Here’s What You Need to Know

March 6 2023

Brakes can fail in an accident due to a variety of factors, including mechanical malfunctions, faulty repairs, wear and tear, or inadequate maintenance. To determine the exact cause of brake failure, it is important to have your vehicle thoroughly inspected by a qualified mechanic.

Causes of Brake Failure

Brake failure is a potential hazard any vehicle can encounter on the road. Brake failures can be cause by a variety of factors, some of which may be out of the driver’s control while other cases may result from a lack of proper maintenance. In order to adequately mitigate the risk associated with brake failure, it is important to understand what can cause it and how it can be prevented.

There are several potential causes of brake failure that range from improper assembly and installation to component deterioration over time. Incorrectly installed brakes, for example, can damage key components like master cylinders and lead to decreased braking power or complete brake failure even when the brakes are in good condition. Improperly sized or mismatched brake pads can also cause dangerous and dramatic reductions in braking power which could leave drivers unable to stop their vehicles even when the brakes are otherwise correctly installed.

Moreover, over time brake fluid can degrade and become contaminated by water or air bubbles, reducing its effectiveness and causing elevated levels of wear on calipers and rotors due to decreased lubrication. This can increase stopping distances and reduce overall braking performance until eventually the brakes could completely fail. The same holds true for brake hoses, which can dry up or become cracked leading to decreased levels of braking power or total failure if they fail completely.

In order to avoid dangerous incidents attributed to brake failure, drivers must take care to religiously maintain their vehicles according to manufacturer recommendations which should include periodic inspections and flushes of the braking system as well as replacing parts at regular intervals as recommended. Neglecting these steps increases the risk of brake failure significantly, potentially leading to catastrophic events involving property damage and injury.

Given all the potential causes of brake failure that are both inside and outside a driver’s control, understanding how best to protect oneself against this threat is essential. To this end, it is critical for drivers to ensure that their vehicles receive appropriate care and maintenance procedures in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions in order to minimize the risk of brake failures impairing their vehicle’s safety capabilities. Poor vehicle maintenance is often one of the major contributing factors when accidents occur as a result of brake failures, so learning what steps to take in order to prevent this issue is an important part of being an informed driver.

The next section will discuss how lack of proper vehicle maintenance can contribute significantly to brake failures as well as explores key elements such as how long certain components need replacement and service intervals used by many automakers today – knowledge that all drivers should possess in order maintain their vehicles properly and protect against dangerous accidents resulting from inadequate care and upkeep.

Poor Vehicle Maintenance

When a brake failure causes an accident, many assign blame as to who may be at fault. Poor vehicle maintenance is often cited as a contributing factor, as drivers are required to periodically inspect and maintain the brake system in order to ensure its safe operation. If these inspection and maintenance steps are not kept up then the brakes may not operate properly and lead to an accident.

On the other hand, even though poor vehicle maintenance can play a role in brakes failing, it isn’t always the case. Other factors such as wear and tear on parts over time, exposure to extreme weather conditions or buildup of corrosion on important parts can all interfere with brake functionality. In some cases, this type of wear and tear cannot be avoided in spite of regular inspections and routines designed to keep the brakes operating well. While robust vehicle maintenance is part of responsible driving practices it’s also possible for mechanical errors or faults to occur that are out of the driver’s control.

The bottom line is that both poor vehicle maintenance and mechanical errors can take place when examining an accident involving faulty brakes – sometimes one, sometimes both in combination. It’s important to remember this when determining who or what may be at fault for an accident stemming from malfunctioning brakes.

As complex as brake failure accidents become due to a variety of potential causes, another important aspect must be considered – that of malfunctioning brake systems themselves. The next section will go into detail about why brake systems can malfunction and how best to stay safe on the roads despite such malfunctions occurring.

Malfunctioning Brake System

When brake failure is the cause of an accident, it usually comes down to malfunctioning brakes. Studies suggest that nearly 30 percent of all brake-related incidents are caused by a malfunction in the system. Malfunctioning brakes can be caused by various factors such as mechanical problems, faulty brake parts, worn down components, low brake fluid levels, moisture contamination or air bubbles in the lines. Even when the braking system is properly designed and maintained, brake failure can still occur due to environmental conditions like road salt degradation or extreme heat.

In some cases of alleged brake malfunction as the cause for an accident, expert testimony may be needed to provide reasonable doubt on whether brakes were functioning as intended according to established industry standards. For example, if a driver claims that their brakes suddenly failed causing an accident, witnesses and investigators will likely inspect the vehicle for evidence of a preexisting mechanical issue or sign of wear and tear that led to sudden brake failure. This could signal a lapse in preventative maintenance indicating negligence on the part of the driver’s carelessness. On the other hand, an investigative assessment of friction material and deposits within drum bores may note excessive carbon powder buildup due to severe brake fade or torque increase during operation which may reveal a manufacture defect causing failure. In both cases mechanical issues were a possible cause for despair but in one case negligence was implicated as well as possible product liability.

Regardless of circumstances leading to defective brakes from either improper maintenance or a manufacturing fault, it’s essential that drivers regularly check their vehicles and take precautionary safety measures to reduce risk from potential brake failure. To cover yourself from potential legal challenges during an accident resulting from malfunctioning brakes, it’s important to keep detailed notes about prior inspections and any subsequent repairs made for future reference.

Now that we’ve discussed Malfunctioning Brake Systems, let’s move onto Preventing Brake Failure in our next section.

Preventing Brake Failure

When it comes to preventing brake failure, there are two sides to consider. On one hand, regular maintenance is essential for any car, and brakes especially should receive frequent care and attention. Regularly checking and servicing the brakes, ensuring brake fluid levels are topped up and pads are in good condition can greatly reduce the risk of brake failure and even accidents caused by defective brakes. Furthermore, certain components, such as anti-lock brakes (ABS) systems, should be replaced when they become damaged.

On the other hand, some drivers disagree that regular maintenance is enough to prevent brake failure and suggest extra steps must be taken. Routinely inspecting brake lines for corrosion or leaks is a good step to take that some drivers do not consider. Additionally, replacing parts such as rotors when they become worn down will ensure better performance from the braking system. Although these steps may be slightly more expensive, many argue that this added expense pays off in the long run with proactive measures against brake failure.

Taking a proactive stance against brake failure is always preferable to waiting until an issue arises before reacting; investing in regular check-ups and taking measures to ensure brakes are functioning properly are great ways to prevent serious issues and potential accidents down the road. To learn more about when professional safety checks might be necessary, read on to find out more in the next section.

Professional Safety Checks

When it comes to cars, drivers have the responsibility to keep their vehicle safe and maintained. One way to check for potential issues in advance is with a professional safety check. These checks are conducted either by a dealer or a certified auto technician and involve looking for things like signs of general wear and tear, including any worn parts, fluid leaks, fluid levels, filters, brakes, tires and other components.

These inspections can identify possible problems weeks or months before an accident would occur. Some argue that this type of preventative maintenance should be mandatory in order to ensure vehicle safety on the roads. It can also guard against costly repairs down the road.

On the other hand, some people argue that there’s no need to pay extra money for a standard safety inspection if a car is already passing emissions tests and not showing any visible signs of wear and tear. In addition, many modern vehicles come equipped with advanced electronic systems that can detect when something needs to be serviced or replaced.

Regardless of where you fall in the debate, regular professional safety checks remain an important part in preventing serious vehicle accidents due to brake failure or other mechanical problems. By staying ahead of any potential issues that could arise while on the road, drivers can help protect themselves from potential danger as well as save money down the line.

Now that we have discussed professional safety checks, let’s move on to Identifying Brake Failure.

Identifying Brake Failure

Identifying brake failure is essential for preventing accidents as well as determining liability in the event of an accident. In most cases, it is easy to determine whether a vehicle’s brakes were working properly or if they failed. Properly functioning brakes provide no warning before stopping a vehicle; however, when brakes fail, the driver should experience signs that something is wrong. Brake failure can be caused by both mechanical issues or operator error. While some may debate the cause of an accident, ultimately the responsibility falls on either the driver or mechanic if either has been negligent with brake maintenance or operation.

The first step in determining whether brakes have failed can involve inspecting the brake discs and pads. The disc and pads should show no signs of heavy wear or damage. If they are severely worn down or warped then this can indicate brake failure and should be addressed immediately with a replacement or repair as appropriate. Additionally, checking the plumbing under the vehicle can determine if any leaks have occurred which could cause brake failure. With modern technology, it’s even possible to diagnose electronic braking systems using codes that come up after a diagnostic scan is completed by a mechanic.

The second step in identifying brake failure is to look at how the vehicle operated prior to an accident occurring. Was the vehicle slow to respond to brake input? Did it make any unexpected jerking movements or grinding noises when attempted to slow down? These types of indications can all point towards a potential issue with failing brakes and need to be addressed promptly so as not to risk further damage or injury.

When identifying brake failure it is important to weigh both mechanical and operator factors equally before making a decision on who may be responsible for an accident. In some cases, both may have contributed and need to be accounted for during any subsequent investigations into an incident. Ultimately, remembering proper maintenance protocols and driving responsibly are key factors in avoiding unnecessary accidents involving brake failure.

Now that we have discussed identifying brake failure, let’s move onto exploring how warning signs for potential brake failure can be spotted in our next section: “Spotting Warning Signs”.

Spotting Warning Signs

Safety is everyone’s responsibility and it’s important to be aware of potential issues with your vehicle. Brakes are critical for safe driving, so it’s important to occasionally check them for any signs of potential failure. There will usually be some sort of warning prior to their complete failure. Being able to spot these warning signs may help you avoid a dangerous and expensive accident.

Visually inspecting brakes is the best way to identify problems in non-electric braking systems. If you look at the actual brake pads, they should not appear thinner than ⅛ inch. The rotors should also appear relatively smooth without any deep grooves or flat spots. Additionally, if you hear squealing or grinding noises once you’ve applied your brakes, then this may be an indication that the brake pads need replacing. Increased stopping distance can also be another indicator that there are issues with either the brakes, or the other components connected to them such as the brake lines or calipers.

If your car has electric brakes, there will usually still be some sort of visual indicators when trying to troubleshoot potential problems such as warning lights located on your dashboard. Additionally, it could also be worth having a mechanic run specific tests to check for faults within the entire electrical brake system.

Reacting quickly and correctly when spotting warning signs can save time and money in the long run. While some might think it’s better practice to have brake maintenance completed by a qualified professional, several car owners choose to inspect their own brakes and manage simple repairs themselves. However, before doing this it’s important verify that state laws permit home vehicle maintenance; if they do not then all repairs must be completed by an authorized technician or service technician licensed by the state.

Understanding how to spot warning signs when it comes to failing brakes is an important factor in avoiding accidents due to faulty brakes and understanding how much damage may have been caused later on down the line by neglected maintenance can help you know what needs fixing next.

Leading into the next section: Troubleshooting Braking Problems is an essential part of understanding why brakes fail and what methods are available to resolve issues within a braking system both safely and affordably.

Troubleshooting Braking Problems

Troubleshooting braking problems is essential to ensure a safe and reliable ride. There are two strategies for identifying brake problems: by sound or by feel.

Start with inspecting the brakes by sound. If the brakes start squealing, chirping, growling, or grinding when they are applied, action should be taken immediately. These sounds indicate that something is wrong and should be addressed quickly to avoid costly repairs down the line.

Another way to troubleshoot brake issues is by feel. When you press down on the brake pedal, there should be an even resistance throughout the entire range of motion. If there is any increase or decrease in resistance throughout the process, it’s likely that further investigation needs to be done in order to identify the source of the problem. Furthermore, if there is no resistance when pushing down on the brakes, one might need to investigate an issue with a faulty caliper or broken cables.

It’s important to take all signs of braking issues seriously as such neglect can lead to more dangerous conditions while out on the road. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to consult a professional mechanic who can identify and solve any potential issues in a timely manner.

With this knowledge of how to recognize and troubleshoot brake failure in mind, we can now proceed to discuss the dangers of brake failure in the following section.

The Dangers of Brake Failure

It is important to understand the dangers of brake failure. When brakes fail suddenly, catastrophic accidents can occur, leading to injury and even death. Speed is considered a factor in many brake failure incidents because drivers often cannot control or stop their vehicles quickly enough upon discovering their brakes have failed. It is particularly hazardous if someone is travelling at or near the speed limit when this occurs.

In contrast, some argue that relatively minor incidents with no reported injury may be attributed to brake failure alone; however, other mechanical problems such as steering loss and defects in vehicle design should also be taken into consideration. Additionally, data shows that poor maintenance and neglecting routine auto service are two major contributing factors in many brake system problems. While rare, all of these issues can lead to an increased risk of a serious automobile accident.

When it comes to understanding the dangers of brake failure, it is essential for all drivers to recognize their role in keeping up-to-date on regular maintenance service as well as adhering to posted speed limits. This can reduce the likelihood that a motorist will experience brake failure due to neglect and help preserve driver safety for everyone on the road.

Given the risk and consequences of brake failure, it is worth exploring what possible solutions exist for those that may have experienced it recently – this will be explored further in the conclusion section.


When brakes fail in a vehicle accident, there are several factors to consider when assessing who is at fault. The manufacturer of the product must assume some liability for any design or manufacturing defects that may have caused the brakes to malfunction. Additionally, the driver must assume some responsibility for not ensuring that their brakes were in good working order before operating the vehicle. All parties involved should seek legal counsel to be sure that their claims are adequately addressed and represented in court.

If a third party is found to be negligent in causing the brakes to fail, they should also be held liable in addition to any other entities with a hand in causing or contributing to the accident. When assessing where negligence lies in brake failure incidents, all parties involved should do their due diligence and look into any potential liabilities that could have led to the vehicle crash. In the end, determining fault can be a complicated process and each situation needs careful attention and consideration of individual facts and circumstances.

  • According to a study by the National Transportation Safety Board, human error was the cause of up to 95% of brake failure accidents.
  • The most common cause of brake failure is insufficient maintenance, including misalignment or lack of lubrication.
  • Poor road conditions can also contribute to brake failure, as can mechanical failures such as worn brake drums or rotors and poor quality parts.

Answers to Commonly Asked Questions

What could have caused the brakes to fail in the accident?

There could be a few different reasons behind why the brakes failed in the accident. First, the brakes may have been worn out from too much use and not inspected regularly, leading to gradual deterioration. Another possibility is that a manufacturing/mechanical defect caused the brake system to malfunction. Finally, it could be that foreign objects such as dirt or rocks worked their way into the brake system, preventing it from working properly. In any case, it’s best to have any brake systems thoroughly inspected by an experienced mechanic before operating any vehicle to ensure safe driving.

What are the legal implications of brakes failing in an accident?

The legal implications of brakes failing in an accident can vary greatly and depend on the laws of each jurisdiction. Generally speaking, there are a few issues that may arise when brakes fail and lead to an accident. The affected parties may have to consider potential liabilities, as well as negligence and product liability.

If the driver is found to be negligent in maintaining their vehicle, meaning they have not regularly serviced it or replaced worn brake pads, then the driver may be held liable for the damages caused by their failure to take proper care of their vehicle. Likewise, if the brake failure was due to a manufacturing defect or design flaw in the vehicle’s braking system, then the manufacturer may be held liable for any damages that were caused by the defect.

In addition to potential liabilities, those affected by a brake failure accident must also consider any personal injury claims which may arise out of such an incident. While this could lead to long and costly legal proceedings, seeking compensation for any medical costs or lost wages that resulted from the accident is important in order to ensure justice is served.

Ultimately, it is important for those affected by a brake failure accident to understand their rights and consult with a qualified attorney as soon as possible in order to ensure they fully understand what legal recourse they may have.

What safety measures can be taken to prevent brakes from failing in an accident?

One of the best safety measures that can be taken to prevent brakes from failing in an accident is regular maintenance and inspection. This should include checking brake pads and disc rotors for any issues or wearing that can affect their performance. Additionally, vehicle owners should regularly check brake lines, hoses and cylinders for any signs of wear or damage.

Drivers should also pay attention to the way their brakes are feeling when they press the pedal. If they notice any signs of unusual sponginess, grinding, or vibrating sensations these could be signs of an issue with the braking system.

Finally, drivers should be sure to only use official manufacturer parts on their vehicle as aftermarket parts may not offer the same quality or performance as factory parts.