West Virginia drivers may wonder who will be held responsible for an accident if their brakes fail. While failing to brake can be considered to be driver error, there are other circumstances where it may not be.
Drivers who fail to brake because they are not paying attention are likely to be held liable if they cause an accident. If the other driver also contributed to the accident in some way, such as if they run a red light or were driving dangerously, the driver who failed to brake could still be held at least partially liable for the damages. Investigators can potentially determine if the driver at least attempted to brake by looking at the data on the vehicle's black box, which will also tell them how fast the car was driving when the accident took place.
Mechanical failure can also cause the brakes to fail. However, if investigators find that drivers did not maintain their tires, brakes and other vehicle equipment, they could still be held liable. If the brakes failed due to a manufacturer defect, the driver may not be held liable while the manufacturer would be.
People who are injured in a traffic accident that was caused by a driver who failed to brake may potentially seek compensation for any injuries or damages that were directly caused by the crash. A personal injury attorney may gather evidence from the accident, such as police reports showing that the other driver did not even attempt to brake, to use in a subsequent lawsuit or in settlement negotiations with the at-fault driver's insurance company.