Is it considered negligence if you rear end somebody when your brakes fail without warning?

Asked over 2 years ago - Stevens Point, WI

My brakes failed while attempting to stop , and I rear ended somebody. The other driver's insurer responded to a review by the commissioner and stated that I was given 3 traffic citations, which is not true, as confirmed by the police report. Why would they accuse me of something that clearly wasnt true?

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Nick Passe

    Contributor Level 15

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The question is ultimately who should be responsible? You with the bad brakes and/or inadequate lookout and/or driving too fast for conditions, or the person you rearended? You may have a claim against an auto body shop or the brake manufacturer or the vehicle manufacturer if a material or installation defect is what caused the brakes to fail, so you would be able to pursue a contribution from that party. But yes, as between you and the person you rearended, you will lose on liability 95% of the time or more if the facts are as simple as you make them out to be.

    Good luck!

    Please note the information provided does not constitute legal advice and no attorney/client relationship is... more
  2. Jason R. Oldenburg

    Contributor Level 7

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . In any negligence case the issue is who is at fault or what is the percentage of fault of the people involved. If your negligence is greater than the driver of the car you rear-ended then you are liable. You must ask yourself, what did the person you rear ended do wrong. Most of the time the answer is nothing. You point to potential mitigating factors regarding your brakes. You have the duty to make sure that your car is in good working order when you are operating it. You also have the duty of keeping a proper lookout and not driving to fast for conditions. If your situation is one that you recently had brake work done than you may possibily have a claim against an auto body shop. Most of the time in your situation, you will be found negligence and be responsible for the damages of the vehicle you rear ended. If you have vehicle insurance, you should promptly report this accident to your carrier and cooperate with its investigation.

  3. John B. Edmondson

    Contributor Level 10

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If your brakes failed without warning...say a line broke....and you had a car that was otherwise in good repair and you had no reason to know brakes might need repair...you could and should win if you can actually show that to be the case... because the accident woud NOT have ocurred because of your negligence ...and that is what plaintiff must show. That, however, means you would likely need expert evidence on the condition of the brakes and the cause of their failure.
    I suspect the other attorneys who commented did not believe you could do that, as such evidence is rarely seen, never-the-less, you do have a potential chance to prevail.

    The above is general legal information that may or may not apply in your state. You should use this information... more
  4. Lars A. Lundeen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You may be found negligent for Improper inspection or maintenance of your brakes.Report the incident to your automobile liability insurance carrier and let them handle the matter for you.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received. The

  5. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I am not sure if you were issued citations or not, but if you were, you can retain a local traffic court lawyer to fight them for a couple hundred bucks. With respect to the accident, your insurance will resolve this for you.

    Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer. www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com
  6. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I am not sure if you were issued citations or not, but if you were, you can retain a local traffic court lawyer to fight them for a couple hundred bucks. With respect to the accident, your insurance will resolve this for you.

    Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer. www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com

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