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How do i answer my summons for a rear end accident when my brakes failed?

Norton, VA |

I was the last car in a read end accident there were 2 car lengths in front of me before i moved. While waiting in line on a hill to pick up my child from school. I was in park waiting for the line to move when 2 cars pulled out to turn around. The line moved forward and I came out of park to move forward when I pressed on the brakes the pedal locked, I tried twice. Then I depressed the emergency brake. When I realized that was not going to work i tried to steer away from the cars in front but to no avail there was no time. I hit the car in front of me and she hit the car in front of her. The summons states that I followed too closely but I was not, there was 2 car lengths in front of me I just couldn't stop. how do i handle this? Thank you in advance.

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Attorney answers 4


What you are arguing is that a defect in your brakes caused the accident.
Best thing would be to get a qualified mechanic to check the vehicle out.

If it checks out the the brakes were not functioning you might be able to get a report and get the charges reduced.

Obviously you should not operate the vehicle prior to this inspection. You will probably need to get it towed for inspection.

Ben Glass is licensed in Virginia. He offers a number of free consumer book downloads at his site for information purposes only. You should consult an experienced, board certified attorney in your area. Obviously, no attorney client relationship is formed by participating in Avvo.


First, contact your car insurance and give them a copy of the complaint. They will defend for you. If you have no insurance, you need to contact an attorney immediately for proper representation as to tell you adequately how to do it is impossible in this forum. You need to answer the complaint within the time allowed by law-in California where I practice, it is 30 days after you have been served but I don't know in your state. Call an attorney immediatley. good luck.

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You need to turn this claim over to your insurance company who will pay any claims up to the policy limit and provide a defense to a lawsuit if necessary. Also, if the insurance company believes that there is a possible third-party responsible for causing the accident, it will pursue a "subrogation" claim against that party for recovery of money it pays out. It's not clear whyt your brakes failed but, for instance, if they were recently inspected or repaired, the repair shop may have some liability. You should tell the insurance company about the brake failure and either preserve the car in its current condition so that it can be inspected, or get documentation from a mechanic that the brakes indeed failed and why.

Good luck.


It would certainly be helpful to make sure that you get the vehicle checked out by a mechanic and repair any issue regarding the brake malfunction. Documentation of your repair is valuable and will serve as good evidence to support your contention that you were unable to stop because of defective brakes. If there was damage to the other vehicle or claimed personal injuries, you should make sure that you notify your automobile liability company and let them know that your brakes failed. I would ordinarily advise against making a recorded statement to any one elses insurance company, although your own insurance company may ask to speak to you and give a recorded statement. Keep in mind too that if you have been sued, you must reply or face the possibility of having a default judgment entered against you. In any case, it would be worth speaking to counsel as soon as possible to make sure that you have yourself properly protected. We regularly talk with individuals over the phone at no charge.

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