The Sudden Brake Failure Defense In Truck Accident Cases

By Michael Joseph on January 18, 2011

Experienced New York truck accident lawyers, must be familiar with the braking systems of diesel trucks. Our New York truck accident lawyers have handled numerous personal injury car accident cases involving accidents with municipal trucks including garbage trucks or buses.

Many of these cases involve violations of the New York vehicle and traffic law. Our New York personal injury lawyers several years ago won a major Appellate decision which established that City trucks are subject or ordinary negligence standards, not the heightened recklessness standard found in Vehicle and Traffic Law 1104, which requires recklessness to recover for a vehicle working on the road. Our New York accident lawyers successfully established that these exemptions apply only to road construction and maintenance, not all municipal trucks which are on the road while working.

Lately our New York truck accident lawyers have encountered a new defense being advanced by some of the Westchester municipalities to justify clear violations of the vehicle and traffic law by their municipal trucks. An example is that a violation of the vehicle and traffic law generally establishes negligence, however, these towns are now trying to show a non-negligent explanation, i.e., a sudden and unexpected mechanical failure.

In this situation, our New York and Westchester truck accident lawyers utilize a dual strategy of claiming both negligence in maintenance and impossibility of the defense. For example, we depose the diesel mechanics and hire our own diesel mechanic experts as consultants.

Our New York truck accident attorneys have successfully dispelled this defense through depositions of the mechanics by establishing that every diesel truck has two independent braking systems, a service side and an emergency side. These braking systems operate independently, as such, even if there is a mechanical defect on one system, such as an air leak, it does not affect the other braking system. Additionally, on diesel trucks with air braking systems, where there is a leak in the air brake, if the pressure drops below a certain P.S.I., the system will automatically stop the truck from moving at all. Additionally, a small leak such as a problem with a relay valve will only affect the rear wheels, but not the front wheels, which are independently sufficient to stop a diesel truck. Therefore, top notch truck accident personal injury lawyers should not allow a jury to be fooled by these defenses.

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