Typically rear-end collisions are governed in Illinois courts by the “rear-end collision” rule. That rule states that the tailing driver in a rear-end collision is always responsible for the accident. This rule assumes the tailing driver would typically have enough room to stop if necessary if they were driving at a safe enough distance and at a rate of speed appropriate for the road and conditions.
However, one case where the rear-end collision rule may not hold up is when the tailing driver has faulty brakes. Faulty breaks make turn a typical personal injury liability claim to a defective products claim, taking the fault from the driver and possibly placing it on the car's manufacturer or other responsible party.
Obviously, if brakes are at fault, that will be evident at the scene of the accident. Therefore driving away from the accident is not advisable. Driving on faulty brakes is irresponsible to say to least. Have the car towed immediately to a garage so that it can be checked after the accident.
Find a qualified (and neutral) mechanic who can verify that there is indeed a problem with your car's brakes. This will be necessary to establish in your claim. If you wait to verify with a professional that your vehicle's brakes are malfunctioning, your claim may lose credibility. Having the car towed home or having a friend check the brakes will weaken your claim from the outset. Get the car checked out by a neutral mechanic right away if you want to file a valid defective products claim.
If the Brakes Failed, Why Did They Fail? Determining why your brakes failed is the key to determining who is at fault in your case. Typically, brake failure that is sudden, complete and unexpected may absolve the driver from liability. Anything less, and the plaintiff can argue that if the driver was paying attention and was driving at a reasonable rate of speed and distance, the accident could still have been avoided.
Even if the brakes suffered sudden and complete loss of function, the driver may still be on the hook if it can be demonstrated that the vehicle had not undergone regular maintenance. It is every car owner's responsibility to ensure their vehicle undergoes regular and competent maintenance before allowing the vehicle on the roads. Keeping your car in disrepair ensures that you will be liable for any accidents that occur as a result.
If your car has been shown to have had regular maintenance (or perhaps is relatively new), it may be shown that the vehicle design or manufacture have inherent problems and those caused the brakes to fail. An experienced defective products attorney like those at Panio Law Offices in Chicago can help gather evidence, research the vehicle in question and develop a strong claim against the car's manufacturer, for instance, for damages in your case. Call our offices at (708) 928-8680, if you would like to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney about your case. We work hard to ensure we recover the highest damages for all of our clients. We will work hard for you.