Brakes are one of the main factors studied when forensics specialists and truck accident lawyers investigate the cause of semi truck accidents. The braking system is the single most important mechanical system on these trucks and often related to the events leading to dangerous accidents. To determine what, how, and why an accident happened, forensics specialists first look at the braking system when reconstructing an 18-wheeler crash.
18-Wheeler Brake Basics
Due to their size and weight, big trucks need more stopping power than any other vehicle on the road. The braking system must be able to stop 80,000 lbs. at highway speed and be carefully maintained to protect against the extreme wear and stress faced by an 18-wheeler. When properly working, brakes create friction to stop these huge vehicles in time to avoid accidents.
When semi truck accidents do happen, there are many ways that forensics investigators can reconstruct the scene and determine whether the brakes had anything to do with the event. Truck accident lawyers depend on these investigations into crash causation as it is critical to build strong cases against the drivers or companies found to be at fault.
Expected Performance vs. Actual Performance
In the aftermath of semi truck accidents, forensic specialists look first at the truck's brakes as well as at any skid marks made during the incident. By comparing data known to be normal in specific conditions with the evidence gathered at the crash scene, investigators can single out abnormal findings to help reconstruct the crash. Everything from skid marks and friction levels to brake balance and lag time can be determined by using evidence gathered at the crash scene.
When compared to normal and known values gathered from properly maintained vehicles, discrepancies become easy to identify. These inconsistencies help pinpoint things like failure due to poor vehicle maintenance, sudden system failure, or even brakes that were simply out of adjustment, all of which could reduce critical stopping power. Through the physical examination of crash scene evidence as well as the careful study of the onboard monitoring system, events leading to a crash can be reconstructed to find answers.
When Brakes Are Under Pressure
There are many reasons why brake failure can occur. For truck accident lawyers to properly determine who is at fault among the various possibilities, they need the information gathered by forensics reconstruction. Brake function may be affected by improper adjustment by the driver or unbalanced loading at the depot. Some failures may be caused by weather conditions or even the type of brakes when compared to events that occurred leading to the crash.
Lag time, which is the time between application and when the system actually responds, is also critical information. Whether or not the brakes lock up is another important factor for unfolding the story of what caused the wreck. In every accident case, the brakes, their type and condition, how they were applied, and the results the driver received after applying them are important pieces of information. They provide an essential look into the crash and which parties may be at fault based on how these components did or did not react.
Semi truck accidents can happen for many reasons. The brakes remain a critical factor that provides essential evidence of what did and did not happen during a crash. Even when the event may not have been caused by the braking system, truck accident lawyers understand the value of accident reconstruction, and why forensic specialists look first at a loss of stopping power. Whether caused by a failure of some sort or external conditions, 18-wheeler braking systems hold the key to unravel the mystery of causation!
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581