Brake Failure and Runaway Vehicles: Proving Product Liability Claims in Tennessee

Brake failures that lead to runaway vehicles can result in devastating injuries and even death. If you or a loved one has been injured in a runaway vehicle accident in Tennessee, you may have a product liability claim against the vehicle manufacturer. This article will examine brake failure defects, how to build a product liability case, and Tennessee laws that impact these claims.

What Causes Brake Failure in Vehicles?

There are several potential causes of sudden brake failure in passenger vehicles:

  • Faulty brake lines – Brake fluid runs through brake lines to apply pressure to brake pads. If the lines are cracked or damaged, brake fluid can leak out leading to brake failure.
  • Defective master cylinder – The master cylinder converts force from the brake pedal into hydraulic pressure. Defects can cause it to fail.
  • Problems with brake calipers – Calipers apply the brake pads to the rotors to slow the vehicle. Sticking, worn, or damaged calipers can fail to engage.
  • Issues with brake pads – Worn, contaminated, or defective brake pads may fail to stop the vehicle when applied.
  • Vacuum or hydraulic booster defects – These components increase braking power through fluid pressure or vacuum. If they fail, the brakes lose power.
  • Software and computer issues – Many modern vehicles use drive-by-wire electronic braking. Software glitches or computer problems can disable brakes.

Proving a Product Liability Claim in Tennessee

In a product liability lawsuit in Tennessee, an injury victim must prove:

  • The vehicle or component had a defective or unreasonably dangerous condition
  • The defective condition existed when the vehicle left the manufacturer’s control
  • The defect caused the plaintiff’s injuries
  • Damages resulted from the defect

To show a brake defect, obtaining key evidence is crucial:

  • Vehicle maintenance records – These demonstrate whether brakes were properly serviced and maintained.
  • Accident reconstruction – Experts can analyze physical evidence to pinpoint brake failure as the cause.
  • Design and manufacturing defect discovery – The legal team inspects design documents and the manufacturing process to uncover flaws.
  • Previous complaints or recalls – The manufacturer may have known about a brake defect but failed to warn consumers or recall vehicles.
  • Expert testimony – Vehicle engineers can provide opinions on product defects and corporate negligence.

Tennessee Product Liability Laws

Under Tennessee product liability law, an injury victim can pursue compensation under several legal theories, including:

  • Strict liability – Manufacturers are liable for selling a defective product regardless of fault.
  • Breach of warranty – Vehicles must match the manufacturer’s claims about safety and function.
  • Negligence – Manufacturers must exercise reasonable care designing and building vehicles to avoid defects.

Tennessee has a “modified comparative fault system”, meaning a plaintiff whose own negligence was 50% or less of the cause of injury can still recover compensation, but the award is reduced by their percentage of fault. It is important to demonstrate the manufacturer’s negligence primarily caused the accident.

Contact a Tennessee Vehicle Defect Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries from a vehicle’s brake failure, you may have a product liability claim in Tennessee. With 32 offices across 19 states, including Tennessee, Virginia, and Arizona, the attorneys at Monge & Associates have extensive experience holding automakers accountable for manufacturing defects.

Contact our office today on (888) 477-0597 for a free consultation. Our dedicated legal team can thoroughly investigate your case and help secure the maximum compensation you deserve.