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Who is at fault when brakes fail?

The brakes on your car or truck are something that you generally don't think about until they don't work. Catastrophic failure of brakes and braking systems can lead to severe injuries or even death. Have you checked the wear on your brakes lately?

While most auto manufacturers recommend a change of brake pads on your personal vehicle every 50,000 miles, sometimes factors beyond our control can result in brake failure. Volvo North America this week issued a recall of more than 6,000 trucks made from 2012 to 2016 due to a manufacturer's brake error.

When recalls affect vehicles on the road, personal injury collides with products liability. Negligence by a vehicle's owner could mean the owner is liable for damages. However, a manufacturer's error can have broader effects on the market and the path to recovery for those injured in accidents.

Unfortunately, part defects that result in accidents are an all too common occurrence. The need for effective brakes is especially important in the winter when snowy roads require more time to stop. Although nearly four out of five car-truck accidents are caused by the driver of the car, the case of Volvo brake errors puts the spotlight back on the truck driver.

Can I hold the truck driver responsible?

The best legal answer to this question is, "It depends." There are no known injuries or fatalities due to the recall of Volvo trucks, but a company's issuance of a recall could shift liability from the driver or trucking company to the manufacturer. Volvo North America is headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., which could become the epicenter of any lawsuit related to the recall.

Where can I file a lawsuit?

If you are injured in an accident on the road, knowing where to file a lawsuit can be confusing. Do you file in your home state, where the accident occurred or in the home state of the other party?

Generally, you must file a lawsuit in the jurisdiction that has authority over the other party - that is, the state in which they live. Each state has its own set of rules, so it is necessary that the lawsuit is filed in the state that can hold the at-fault party accountable for their actions.

While there may be little to be done in Kentucky about this recall, it is important for drivers to understand the nuances of a personal injury or product liability lawsuit. No two cases are the same, but awareness of the different factors can help injured persons know how to navigate the road to compensation after an accident.

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