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When Bad Brakes Cause Casualties

Faulty brake systems are responsible for causing roughly 29% of all truck accidents nationwide. When they squeal, scream, or smoke, it is the responsibility of the vehicle’s owner to repair or replace the components that are malfunctioning. When this doesn’t happen, it is the vehicle’s operator, and potentially their employer, that is responsible for any crash the faulty braking system may cause.

Unfortunately, many drivers ignore the warnings their brakes give them. This includes the sounds they make and the warning lights they trigger. Many truck drivers proceed down the road with the idea that their brakes won’t give out before they reach their next destination. It’s a decision that can have lethal consequences.

This last week, Cruz Humberto Guzman Nieves was driving his tractor trailer through Salem Township when his brakes failed at an intersection. Guzman Nieves was speeding and was unable to stop his vehicle before approaching the intersection of Route 22 and Mark Drive. As he drove through the intersection, Guzman Nieves swerved and struck a vehicle driven by Albert Tomasino. Tomasino was severely injured in the crash, and subsequently passed away after being transported to the hospital.

Guzman Nieves had stopped his vehicle less than 30 minutes prior to the crash due to the fact that his brakes were overheating and smoking. Overheating can negatively impact the friction coefficient and cause braking systems to lock up and cease functioning. It is a common cause of braking failure and Guzman Nieves had a legal responsibility to delay driving until his brakes had sufficiently cooled.

By not waiting for his brakes to adequately cool, Guzman Nieves turned his 80,000 pound semi-truck into an uncontrollable missile. The force this can generate when the truck strikes another vehicle can cause serious trauma including spinal cord injuries, brain trauma, and internal hemorrhaging. Even when treatment is promptly administered and the injured party survives the accident, those who have been struck by a semi-truck face a long and costly road to recovery. This recovery process can include numerous surgeries and years of physical therapy.

Individuals who have been injured in a collision with a tractor trailer should contact a Lake County truck accident attorney to discuss their legal options. If the accident was caused by faulty braking systems or driver negligence, it may be possible to seek damages from the driver or their employer.

Years of Experience: More than 30 years
Illinois Registration Status Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association – 1974-Present
Lake County Bar Association
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
Lake County Bar Association Civil Trial and Appeals Committee
Federal Bar Association – Northern District of Illinois
Admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States – May 28, 1991

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