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Brakes Cases Summarized By Personal Injury Lawyer

This page within Virginia Tort Case Law is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court and summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of Brakes and the related topic of vehicle accidents. For more information about automobile brakes see the page on Wikipedia. 

Brakes-Statutes

See Va. Code § 46.2-853 as to operation of vehicle with improperly or inadequately adjusted brakes constituting reckless driving.

See Va. Code §§ 46.2-1066 through 46.2-1071.

Brakes-Cases

1994 Bentley v. Felts, 248 Va. 117, 445 S.E.2d 131.

Defendant’s vehicle entered intersection because of failure of power-assisted brakes. Sudden emergency relieves person from liability if, without prior negligence on his part, he is faced with sudden emergency and acts as an ordinary prudent person would act under circumstances. If reasonable persons could disagree on any of these elements then issue is one for jury. Automobile engines do occasionally cut off without warning, thereby requiring operator to use increased brake force to stop engine equipped with power-assisted brakes. In this case defendant acknowledged that he may not have used sufficient power. Under facts of this case this failure of brake power was not sudden emergency and in addition defendant may have contributed to its creation by not using sufficient force to stop vehicle.

1991 Greater Richmond Transit Co. v. Wilkerson, 242 Va. 65, 406 S.E.2d 28.

Plaintiff injured when parked bus began to roll backwards even though operator claimed she had engaged brake and interlock system. Plaintiff did establish prima facie case since circumstantial evidence, if believed, showed lack of any mechanical defect in brakes and interlock system and negated an inference of unexplained mechanical failure.

1984 Culberson v. McCloud, 227 Va. 249, 315 S.E.2d 219.

To constitute actionable negligence there must be legal duty, breach thereof, and injury caused by breach. Plaintiff offered evidence that Chevrolet vehicle that struck her from rear had been repaired two months before accident by defendant, Al’s Brake Service, after co-defendant, Alston, owner of another service station, had recommended to car’s previous owner that brakes be repaired. Previous owner could provide no evidence as to what repairs Al’s had made on car. Court held that they could find no proof of legal duty that Alston owed the plaintiff, and, as such, motion to strike as to Alston was affirmed. Since record is devoid of any proof as to kind of brake work done by Al’s, motion to strike as to him likewise was properly sustained.

1966 Cook v. Basnight, 207 Va. 491, 151 S.E.2d 408.

Defendant struck plaintiff’s vehicle at intersection when his brakes failed and emergency brake could not stop car in time. Sudden emergency instruction proper.

1961 Simmons v. Adana, 202 Va. 926, 121 S.E.2d 379.

Rear-ender where defendant alleged brake failure. Jury should have been instructed on unavoidable accident.

1961 Watford v. Morse, 202 Va. 605, 118 S.E.2d 681.

Foot slipping off brake is not negligence as matter of law. Plaintiff’s evidence established that defendant’s vehicle rear-ended plaintiff. This made out prima facie case and shifted burden of going forward to defendant.

1957 Rountree v. Rountree, 198 Va. 658, 96 S.E.2d 113.

Where brake failure is substantiated by evidence and defendant reacts within this sudden emergency situation, jury question is presented as to negligence.

1951 Keatts v. Shelton, 191 Va. 758, 63 S.E.2d 10.

Police officer testified that brakes were defective at time of accident.

1950 Virginia Transit Co. v. Durham, 190 Va. 979, 59 S.E.2d 58.

Where defendant attempted to establish its freedom from negligence in res ipsa loquitur case by proving how, why, when, and where defect arose in braking system, but was able to establish only how it arose, then there was no error in submitting case to jury on res ipsa loquitur doctrine.

1948 Millard v. Cohen, 187 Va. 44, 46 S.E.2d 2.

In absence of evidence to contrary, conclusive presumption is that brakes were in good mechanical condition.

1947 Carter v. Butler, 186 Va. 186, 42 S.E.2d 201.

Defendant claimed that defective brakes forced his vehicle to pull to right. Skid marks contradicted this.

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Brakes Cases Summarized By Personal Injury Lawyer

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