Brake System Failure


Approximately 2% of all vehicle accidents have brake system malfunction as a contributing factor to accident causation, and approximately 90% of these are directly related to brake system defects. Furthermore, nearly all defects are caused by improper service or repair. That means that nearly 2% of all vehicle accidents have subrogation potential to recover from a negligent repair facility.

Sometimes, however, a person will be involved in a collision and then state the brakes failed. We are able to determine if the brakes actually failed and the cause of the failure. In some cases we can determine if the driver even applied the brakes, or is just using brake failure as an excuse for driver inattention, and how many seconds prior to the impact the brakes were applied.

VMAR performs a thorough inspection of the brake system including inspection of the master cylinder, brake lines, calipers, rotors, drums, pads, wheels, and tires. We also test the brake master cylinder, measure brake pedal performance, and test-drive the vehicle when possible. If the vehicle is equipped with an Event Data Recorder (EDR), we download and interpret any data in the EDR. Finally, we retrieve a brake fluid sample and submit that to an independent laboratory for analysis.

When You Need to Know . . .

  • Did a brake system failure cause or contribute to the accident?
  • Were the brakes functioning properly at the time of the accident?
  • What was the condition of the braking system prior to the accident?
  • Were the brakes actually applied at the time of the accident?
  • Were both the accelerator and the brakes applied at the time of the accident?
  • Can subrogation be successfully pursued in this case?

Detail of Brake System Failure Investigation and Analysis Service

  • File review (including examination of vehicle repair records, police report, damage repair estimates, transcripts of recorded statements, etc.)
  • Inspect subject vehicle, including remove wheels and inspect brake components; inspect and test brake master cylinder; inspect and test ABS control system and sensors; measure brake pedal performance; electronically scan PCM and ABS control modules (when possible); and test-drive vehicle to determine performance (when possible)
  • Download of data stored in the airbag control module / powertrain control module and interpretation of the downloaded data
  • Submission of brake fluid sample for independent laboratory analysis
  • Thorough photo documentation of inspection and investigation process
  • Establish proper chain of custody and evidence storage (when needed)
  • Preparation of a fully detailed written report

For more information about our Brake Failure Investigation Service (including how a typical brake system works, how we perform the investigation, and what the investigation can reveal), please see the following video:

Our 21 Day

In the world of claims adjusting we know that you usually have only a 30-day window in which to determine the merits of a claim. That's why we promise to handle your assignment and get the completed report into your hands within 21 calendar days.

And we back our promise with this guarantee:

If we do not get your assignment completed within 21 calendar days, then we cut your cost in half.