Know Your Rights if You Have been Injured in a Jake Brake Accident Involving a Semi-Truck in NJ

Filing a Claim for Jake Brake Accident Injuries in New Jersey

When you hear the term “Jake brake,” you might picture (and hear) that loud rumbling noise that often accompanies large trucks as they decelerate. The noise is a standard feature on highways and mountainous regions, where truck drivers need additional braking power to control their heavily loaded trucks. But what exactly is a Jake brake, and why is it important for drivers, particularly in New Jersey?

The Power of Engine Brakes in Heavy-Duty Vehicles

A Jacob Brake or “Jake brake” is a motor brake used primarily in large diesel trucks. Unlike traditional friction brakes that use pads to create the resistance needed for restricting the speed of the vehicle to a stop, a Jake brake modifies the engine’s operation to slow the truck down. The process is vital for managing the immense weight of these larger trucks, especially on steep descents or in Jersey stop-and-go traffic. The system not only aids in preventing the truck’s brake pads from wearing and functioning but also enhances safety by providing an additional method to control a vehicle’s speed.

Jake brakes are typically found in big vehicles such as semi-trucks, big rigs, and other commercial vehicles hauling heavy loads. These vehicles require substantial brake power to safely decelerate. The Jake brake provides a reliable solution by converting the engine into a snoring air compressor, thus offering an extra layer of braking capability.

NJ Regulations on Jake Brakes in Trucks

The legality of Jake brakes varies by municipality. The use of Jake brakes is not universally banned; it is by many local governments and is often brought up for noise violations and discussion to permanently ban their use. Franklin, NJ, and Haeldone, NJ, have both long banned the use of Jake brakes. Restrictions are posed due to the noise pollution produced by these mechanisms of braking. Violations can actually result in fines and, in cases of repeat offenders, even jail time. These regulations aim to balance the operational needs of truck drivers with the peace and quiet intended for residential neighborhoods and areas.

Operational Mechanics of Jake Brakes

How does a Jake brake even operate? When activated, the Jake brake alters the engine’s exhaust valves, which permits compressed air to escape. The process slows down the engine rotation, which in turn reduces the vehicle’s speed. Unlike traditional braces that rely on friction and can even overheat, for example, in traffic where use is repetitive or continuous, Jake brakes use the engine itself to absorb energy and, as a result, prevent brake fade while control is maintained by the vehicle. The method is particularly beneficial on long downhill stretches of road where traditional braking can fail due to excessive heat and pressure buildup.

A Look at Accidents Caused by Improper Jake Brake Use

However, the use of Jake’s brakes is not without risks. Accidents related to Jake brakes and Jake braking occur due to driver error or adverse weather conditions. For instance, if a driver uses a Jake brake on a slippery road, the sudden deceleration could cause the truck to lose its grip and its traction, leading to a skid or even a jackknife. For inexperienced drivers, these scenarios can be especially hazardous as this driver may still need to develop the necessary instincts when driving such large vehicles and may need to be familiar with the appropriate conditions for using a Jake brake. Additionally, activating the Jake can destabilize the vehicle if a truck’s load is too light or unevenly stacked, increasing the chance of an accident.

Top Kinds of Injuries Caused by Jake Brake Accidents

Crashes involving a Jake brake can result in severe injuries. Common injuries include whiplash, fractures, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injury (TMI). The sheer size and weight of trucks mean that any accident involving them can have colossal consequences for both the truck driver and others on the roadway. Victims of such accidents often face long recovery periods and monumental medical bills.

Assigning Fault in Accidents Involving Engine Brakes

Personal Injury Lawyers Seeking Compensation for Jake Brake Accidents in NJ

Liability in Jake brake accidents can be complex. Potentially responsible parties include the truck driver, the trucking company, the manufacturer of the Jake brake, and even maintenance providers. The driver may be held liable if they use the Jake brake inappropriately or in prohibited areas. The trucking company might be liable if it failed to supply adequate training or if its policies encouraged unsafe driving practices. Manufacturers can also be held responsible if a flaw or defective element is detected in the Jake brake that contributed to the accident, and maintenance providers might be at fault if they did not sufficiently or correctly service the braking system.

Let Cohen & Riechelson Handle your Jake Brake Accident Claim in New Jersey

The aftermath of a Jake brake accident can be overwhelming and daunting, especially if you are recovering from serious injuries. However, this is when a skilled attorney is pivotal. Our team of personal injury lawyers at Cohen & Riechelson can investigate the crash, gather evidence, and determine who was liable. The process can include examining local laws and ordinances and combing through a truck’s maintenance records, driver logs, and black box data. When it’s time to negotiate with the insurance company for fair compensation for your injuries and other related losses, our lawyers can also step in.

If you or a loved one has been in a truck accident due to Jake breaking in Princeton, Lawrence, Hamilton, Hightstown, Ewing, Robbinsville, Trenton, Mercer County, or elsewhere in New Jersey, contact an experienced attorney at our Hamilton office for a confidential and free consultation today. Call (609) 528-2596 or access our online option to discuss your case.