Lawsuit blames broken brake valve for fatal truck accident

A lawsuit filed late last month claims that a faulty brake valve installed in a tractor-trailer rig was to blame for a fatal vehicle crash last year. The 2015 accident resulted in the death of a mother from Shelby County. The crash also left the victim’s baby boy with injuries.

The woman’s husband and the father of the infant boy filed the above-referenced wrongful death lawsuit. The suit alleges that on Oct. 20, 2015, at approximately 8:15 a.m., his wife and son were involved in a motor vehicle collision with a Miller & Son 18-wheel tractor-trailer rig.

Court documents indicate that the accident was caused by a faulty modulator valve that failed in the big rigs braking system. The failure resulted in the truck’s inability to stop and avoid the crash. After forensic expert testing, the lawsuit says that the Meritor-built modulator brake valve was — according to Alabama state laws — defective.

The husband is claiming unspecified compensatory damages and punitive damages based on claims of product liability, failure to warn about defects, negligent/wanton maintenance and wrongful death. As of the most recent reports, brake part manufacturer Meritor had yet to offer any public comment on the lawsuit.

In addition to this pending wrongful death lawsuit, the truck driver who was operating the 18-wheeler in the crash was indicted on the criminal count of negligent homicide. He is being accused of operating an 18-wheeler with a braking system that he knew to be defective. The 40-year-old truck driver is currently being held in lieu of posting $15,000 bond.

Truck versus car accidents cause some of the worst injuries and fatalities in Alabama. However, those who are hurt in an 18-wheeler accident — and family members of those who are killed — due to no fault of their own will have the legal right to seek justice and restitution in court.

Source:, “Lawsuit: Defective brake part blamed in 2015 crash that killed Shelby County woman,” Kent Faulk, Oct. 31, 2016