How Vehicle Maintenance May Impact a Car Crash Claim
September 22, 2021
Maintaining a car can be very expensive, particularly as you put more and more miles on it. The cost of oil changes, tire rotations, changing the battery, replacing hoses and other maintenance can add up quickly. Unexpected problems with your car can also be very costly and inconvenient.
Unfortunately, many people do not spend the time or money to keep their car in proper working order. Many people drive on underinflated tires or with their check engine light on for a long period of time without taking the car to a mechanic. Oversights like these could make a car more dangerous to drive and contribute to a crash.
Victims of these crashes may be able to hold the other driver liable for not maintaining his or her vehicle. Your lawyer would need to link poor maintenance to the crash. For example, maybe the other driver lost control because a tire blew out and the driver should have known the tire was underinflated.
If you were injured in a car crash in the Phoenix area, give us a call today to schedule a free initial consultation. Our vehicle accident attorneys in Phoenix are ready to help you and there are no upfront fees for our services.
Vehicle Maintenance Issues That Could Lead to a Crash
There are a wide variety of vehicle maintenance issues that could end up causing a car crash. If these things factored into your crash, you may have a claim against the other driver for negligence.
- Failing or unreliable brakes: If you hear grinding or screeching noises when you apply your brakes, or your car pulls to one side, your brakes need to be serviced immediately. They could be about to fail, and this could happen at the worst time, preventing you from avoiding a crash. Another sign of brake failure to watch for is brake fluid leaking out of your vehicle. Typically, the maintenance schedule in your vehicle’s owner’s manual will tell you when to get your brakes serviced to prevent them from reaching this point.
- Old or underinflated tires: Keeping your tires properly inflated does not cost that much, maybe just a couple of dollars in change at a gas station. Check the tires and/or the owner’s manual to find out the proper amount of pressure for your front and rear tires.
- Broken headlights or taillights: Taillights allow drivers behind your car to see when you are slowing down. Your headlights alert other drivers that you are approaching. This is particularly important if another driver is waiting to turn left and watching oncoming traffic. If your headlights do not work, the left-turning driver could pull into traffic thinking no one is coming. Sometimes it is possible to change a fuse in a taillight yourself. Other times the entire light needs to be replaced.
- Steering issues: Sometimes steering problems are caused by an axle being out of alignment. You may feel the top of the steering wheel vibrate when you speed up or slow down, making your vehicle harder to control. This is something a repair shop should be able to easily fix. Sometimes a car loses power steering, or the power steering becomes unreliable. This can make it harder to turn the wheel. Steering problems could also result in an inability to keep the car moving in a straight line.
Proving Negligent Maintenance Led to a Crash
Linking the other driver’s failure to maintain his or her vehicle to the cause of the crash can be difficult. Your lawyer may need to do a thorough investigation to uncover the state of the vehicle before the crash. The police report and witness statements may also play an important role in the case. Dash cam footage or other video footage may also be important if it is available.
If you can take pictures at the scene of the crash, it could go a long way in helping to validate your claim. For example, pictures of a tire that blew out on the road could be very useful. The pictures may indicate the age of the tire, whether the treads were worn down, and the spot where the blowout happened.
If the other driver’s headlights or taillights were out and this caused the crash, make sure to tell the responding police officer so he or she will note it in the police report.
In some cases, repair shops face some amount of liability for the crash ”“ maybe the other driver took the car to get repaired, but the repair shop did a poor job or ignored something.
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