Poor Maintenance Can Be a Negligent Action That Leads to a Car Accident

September 1, 2022
Poor Maintenance Can Be a Negligent Action That Leads to a Car Accident

Not Having Your Vehicle Maintained Can Lead to a Car Accident

Car accidents are caused by a myriad of negligent actions including distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, etc. One form of negligence that often slips under the radar yet causes many car accidents is lack of routine car maintenance. It is imperative that all drivers routinely inspect and maintain their vehicles to make sure all parts of the car are operating correctly, such as the brakes, engine, headlights, and battery. Without getting this routine servicing, a vehicle may be suffering from malfunctions that the driver doesn't know about, which can cause a car accident.

Seeking Compensation from a Car Accident Claim

A driver is obligated to keep their car in good condition to mitigate the risks of taking it out on the road and causing an accident. This is the duty of care they afford to other drivers to ensure their safety. However, a driver not having their vehicle properly maintained can lead to easily avoidable mechanical failures that cause accidents. If you suffered severe injuries because of a driver not maintaining their vehicle, a car accident claim could help you recover damages related to your injuries. Consider hiring a Florida car crash attorney that can help you assess the situation, collect evidence, and file the claim to work toward netting you fair compensation for your injuries.

How Routine Vehicle Maintenance Can Prevent Car Accidents

Vehicle maintenance checks prevent car accidents by catching possible mechanical failures in a vehicle before they affect the driver on the road. These issues can reduce a driver's control over their vehicle and lead to an accident. Keeping a vehicle on a consistent car maintenance schedule can help prevent mechanical failures. It is customary for a vehicle to be serviced every 12,000 miles. For most drivers, that will mean once per year. A car should also be looked at by a technician every time an issue crops up or something unusual occurs with the operation of a vehicle like strange sounds or erratic control. The dashboard has warning lights, such as the check engine light, battery alert light, and tire pressure warning light, that alert the driver to issues with their car. A trip to the auto repair shop will be needed when these lights alert the driver of a problem so a technician can evaluate the state of your vehicle.

Common Car Maintenance Issues

The following are some of the common issues routine vehicle maintenance can check for:
  • Low fluid levels (engine oil, coolant, transmission, etc.)
  • Low tire pressure
  • Leaking hoses
  • Damaged lights
  • Corroded battery
  • Clogged air filters
  • Defective brakes 

A Driver Can Miss a Defective Car Part Without Proper Vehicle Inspection

Drivers can often miss defective car parts right under their noses. Whether the part was defective upon purchase or has decreased in quality over time, regular car maintenance can help identify those parts before they cause a car accident. For example, drivers should always check the wear on their brakes regularly. Not getting the malfunctioning brakes identified and fixed early can cause an issue while driving, possibly resulting in a rear-end collision because the car cannot stop properly. The following are some of the possible malfunctioning car parts a routine maintenance check can catch:
  • Brakes
  • Steering wheel
  • Accelerators
  • Ignition
  • Engine
  • Transmission

Not Maintaining Your Tires Can Lead to a Car Accident

One of the most commonly malfunctioning parts of a vehicle are the tires. A driver needs to ensure their tires stay inflated and have tread left. Checking your tires only takes a few moments and a cheap tire pressure gauge. If you don't feel comfortable judging the level of pressure in your tires and the wear on their treads then you can always have an expert maintenance provider take a look; sometimes for free. Bald tires have little to no tread left after years of use. Bald tires can occur due to overuse, under or over air inflation, or misalignment. This lack of tread leaves your tires susceptible to being punctured by sharp objects and reduces the vehicle's ability to brake.  They also won't be able to channel rain and snow, which can reduce a driver's control over their vehicle during adverse weather conditions. The lack of control over the vehicle can leave the driver helpless to stop a car accident from occurring, breaching the duty of care they owe to other drivers on the road. A punctured tire can lead to a tire blowout, which can cause severe damage to the driver themself and those with which they share the road.

A Cracked Windshield Can Reduce Visibility and Cause a Car Accident

A cracked windshield can reduce a driver's vision because the crack can produce a glare from sunlight or headlights reflecting off the glass. A large crack in the windshield can make it difficult to see the other drivers. Driving with a cracked windshield is extremely risky and can cause a dangerous car accident According to Florida Statute 627.7288, drivers with comprehensive car insurance coverage cannot be charged a deductible by an insurance company for a windshield replacement. As Florida is a no-fault state and requires personal injury protection insurance, most drivers have free windshield replacement. Causing an accident because of a cracked windshield is avoidable and can serve as the basis for negligence in a car accident claim.

Liability for a Car Accident Caused by a Poorly Maintained Vehicle

You can file a car accident claim with the insurance of the driver of a poorly maintained vehicle if their car's malfunction led to accident injuries that exceed available PIP coverage. If a driver didn't have regular maintenance checks or knew there was an issue they chose not to resolve, the fault for the accident would lie with them for not taking the proper steps to avoid a car accident. A driver operating a vehicle with a defective car part that causes an accident can file a product liability claim against the designer, manufacturer, distributor, or seller of the faulty part. It is the responsibility of these individual parties to ensure working parts are brought to the marketplace, so any accident caused by them allowing a malfunctioning part through the chain of distribution would leave them partially liable.

Filing a Car Accident Claim

Personal injury protection insurance required in Florida can cover damages up to $10,000 from a car accident. If the cost of your damages exceeds the limit of your insurance, you can file a car accident claim with the insurance of the at-fault party to seek compensation for your injuries. Hiring a car accident lawyer is integral to help sort through the complicated legal legwork a regular citizen is not prepared to tackle alone. They can assist you in determining whether the driver operating a poorly maintained vehicle is solely at fault or if they share responsibility with a car manufacturer or other party involved in the chain of distribution. A car accident lawyer can collect evidence to prove liability in your accident, file the claim, send out the demand letter, negotiate a settlement with an insurance company, or represent you in court should the claim escalate to a car accident lawsuit.

Contact Dolman Law Group for Help With Your Car Accident Claim 

A successful car accident claim can allow the victim to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, lost earning potential, damaged property, pain and suffering, and more. At Dolman Law Group, our experienced car accident lawyers will offer you valuable legal advice, so you can shape your journey to receiving compensation. We will follow your lead in whatever matter you feel comfortable with and fight as hard as we can so you can receive fair compensation for your injuries. Get in touch with Dolman Law Group today for a free consultation. Call 833-55-CRASH or leave us a message on our online contact page.

Matthew Dolman

Clearwater Personal Injury and Insurance Attorney

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess or $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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