How Can Car Maintenance Affect a Claim?

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Not all car accidents in Nebraska trace back to driver error. In some cases, car accidents arise from poor vehicle maintenance or low-quality repairs. If an investigation finds that a lack of proper car maintenance caused or contributed to a car accident, the person responsible for maintaining the vehicle – the owner, a company, or an auto mechanic – could be held liable for the collision.

Poor Maintenance and Vehicle Breakdowns

All vehicle owners have a legal responsibility to properly maintain their vehicles. This means to keep them in proper working condition and ensure that they are roadworthy. The owner of a motor vehicle must regularly check and inspect his or her car for potential problems, as well as bring the vehicle to an auto shop for professional maintenance and repairs, as needed. Any lapse in the required standard of vehicle care by an owner or operator can increase the risk of a car accident.

Common maintenance-related vehicle problems that are connected to car accidents in Omaha include:

  • Underinflated or overinflated tires
  • Worn-down tire tread
  • Brakes that need to be replaced
  • Leaking fluids and fire hazards
  • Engine problems
  • Overheating
  • Electrical failures
  • Faulty lights
  • Steering system issues
  • Misalignment

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Mechanical failure from poor maintenance can result in tire blowouts, brake failure, engine failure, loss of power steering, and other significant hazards that can cause car accidents. If the owner of the vehicle reasonably should have done more to keep his or her car in safe working condition, the owner can be held liable (financially responsible) for a related crash. 

Lack of Required Equipment

It is also a vehicle owner’s legal responsibility to make sure that the car has all of the required equipment to make it roadworthy under federal and state traffic laws. This includes working windshield wipers, brakes, headlights and taillights, and a windshield that is not obscured. Driving a vehicle that does not have all of the required equipment increases the risk of a related car accident and can place liability on the negligent owner.

Auto Mechanic Negligence

When poor vehicle maintenance causes a car accident in Nebraska, the driver or owner of the vehicle is the party that is most often found responsible. In some cases, however, the vehicle defect or breakdown is linked to negligence by an auto mechanic in charge of maintaining or repairing the vehicle. 

The owner of a vehicle is responsible for taking a car to a licensed and trained professional to complete difficult repairs. DIY vehicle repairs could lead to liability for a related car accident going to the owner of the vehicle. If the owner did his or her part by bringing the car to an auto mechanic, however, it could be the mechanic that takes the blame for a collision-related to part breakdowns.

Auto mechanics have a legal obligation to act according to the required standards of the automotive industry when inspecting, diagnosing, and repairing motor vehicles. Falling short of this obligation can place liability with the auto shop for a car accident. If a mechanic failed to recommend replacing a worn-down tire at the last maintenance check, for example, the auto shop may be held solely or partially liable for a related tire blowout accident.

How to Prove Your Case

If you were recently involved in a car accident that you believe was related to negligent vehicle maintenance, don’t hesitate to contact an Omaha car accident attorney in Omaha for legal assistance with the claims process. You may have grounds to file a claim against one or more parties, even if you were the person driving the poorly maintained car. If you were not the owner of the vehicle or the person responsible for its maintenance, you may still be eligible for financial compensation from someone else, including an individual owner, rental car company, trucking company or your employer. 

Contact an attorney today for more information about your accident claim.