When you are traveling in a car, SUV, or pick-up truck, your family’s safety depends on the vehicle’s mechanical systems to operate correctly. If there is a problem with the brakes, steering, or even the windshield wipers, you could be in a crash that you have no way to avoid. While you are responsible for the general maintenance and upkeep of your own vehicle, mechanical failures could occur because of someone else’s negligence in designing, building, or repairing it.
If you or another occupant is seriously injured as a result of a crash caused by a mechanical problem that was not your fault, an experienced Indiana car accident attorney can help you hold the responsible party accountable.
Mechanical Failures That Can Cause Devastating Crashes
As a car owner, it’s up to you to maintain the vehicle’s condition, but how many of us know enough about cars to do this ourselves? Most of us rely on dealerships, mechanics, tire stores, and other automotive services to keep our vehicles running smoothly and safely. Some of the more common mechanical failures that occur include:
- Tires. Worn or improperly inflated tires contribute to about 35 percent of car crashes caused by mechanical failure. A tire that is lacking adequate tread can cause the car to spin out or slip on wet pavement. Over- or under-inflated tires can blow out at high speeds, causing the driver to lose control.
- Brakes. Brakes must be inspected regularly, and brake pads and discs may need to be replaced from time to time. Brake failure can be caused by worn brakes, worn or disconnected brake lines, or malfunctioning ABS (antilock braking system). The danger of malfunctioning brakes is pretty clear—if you can’t stop, you will crash into something.
- Lights. Working headlights, taillights, turn signal lights, brake lights, and fog lights are vital to the safety of the vehicle. If your lights fail, not only will you not be able to see what’s in front of you, but other drivers will not be able to see you.
- Windshield wipers. Often, you don’t know that your windshield wipers are broken or faulty until you need them. At that point, it’s too late. If you can’t clear the rain, sleet, snow, or mud from your windshield, you will not be able to see in front of you to drive safely.
- Steering. While rare, a sudden loss of steering ability could have tragic consequences. If this happens after your car was in the shop, it could be the fault of the mechanic.
If you rely on professionals to maintain your vehicle, it’s possible that a crash caused by a mechanical failure could be their fault, but it won’t be easy to prove.
Determining Liability for a Crash Caused by Mechanical Failure
If you are a do-it-yourselfer who does their own automotive upkeep and repairs—or you have simply never had your car inspected or taken in for repairs—you would be responsible for injuries or property damage caused by a crash. However, if this is not the case, liability could fall to:
- Repair shop. If a connection can be made between the mechanical failure and work done by a tire shop, mechanic, dealership, oil-change service, transmission shop, or any other repair shop, they could be held liable for resulting damage.
- Manufacturer. Automakers issue recalls for dangerous issues all the time. If faulty design or manufacturing caused the crash—and there is no recall for the specific problem—it might be possible to hold the manufacturer of the car or component responsible. However, if you have ignored recall notices for the problem, this will probably not be possible.
In the aftermath of a crash, it can be difficult to determine what caused it. If you suspect that a mechanical malfunction played a part, it is important that you contact a car accident attorney right away to begin investigating.
Call Our Experienced Team Today
If you are being blamed for a crash caused by mechanical failure, and you believe a mechanic or manufacturer is the one truly at fault, you need someone on your side to fight for what you deserve. Call our car accident team in Indianapolis to schedule your free consultation today.