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Common Mechanical Problems That Cause Car Crashes and Who May Be At Fault

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

Car accidents caused by mechanical failure, such as a brake malfunction or a tire blowout, can have devastating consequences. Many of these collisions result in serious injuries, property damage, and loss of life to those involved. In 2021, there were 622 fatalities in tire-related crashes in the U.S., highlighting the dangerous nature of mechanical failure when driving.

At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., we understand the complexities of these cases and the damages that victims deal with in the aftermath. Our team of experienced car accident lawyers can support you after a crash, helping you determine who is liable for the malfunctioning part and securing the compensation you deserve.

Common Mechanical Issues That Cause Crashes

Mechanical failure caused by a poorly designed part, incorrectly manufactured car component, or poor maintenance can contribute to car collisions. From faulty brakes to malfunctioning tires and steering problems, these mechanical failures can lead to dangerous situations on the road:

  • Brakes. Faulty brakes can affect a driver’s ability to control their vehicle and bring it to a stop. Brake failure can lead to rear-end collisions, T-Bone accidents, and multi-car pile-ups. Faulty or worn brake lines, worn brake pads and discs, and malfunctioning antilock brake systems (ABS) can all contribute to brake failure.
  • Tires. Tire blowouts caused by excessive tread or pressure and tread separation on defectively designed tires can have disastrous consequences. The sudden loss of tire integrity can cause a vehicle to veer off the road, roll over, or collide with other vehicles.
  • Steering. Sudden loss of steering ability can result in hazardous situations, particularly when merging onto highways or navigating sharp turns. These can be caused by poorly designed steering wheels, worn bushings, or components that become stuck or too loose. A malfunctioning steering system can lead to swerving, unintended lane changes, and collisions with other vehicles or obstacles.
  • Windshield wipers. Properly functioning windshield wipers are crucial for maintaining visibility during adverse weather conditions. Malfunctioning wipers can impair a driver’s ability to see the road, reducing reaction times and potential accidents. In rain or snow, ineffective wipers can obscure a driver’s vision, making it challenging to navigate safely.
  • Lights/blinkers. Functional headlights and taillights are essential for safe nighttime driving and signaling your intentions to other drivers. Dim or non-functional headlights reduce a driver’s ability to see the road ahead, while malfunctioning blinkers can confuse other drivers, increasing the risk of collisions.
  • Engine and transmission. Lack of proper maintenance leading to overheating or oil-related problems can result in engine failure. This can create hazardous situations, potentially causing rear-end collisions or forcing sudden lane changes. Transmission problems can cause sudden loss of power, making it difficult for the driver to control the vehicle, especially in high-speed situations.

Who Is Liable in a Car Accident Caused by Mechanical Failure?

In the aftermath of a car accident caused by mechanical failure, determining liability is a critical step in seeking compensation for injuries and damages. Our attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can review the evidence in your case to determine who is at fault. We can then help you file a claim with the following potential parties:

  • Negligent driver. Even when a mechanical issue contributes to an accident, the driver’s actions can indicate fault. If the driver ignores warning signs of a malfunction, such as the check engine light or the car overheating, they may be liable for an accident caused by these issues.
  • Parts manufacturer. You may be able to seek compensation from a parts manufacturer if a vehicle component malfunctions due to design flaws or manufacturing errors. This can include brakes, tires, steering elements, or even GPS system software malfunctions that lead to an accident.
  • Vehicle mechanic or auto shop. If a vehicle mechanic or auto shop fails to perform necessary repairs, incorrectly installed parts or conducts substandard work, you can hold them liable for your injuries.
  • Vehicle owner. If the vehicle owner fails to properly maintain or service their vehicle, such as failing to replace worn brake pads or address tire tread wear, they may be considered liable for accidents caused by mechanical failure.

Compensation for car accident by mechanical failure

How to Receive Compensation for Your Injuries?

After a car accident caused by mechanical failure. Your attorney with Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can help you pursue a settlement through your personal injury protection insurance benefits or a third-party claim:

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance

Michigan’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance is required for all drivers and covers medical expenses and up to 85% of lost wages, regardless of fault. Our attorneys can review your PIP policy to determine your coverage limits, which must be at least $50,000 in Michigan. We can also help you file your PIP claim on time and submit medical documentation so you get all entitled coverage.

Filing a Claim Against Negligent Parties

If your damages exceed what your PIP insurance covers, you can file a claim against the negligent party for full compensation. Whether it’s a driver, manufacturer, or mechanic responsible for the mechanical failure, our attorneys can help you establish negligence, negotiate a fair payout, and represent you in court if necessary.

The evidence we can look for to prove your claim includes:

  • Eyewitness statements. Eyewitnesses can provide firsthand accounts of what they see or hear, helping prove negligence. Their testimonies can corroborate or challenge the accounts of the involved parties. For instance, a witness may have heard screeching brakes before a rear-end accident, indicating worn brake pads and negligent brake maintenance.
  • Vehicle warning lights. Modern vehicles display warning lights on the dashboard for a variety of malfunctions. If these lights were active before an accident, it could indicate a known issue that was either ignored or not adequately addressed.
  • Maintenance records. A vehicle’s maintenance history can uncover neglected services or recurrent problems. Regular maintenance gaps or ignored issues spotlight potential negligence on the car owner’s part.
  • Recall notices. Manufacturers issue recalls when they identify defects in their vehicles. If a car involved in an accident was under recall but not serviced, it could suggest manufacturer liability or owner negligence in not addressing the recall.
  • Service records from mechanics. Records from mechanics provide insights into a vehicle’s repair history. Inconsistencies or inadequacies in these reports can suggest either a mechanic’s negligence or an owner’s failure to act on recommended repairs.
  • Expert testimony. Automotive mechanics or manufacturing professionals can offer insights into flaws, defects, or maintenance issues. Their analysis and opinions can highlight negligent actions by manufacturers or body shop technicians.

Compensation You May Be Entitled to When Injured By a Mechanical Failure

When you suffer injuries as a result of a mechanical failure in a car, you may be entitled to compensation to help with your recovery and make up for the losses you have experienced. Our car accident attorneys can help you understand your rights based on the circumstances of your accident.

  • Medical expenses: Reimbursement for the costs associated with treating your injuries, including hospital bills, rehabilitation, and ongoing medical expenses.
  • Lost wages: If your injuries have forced you to take time off work, you may be compensated for your lost income, including future earnings if you are unable to return to your previous job.
  • Pain and suffering: You might be entitled to compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress you have experienced due to the accident.
  • Property damage: Reimbursement for the damage to your vehicle and other personal property damaged in the accident.
  • Loss of consortium: In certain cases, your spouse might be entitled to compensation for the loss of companionship or the ability to maintain a sexual relationship.
  • Wrongful death: If a loved one has died as a result of the mechanical failure, you might be entitled to wrongful death compensation, including funeral expenses, loss of financial support, and emotional distress.

Secure Your Rights and Compensation: Call One of Our Lawyers Today

Our legal team at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. understands the technicalities of accidents stemming from mechanical failures. We’re equipped with the knowledge and resources to investigate and identify the underlying causes of your collision and hold the liable parties accountable.

Contact our attorneys today if you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident caused by a mechanical failure.

Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 1-866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Iain Bowie is an experienced copywriter who crafts easy-to-understand legal articles, so readers can get the assistance they need.

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