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Who is at Fault When a Mechanical Failure Causes an Accident?

Mechanical failures may not be a leading cause of car accidents in Indiana or in the nation. But with cars’ increasing mechanical complexity and recalls on defective parts affecting tens of thousands of vehicles, it’s important to understand how mechanical defects and failure can lead to accidents.

If mechanical failure is suspected as causing a car crash, investigators will look to see if a car has been properly maintained. Performing regular maintenance is critical to car ownership and safe driving. If lack of maintenance caused an accident, responsibility would likely fall on the driver. However, if a part or parts of the vehicle failed to operate safely and as expected, several parties could be responsible.

Drivers, Mechanics, and Manufacturers at Fault

If you own and drive a vehicle, you are responsible for maintaining that vehicle and following its maintenance schedule. Many states require that vehicles pass an annual safety and operating inspection to help ensure that cars on the road are mechanically safe.

Still, whether or not inspection is mandatory, regular maintenance according to your car’s maintenance schedule and manufacturer must be maintained. Failure to do so can place fault on the driver should an accident occur following a mechanical failure.

Auto mechanics or technicians could be held at fault for an accident if a recently serviced automobile winds up in a crash due to mechanical failure. If a car recently underwent maintenance or had a newly replaced part fail, mechanics could be held liable for a resulting accident. If a technician was negligent while servicing a vehicle or installing a part, he could be held responsible.

Sometimes manufacturers are responsible for auto accidents caused by mechanical failure and defective components. Some cases of car recalls and situations involving defective parts have become widely known.

In 2009 and 2010, for example, class action lawsuits were filed against Toyota concerning jammed accelerator pedals that lead to accidents. Manufacturers of specific parts can also be held at fault. In the early 2000s, Firestone tires had to recall millions of tires after tire failure caused numerous accidents and injuries.

When a manufacturer fails to issue a recall or takes an excessively long time to issue a recall for a defective part or vehicle, it could be held responsible for accidents tied to resulting mechanical failure. The manufacturer is often responsible for any defects involving a car’s build or design.

Common Mechanical Failures and Causes

Brakes

Brakes require regular maintenance and inspection to make sure that brake pads and other parts are replaced as needed. Still, even with proper maintenance, brake pads can crack or become loose, resulting in a mechanical failure that could put a technician or manufacturer at fault.

Steering

A car’s steering system contains many parts and components, such as steering linkages, the suspension, power steering fluid, and ball joints. Steering system failures could fall on the manufacturer. Steering issues can be more difficult to ascertain following an accident, yet any pronounced problems with the steering and suspension systems and transmission could indicate a steering system defect.

Tires

Tire issues and failure are one of the most common causes of mechanical failure. Even well-maintained tires can experience pressure changes when temperatures and weather conditions change, affecting performance. Worn or balding tires can also reduce control and safe operating. Still, manufacturing defects like tread separation, bulging, and cracking can also cause mechanical failure.

 

Knowing Where to Turn

If you or a loved one was involved in an automobile accident that you think was the result of a mechanical failure, contact the expert legal team at Crossen Law Firm. You are owed fair compensation if a manufacturer, auto technician, or other party was responsible for an accident.

Now is the time to have an expert Indiana personal injury attorney help you with your case and fight for your compensation while you focus on recovery. Contact the Crossen Law Firm to set up a free consultation.

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