How Lack of Vehicle Maintenance Leads to Legal Troubles
Auto collisions are some of the most daunting, traumatic events that a person can experience. They often lead to serious, sometimes long-term injuries. Unfortunately, there are a number of different potential causes of auto accidentsincluding drunk driving, distracted driving, fatigued driving, and more. What happens, though, when a collision is the result of someone’s negligence and they knew of the potential problem? This happens often when motorists fail to properly perform maintenance on their vehicle to fix faults.
In matters of personal injury law, lack of maintenance is something that arises in a number of situations. Typically, this means that there was an error in the vehicle that went unattended and unrepaired. Even worse is when the motorist is aware of the issue, yet fails to do anything to fix the problem. For instance, if the motorist can hear grinding from the brakes and knows it’s a sign of wear, yet doesn’t replace them and it results in a crash. When lack of maintenance is involved, legal troubles can follow.
CIVIL CASES AND LACK OF MAINTENANCE
For the injury victim, seeking legal counsel after an accident is imperative because it can work to prove the cause of the collision. Typically, the most heard about causes are direct results of negligence such as drinking and driving. Lack of maintenance is not always thought about, typically because some evidence may be lost in the crash. However, it’s not impossible to determine whether or not maintenance was a contributing factor in an accident and this can be used on behalf of the victim to seek compensation.
A legal team may check the brakes to determine if they were properly maintained. Furthermore, if an accident occurs in extreme weather conditions, yet the responsible driver does not check windshield wipers to ensure they are smooth and work properly, the lack of maintenance can be the cause of the collision. Regardless of the circumstances, any kind of defect that is not addressed by the responsible driver can be a direct cause of a crash leading to serious injuries — making a civil lawsuit possible.
TRUCKING COLLISIONS AND MAINTENANCE SCHEDULES
In the trucking industry, there are specific rules and regulations that must be followed by all parties, including the trucking company, truck drivers, and employees. This is even true for manufacturers of truck parts. While most of the trucking accidents that occur involve Hours of Service violations, distracted driving, or improper loading of cargo, lack of maintenance is another major issue that may arise. This is the duty of the trucking company to ensure each truck in their fleet is safe prior to going out for its destination.
Whether the truck has received new parts or items may seem worn, maintenance is important to ensuring safety. If a product comes from the dealership or manufacturer defective, maintenance can identify any issues prior to installation and before the truck leaves the lot. Similarly, over time, parts on a truck will wear down making them dangerous. Maintenance gives the trucking company the opportunity to fix any issues before they lead to bigger problems.
Any accident caused by the lack of maintenance or maintenance schedule can mean the trucking company is liable for the damages sustained by the victim. This includes property damage, injuries, and more.
WHO IS LIABLE IN COMPANY OWNED VEHICLES?
In most cases, it is the driver of the vehicle who is considered responsible when lack of maintenance results in a collision. However, if the vehicle is company owned, there may be additional factors that need to be considered.
One such factor may be whether or not there is legal paperwork that dictates the driver is responsible for the maintenance of the vehicle. If the driver is legally required by contract to maintain the vehicle, they would be considered responsible for any injuries caused to a victim as a result of the lack of maintenance. This is especially true for issues involving worn brake pads, windshield wipers, oil filters, corroded battery connectors, and more. These are basic maintenance services that should be handled regularly.
If it is the responsibility of the company to provide maintenance, they should be considered responsible for any accident stemming from a vehicle error or defect. Companies who allow employees to drive their vehicles, such as delivery companies or those providing employees with a vehicle, are often tasked with performing the maintenance services needed based on the owner’s manual of the vehicle to ensure that is safe for not just the public, but for the employee as well.
In cases where no other vehicles are involved, such as the company car crashing into a building because of lack of maintenance, the employee may take legal action against his or her employer for any injuries sustained.
BUS ACCIDENTS INVOLVING MAINTENANCE ISSUES
Lack of maintenance issues can arise in nearly any industry, including city and school buses. Typically, the owner of the bus, whether it be the city, a private company, or a school district is responsible for the maintenance services that need to be performed. Buses often require extensive maintenance because they stop and go often, meaning certain parts of the vehicle may wear down much easier than others. Maintenance increases the life of the vehicle, improves performance, and maintains safety of the vehicle to prevent accidents.
UNDERSTANDING LIABILITY AND THE POSSIBLE PARTIES RESPONSIBLE
Liability may be difficult to prove, but it is not impossible. Much like any personal injury lawsuit, it must be shown that there was a duty of care and that the responsible party should have performed proper maintenance. It must be shown that there was a breach of that duty — or failure to perform maintenance — and that there was an accident as a result of that breach. Finally, it must be shown that the injury sustained by the victim was due to the accident. All of these things can help prove liability and help the victim seek compensation.
The responsible parties vary depending on the situation, but it typically boils down to the driver and the owner of the vehicle. This can be true for accidents involving trucks, buses, company owned vehicles, or even rented vehicles. If someone rents a vehicle that hasn’t been properly maintained and causes a collision, the rental company may be considered responsible for the damages.
HOW HARE WYNN CAN HELP YOU
At the end of the day, it’s imperative for the victim to seek legal counsel who can help them seek the compensation they deserve. Regardless of the cause of the accident, victims endure physical, emotional, and financial hardships. It’s important to seek help to receive medical attention, rehabilitation, lost income, and more.
Our team at Hare Wynn has the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to represent individuals through the complex legal matters they are faced with as a result of someone else’s negligence. We have a long history of recovering the justice our clients need to move forward with their lives, regardless of the liable parties and cause of the collision. When you need help, you can count on our team to stand by your side, advocating on behalf of your best interests, and working tirelessly to seek the outcome you desire.
Call our legal team today to discuss your potential case. We’re here to protect your legal rights and options.