Can Mechanical Failure Cause My Car Accident?Published: Mar 6, 2023 in Auto Accident, Personal Injury
According to statistics, the vast majority of car accidents occur because of driver fault. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report estimates that around two percent of accidents can be linked to mechanical issues. That percentage translates to approximately 6,259 of the 312,988 crashes that happen in Illinois yearly, per statistics from the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Even if your car accident was related to mechanical failure, you could still be held partially at fault, along with someone like a repairperson or even the vehicle’s manufacturer. Determining liability after a crash can require quite a bit of time to sort everything out. As car accident lawyers know, the process can be complicated.
Common Mechanical Failures in Cars
Even though cars may look different, most operate on similar systems and contain common parts that can break down. These include the following:
- Tires: Many car accidents are caused by tire malfunctions. When a tire goes flat or blows out, a driver may have trouble staying in control of a vehicle. Even a new tire can be a hazard if it was not properly attached by a technician.
- Airbag Deployment: Airbags have been known to either misfire or not deploy at all. Either way, their malfunction can either lead to a collision or serious driver and passenger injuries.
- Steering Mechanism: Plenty of drivers count on power steering. When their power steering fails, drivers may find themselves in danger.
- Brakes: Obviously, brakes are essential when it comes to driving safely. When brakes stop working due to a problem like a worn brake pad or leaking brake fluid, they no longer allow the car to stop safely.
- Engines: Car engines can fail for any number of reasons. If you are driving on the highway, you may not be able to avoid an issue if your engine stops working.
- Parts: A car contains many smaller parts from windshield wipers to nuts and bolts. Any of these parts can fail, leading to an accident.
Where Does Blame Lie After a Mechanical Issue Car Crash?
In some cases, a mechanical issue is completely unrelated to the manufacturer of the mechanical part. For example, your auto shop repair person may have installed new brakes improperly. You may have noticed that your brakes were responding less accurately but did nothing to fix them. Perhaps you were drinking and driving. These can all be contributing factors to why the accident happened.
Recalls can play a role in determining liability after a mechanical breakdown accident, too. As the owner of a vehicle, you have a responsibility to keep up with recalls related to your car’s make and model. If you avoid fixing a part of your car that is under recall, like the airbag, you could be liable if you get into an accident because of your faulty airbag.
How Can You Provide Negligence After a Mechanical-Related Wreck?
It can be difficult to figure out where to lay blame after a car crash caused partially or completely by a mechanical failure or product defect. Was the manufacturer of your vehicle at fault? Did your mechanic do something wrong? Having evidence related to the collision always helps.
After your accident, try to take pictures and videos of the scene. Include images of any mechanical failure evidence you may see, like the blown rubber from worn-out tires. Pick up any small parts at the scene that could be evidence, as long as you can collect and handle them safely.
When you get home, retrieve any recent invoices from your auto repair shop if you have them. These may prove valuable later.
Ways to Avoid a Mechanical Failure Crash
Some mechanical failure accidents happen without any warning. Nevertheless, some can be avoided. Below are a few ways to reduce the chances of getting into a crash caused by a mechanical issue:
- Pay attention to warning signs of an imminent malfunction. When you notice something seems amiss about your car, like the brakes not responding promptly, get the problem diagnosed and fixed quickly.
- Stay on top of your car maintenance. If you have not taken care of your vehicle, you are more likely to experience a preventable crash. It is your responsibility to keep your car in good working order.
- Pay attention to manufacturer recalls. When you hear about a recall that affects your car, do what you need to do to get it repaired.
Of course, if you end up doing everything correctly and get hurt in an accident that had a mechanical failure component, seek the advice of an experienced car accident lawyer.
Edwardsville Car Accident Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm Help Crash Survivors Pinpoint Mechanical Failure Blame
Do you suspect or know that a mechanical failure led to the car crash that caused your injuries? Call the Edwardsville car accident lawyers at The Cates Law Firm. You can reach our Swansea, Illinois office at 618-277-3644 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients in East St. Louis, Belleville, Monroe County, Waterloo, St. Clair County, Edwardsville, St. Louis, Madison County, Granite City, Randolph County, Carbondale, and Chester.