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Regular maintenance is crucial for ensuring the optimal performance and safety of a vehicle, as it helps prevent malfunctions, breakdowns, and other issues that could lead to accidents. By ignoring vehicle maintenance, drivers put themselves, their passengers, and other road users at risk.

It is essential for all vehicle owners to prioritize and adhere to recommended maintenance schedules to maintain road safety and minimize the potential for accidents. If poor vehicle maintenance contributed to the accident, you might face legal consequences for your actions.

Common Vehicle Accidents Due to Poor Maintenance

A poorly maintained vehicle can cause a variety of accidents on the road due to defective parts and steering issues. Some of the most common maintenance issues include:

Worn-Out Tires

According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), tire-related crashes resulted in 664 fatalities in the United States in 2020. Common tire-related issues contributing to car accidents include insufficient tread depth, underinflation, and tire age.

The NHTSA also found that only 19% of consumers correctly check and inflate their tires, while 1 in 4 cars have at least one severely underinflated tire, highlighting the need for increased awareness and education on proper tire maintenance.

Many vehicles’ tires also have inadequate tread depth, reducing their grip on the road. In Louisiana, the minimum tread depth required is 2⁄32”. Failing to maintain your tire’s pressure and tread depth can result in a blowout, skid, or rollover, resulting in an accident.

Defective Brakes

The braking system is a crucial component of any vehicle, and it plays a critical role in ensuring the safety of the driver, passengers, and other road users. According to the NHTSA, defective brakes are responsible for around 22% of all accidents caused by mechanical factors.

Worn brake pads and rotors, brake fluid leaks, or malfunctioning brake lines can reduce braking power, create longer stopping distances, and increase the risk of crashes, particularly in adverse weather conditions.

Malfunctioning Headlights and Taillights

Headlights and taillights ensure visibility to others, even in limited visibility conditions. However, the car’s taillights and headlights can stop working due to a burnt-out bulb or a blown fuse. When driving in foggy or stormy weather or at night, malfunctioning headlights and taillights can endanger other drivers.

If these lights aren’t working correctly, drivers can’t see the road or other vehicles on the road, increasing the chances of getting into an accident.

In Louisiana, a crash caused by negligent car maintenance can lead to legal consequences if the other party suffers injuries or other damages. The legal implications of negligent car maintenance include:

  • Liability for Damages: If your negligent car maintenance causes an accident resulting in injury or damage to another person’s property, you may be liable for those damages. The injured party can file a personal injury claim against you, seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
  • Increase in Insurance Rates: Your auto insurance policy may not cover damages or injuries resulting from negligent car maintenance, leaving you responsible for any financial liabilities. Additionally, Louisiana allows car insurance companies to increase the rates of policyholders who have filed claims and have been found at fault for the accident.
  • Traffic Violations: You may be ticketed and fined if your negligent car maintenance leads to a traffic violation, such as driving with a broken taillight. Repeated violations can add points to your driver’s license and, in some cases, license suspension or revocation.

To avoid these consequences, it is essential to maintain your vehicle and address any issues promptly. Regular inspections, routine maintenance, and timely repairs can help prevent accidents and keep you in compliance with Louisiana’s vehicle safety laws.

Contact Our Law Firm to Schedule a Free Consultation

Failing to perform routine checks and repairs can lead to malfunctioning components, reduced vehicle performance, and compromised safety features, all of which increase the risk of accidents. At Dudley DeBosier, our car accident attorneys are dedicated to helping victims hold those who hurt them through negligent or reckless actions accountable.

If you are injured in an accident and have questions, the car accident attorneys at Dudley DeBosier can help protect your rights. Contact Dudley DeBosier today to arrange your free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your car accident. 

This content has been reviewed by Chad Lederman, Director of Legal Operations at our New Orleans office.

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