- August 29, 2016
According to national statistics, the most common cause of automobile accidents is driver error (e.g., driving too fast for conditions, driving while impaired, distracted driving, etc.). Yet there is another type of “error” that is at the root of many accidents, but it usually gets much less attention. We might call it “owner error.” Stated more plainly, many accidents are caused by improper maintenance of the vehicle. The sad truth is that poor vehicle maintenance can be as dangerous as a speeding or inattentive driver.
Common Maintenance Issues
Some of the most common maintenance issues relate to:
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), tire failure causes some 11,000 crashes each year. Improper tire maintenance is more problematic during the summer months, when hot weather and under-inflated tires combine for dangerous conditions. An additional summer factor: New Yorkers tend to drive more in the summer months, so this time of year, the chances of a blow-out are even greater than normal. Worn tread is another common cause of tire failure. Even when the worn tires don’t fail, they make stopping within a safe distance more difficult. Mix worn tires with a summer thunderstorm and you have a life-threatening cocktail.
Defective brakes can also be a problem. Too many auto owners follow an “out of sight, out of mind” approach with their brakes. Just because you can’t hear any “metal on metal” sound from one’s brakes does not mean they are in good working order. Worn discs and improperly calibrated brake systems can lead to an accident even when the driver attempts to stop in time.
Steering & Suspension Issues
Power steering systems won’t work adequately if the vehicle’s fluid levels are allowed to remain low. What starts out as a little “play” in the steering wheel can progress to an inability to control the automobile altogether. Just as important is the suspension system of a vehicle. A car that has worn-out shock absorbers can be difficult to stop, even if the brakes are working properly.
Vehicular HVAC Systems
While heaters and defrosters don’t get any attention during the scorching days of summer, improperly maintained HVAC systems can lead to limited visibility and crashes during winter months. If you are a bargain shopper, bear in mind that most mechanics will work on your heater at discounted prices during summer months.
There may be design or manufacturing flaws in even the most carefully maintained vehicle. Car owners should periodically review recall listings to determine if the manufacturer or consumer groups have identified particular issues with the owner’s vehicle. The Internet has helped a lot in this task. Mark your calendar at quarterly intervals to use the NHTSA’s Recalls Look-Up Tool.
Experienced Legal Counsel Can Make a Real Difference in Recovering Damages
Have you or a member of your family sustained injury in an automobile accident? Was it linked to driver error? Could it have been caused by negligent maintenance of the vehicle? If you have been injured through the negligence of someone else, you may be able to recover damages. You may be able to recover even if some of the fault can be attributed to you. Recognize that if you have a claim, time is your enemy. There are filing deadlines that must be observed in order to recover. The law firm of Stenger, Roberts, Davis & Diamond, LLP not only has the skill, but the experience and resources to help you recover the damages that you may deserve. When clients hire Stenger, Roberts, Davis & Diamond, they hire an entire team, not just one attorney. We have versatile team of attorneys that work together to attack cases from every angle. We pool all of our resources to ensure that our clients get their ideal outcome. Call us at (866) 290-6929 or complete our online form.