Georgia Car Accidents Caused by Poor Vehicle Maintenance


March 30, 2011

Many people are involved in serious auto accidents in Georgia because of drivers who fail to keep their vehicles properly maintained. Balding tires, broken turn signals, cracked or filthy windshields that obstruct vision and brake pads that need replacing can cause serious auto accidents.

Every driver on Georgia roadways has an obligation to take reasonable care to make sure their vehicle is safe to drive. A driver who knows that their vehicle has a maintenance issue, and who is involved in a serious auto accident because of the failure to repair the problem, may be liable for injuries to those involved in a resulting auto accident including passengers, occupants of other vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians.

If you have been injured or a loved one has suffered serious injury caused by the negligence of a person in failing to repair or maintain their vehicle, the experienced personal injury attorneys of Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, can develop a strategy to help you obtain the best possible result in your case. Our Georgia auto accident lawyers will carefully investigate the causes of your accident, including the failure of the other driver to maintain their vehicle in safe operating condition.

Vehicles by nature deteriorate over time through age and wear and tear, as well as failure to have the vehicle maintained. Many vehicle codes specifically require that vehicles be maintained properly including such requirements as windshields being free of cracks that can obstruct a driver’s vision. A provision in a motor vehicle code that requires proper vehicle maintenance may be a basis for imposing liability on a driver who causes an accident, in addition to general principals of negligence law. A vehicle owner’s failure to comply with a vehicle code maintenance provision may have liability imposed based on the theory of negligence per se. Basically, this legal theory makes negligence easier to establish in such cases because a mere violation of the statute constitutes negligence if it causes the accident.

While a driver may not be liable for mechanical failures that could not reasonably have been anticipated, a driver who knows or should have known that the vehicle had a maintenance issue that could cause an accident may be liable for any injuries to others on the road. Some common examples of auto maintenance issues that may be the basis for liability include the following:

Faulty brakes and worn out brake pads: While sometimes brakes can suddenly fail, more typically brakes fail because a driver does not regularly service the brakes or change the brake pads. Further, most brakes make noise or respond differently when the brake pads are worn placing drivers on notice that the brakes should be serviced. The failure to maintain one’s brakes is probably the leading cause of maintenance-related auto accidents.

Bald or old tires: Drivers who continue to operate their vehicle with tires that are bald, cracked and worn out also cause many auto accidents. This is probably the most inexcusable example of a vehicle owner failing to maintain their vehicle. Unlike other vehicle maintenance issues, bald or worn out tires are easily visible so a vehicle owner has no reason to be unaware of a potential problem. Poor tire maintenance is especially problematic with SUVs, 15 passenger vans and other top-heavy vehicles that have an increased tendency to rollover in an auto accident.

Cracked windshield or worn out wipers: Many drivers operate their vehicle for months without worrying about small cracks in their windshield and continue to do so even after the crack travels the length of the windshield. Cracked windshields can obstruct a driver’s vision. Although it may not seem like a major obstruction, sometimes a driver has less than a second to respond to a potential emergency. Even the slightest obstruction of a driver’s vision may make a difference when a driver’s response time is that short. Similarly, windshield wipers that are worn out on filthy windshields may make it virtually impossible to see in a heavy rainstorm.

Any of these vehicle maintenance issues are easily handled and can prevent a serious Georgia auto accident resulting in catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. It may be tempting to defer vehicle maintenance because of time or cost considerations. In the end, your decision may lead to a far greater drain on your time if you end up in the hospital or off work for weeks, and a far more serious expense if you become liable for massive injuries to someone injured in a motor vehicle accident. You would not operate a firearm that has not been maintained properly, and a vehicle is no less dangerous.

If you have been seriously injured or someone you love has suffered wrongful death caused by a vehicle owner’s failure to properly maintain their vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. At the law firm of Montlick and Associates, we have been representing those injured in Atlanta car accidents and car accidents throughout Georgia for over 27 years. Our knowledgeable and experienced Georgia auto accident lawyers will fight for your best interests. The Atlanta auto accident law firm of Montlick and Associates is available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.