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Is Avoiding Car Maintenance a Form of Negligence?

On behalf of Brad Wicker of BDIW Law posted on Monday April 18, 2022.

You have bad brakes and need new tires. Can you be considered liable for a car accident?

Liability in a car accident is typically based on negligence. Negligence often means not following traffic laws, such as running stop signs or speeding. It could also mean engaging in distracting behaviors, such as texting, reading, dealing with children, using your navigation, or eating while driving.

While not often talked about, poor car maintenance can also be a form of negligence. Most drivers want to keep their car in the best condition possible, but maintenance can be very expensive and it’s not something that motorists often budget for, unlike food and rent. In fact, even new vehicles can cost close to $1,200 per year to maintain and repair. This includes items such as oil changes, new brakes, and new tires. This does not include auto insurance, license and registration fees, or gas.

As you can see, the costs of car ownership can add up quickly. But if you cannot fix your car right away, how does that make you negligent?

Proving Negligence

Even if the driver did their best to avoid an accident, the accident could have been avoided if the car was properly maintained. With enough evidence, a person could prove this in court.

For example, the condition of the tires and tire marks may reveal bald tires. The length of the tire marks could indicate bad brakes that did not activate in time. A lawyer can help assess the evidence and perform reconstruction if needed.

What You Need to Check

Keep your car maintained by checking these parts:

  • Exterior lights. Broken brake lights, headlights, and turn signals are common issues that can result in citations. Fortunately, they can be repaired by the owner. These lights are usually easy to buy and replace.
  • Brakes. Defective brakes are a serious issue that can lead to accidents. They will not last very long if you use them frequently in stop and go traffic. Be wary of squealing brakes, which means there is not much wear left. Replace them as soon as possible.
  • Tires. Tires wear out with age and miles driven. Constant exposure to the elements can cause tires to crack. Also, improper inflation and puncture wounds can lead to blowouts. Do not neglect your tires; replace them once the tread starts wearing out. You can easily check this by using a penny. Insert the edge into a groove in the tire’s tread. If the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head is fully visible, the tire should be replaced.

Contact Our Tulsa Car Accident Lawyers Today

While it can be difficult to maintain your vehicle, especially if you are short on money, vehicle maintenance is an obligation of all drivers. Knowingly driving a poorly maintained car can make you negligent if you were to get into a crash.

If you have been involved in a car accident, the Tulsa personal injury attorneys at Boettcher, Devinney, Ingle & Wicker can help determine liability. Fill out the online form or call our office at (580) 765-9660 to schedule a free consultation.