Who Is at Fault When a Mechanical Failure Causes a Car Accident?

Posted On January 10, 2022 Car Accidents Written by John Allen Phebus

Car accidents in Arizona happen for a variety of reasons. In many cases, the cause of a car accident is driver error, such as speeding or distracted driving. Sometimes, however, an investigation finds that mechanical failure caused an accident. If you get into a car accident involving mechanical failure, find out who may be at fault and responsible for paying for your bills.

Common Types of Vehicle Mechanical Failures

A motor vehicle is a complex piece of machinery that is comprised of thousands of parts. If even one of these parts fails or malfunctions, it can lead to loss of vehicle control. Unfortunately, many vehicles experience mechanical failures on the road, including large commercial trucks. Common examples of mechanical failures due to faulty parts include:

  • Brake failure
  • Power steering failure
  • Electrical malfunctions
  • Faulty headlights
  • Windshield wiper malfunctions
  • Engine problems
  • Tire blowouts

When a mechanical failure causes a car accident, investigators will work to determine the source of the issue. First, investigators will determine whether the owner properly maintained the vehicle. If poor maintenance is not the problem, they will then examine the faulty auto part to search for signs that the part did not perform as expected. If this is the case, multiple parties could be at fault.

Who Can Be Held Liable for a Car Accident Due to Mechanical Failure?

In Arizona, the party who is at fault for causing a car accident will also be financially responsible, or liable, for the wreck. This is how the tort-based car insurance system works. In a car accident case involving mechanical failure, multiple parties could be liable, depending on the cause of the problem:

  • The vehicle manufacturer (product liability claim). Manufacturing companies are responsible for designing and producing vehicles and parts that are reasonably safe. Cars must have safe designs and be thoroughly checked and tested before being released to the public. Unfortunately, automakers often rush through safety protocols and ignore potential problems, leading to millions of vehicles being recalled for defects.
  • The owner of the vehicle. The owner of the vehicle could be liable if he or she failed to properly maintain the car, resulting in a mechanical failure. Vehicle owners – including companies that are in charge of fleets of vehicles for their employees – have a responsibility to keep up with vehicle inspections, repairs and maintenance to avoid dangerous mechanical failures in transit.
  • The auto repair shop or mechanic. If a vehicle had recently undergone maintenance by a mechanic or auto shop, and it was a newly installed or recently worked-on part that malfunctioned or failed, the shop or individual who worked on the vehicle could be liable. This will be the case if another mechanic would have done something differently to avoid the breakdown.

Car accidents related to mechanical failures often require comprehensive investigations to determine liability. If mechanical failure contributed to your crash, you may have grounds to file an injury claim against one or more parties. If you get involved in a car accident in Arizona, do not admit fault to the other driver or the police. Instead, wait for an investigation to determine the cause of the crash and pinpoint the party responsible for a failed part. 

Help for Victims of Mechanical Failures

If you have recently been in a car accident caused by mechanical failure, contact a car accident lawyer in Arizona right away for a review of your rights. A lawyer can investigate the crash to determine who is at fault for the mechanical failure. Then, a lawyer can help you file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the liable party in pursuit of maximum financial compensation. Do not wait to get legal help after a car accident involving a defective or faulty vehicle part in Arizona. Contact The Law Offices of John Phebus Glendale Criminal and Personal Injury Lawyer right away.