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Who Is Liable when Poor Vehicle Maintenance Causes An Accident?


Recently, a man was killed in South Philadelphia when a pick-up truck’s tire became unfastened and flew off the vehicle. The tire then flew over a median and struck another vehicle’s windshield, killing the 37-year-old driver within.

The story is a tragic but interesting one. Local authorities have not yet said whether the pickup driver will face charges, and an investigation is ongoing. That investigation may turn up evidence of criminal charges, but it could also result in civil liability, too. So, who may be held liable when poor vehicle maintenance causes a crash?


Manufacturers have a legal duty to ensure their products are safe to use. Car manufacturers that use defective parts or create faulty vehicles can be held liable if those parts cause an accident.

A Mechanic or Repair Shop

Sometimes, mechanics and other types of repair shops can be found liable if they did not take the reasonable duty of care to keep people safe. Using the current story as an example, the truck driver may have recently changed the tires on the vehicle. Mechanics are often required to notify drivers that they have to come back to the shop after a certain amount of miles. During that checkup, the mechanics will determine if the tires are still properly fastened.

A failure to warn customers that the tires may become loose and need tightening is a breach of the duty of care mechanics must provide. They could be held liable if it is found that a failure to warn contributed to the crash.

The Driver of the Vehicle Poorly Maintained

In other instances, the driver of the vehicle that is not properly maintained can be found liable for the accident. Using the same example above, a mechanic or repair shop may have informed the customer that they had to return to the shop for a checkup after a certain number of miles. If the customer knew this and did not return when they were supposed to, they can be found negligent and liable for paying damages.

Compensation Available for a Poorly Maintained Vehicle

It is important to determine who is at fault for a poorly maintained vehicle that causes a crash, as only then can you hold them accountable for paying the damages you deserve. The damages available in these cases vary, but there are some that are more common than others. These include:

  • Current and future medical expenses
  • Lost income, if you cannot return to work or relied on the deceased’s income
  • Property damage costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Other wrongful death damages

Our Car Accident Lawyer in Allentown Can Determine Liability

If you or someone you love has been injured, our Allentown car accident lawyer can help. At van der Veen, Hartshorn, and Levin, our skilled attorneys can determine who is liable for your collision and will outline your legal options for financial compensation. Call us today at 215-515-6892 or contact us online for a free consultation.


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