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Can an Austin Driver Be Held Liable for a Crash Caused by a Poorly Maintained Vehicle?

Poorly Maintained Vehicle

Crashes caused by a poorly maintained vehicle can be a major contributing factor to a car accident. According to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, damaged brakes and worn tires are among the frequent causes of poor vehicle maintenance car crashes.

Most concerning is that vehicle failures due to poor maintenance can easily fly off the driver’s radar and worsen over time. Eventually, the undetected and poorly maintained vehicle can turn into a serious risk for a car accident. For example, poor vehicle maintenance accidents may involve worn or destroyed tires, engines, or windshield wipers as the cause of the car crash.

Where the cause of a car crash is due to a poorly maintained car, you may be wondering whether the driver can be held liable. For example, if a driver did not routinely inspect their brakes and worn brake pads were the cause of the preventable accident, is the driver responsible for the injuries and damage they caused?

What’s In This Article

Frequent Poor Vehicle Maintenance Issues

Frequent Poor Vehicle Maintenance Issues

Common causes of a poor vehicle maintenance accident include:

  • tire blowouts (i.e., due to old and/or underinflated tires)
  • worn tires (i.e., punctures and road damage to tire)
  • corroded or leaking brake lines
  • anti-lock braking system or ABS Failure
  • damaged brake pads and discs in need of replacement

Tires: Driving with worn and thin tires can be dangerous and cause a car crash. As a preventive measure, be sure to maintain and check your tires periodically and replace and/or repair them when needed. For example, a critical sign to replace is when the tire loses its tread as this affects the tire’s traction and check for tire alignment as this can also be a source of tire problems.

Brakes: Importantly, you can keep you, your passengers, and people on the road safe by driving with maintained brakes. There are measures you can take, such as having your car brakes inspected and cleaned to prevent brake line damage which is another major cause of poor vehicle maintenance car crashes. It is recommended for brakes to be inspected at a minimum once per every 30K miles your vehicle reaches.

Routine full inspection: The best step you can take to avoid a car accident due to poor maintenance measures you can take when you are behind the wheel is to regularly inspect and maintain your vehicle. At the inspection, be sure to ask a mechanic to conduct a full examination of the car. You want to know whether they see brake issues such as worn brake pads. Additionally, a mechanic can thoroughly assess issues that are not as easily identifiable such as steering, transmission, and engine issues.

The reality is that even if you take all the measures, it still does not completely guard against an accident, as crashes usually occur unexpectedly, even to the most cautious drivers.

Liability for a Crash Caused by a Poorly Maintained Vehicle

It may surprise you to learn that a driver who hits a car that is poorly maintained or broken down due to poor maintenance is often responsible for the resulting injuries and/or losses. This is great news if you are in a poorly maintained vehicle and have just been hit.

However, this is not so great for a driver on top of their car’s maintenance and hits a car that’s become disabled on a highway. The rationale behind liability here is that all drivers have a legal duty to exercise reasonable care when they are driving, and this includes reducing your speed and/or moving out of the way to reduce the risk of a car accident. For example, speeding past a disabled car is not exercising proper caution. On the other hand, putting on your hazards, slowing down, and changing lanes are examples of exercising care in a risky situation.



Some of the most common and expensive consequences after a car accident are the medical costs associated with injuries in addition to lost wages and a damaged vehicle. Furthermore, you may be experiencing pain and suffering because of the accident. A skilled Texas-licensed car accident attorney can best collect and assess evidence, calculate your accident damages, advise you on compensation options available to you, assist you with claim submissions to insurance companies, and effectively advocate on your behalf so that you receive fair and full compensation you are owed.

Texas’ Car Crash Fault Approach

In addition to understanding the amount of damages you may be owed, an attorney can also best guide you as to the parties who may be at fault and held liable to compensate injured victims.

According to Texas ‘ modified comparative negligence rules, if you are more than 50% responsible for the accident, then you cannot recover compensation for your losses. If you are under 50% responsible, then your total award will be reduced by that percentage of fault. For example, if you were 20% responsible and you are seeking $50,000 in compensation, then that amount is lowered by 20%.

If the other driver is found to be at fault and no blame is assigned to you, then you may be eligible for full and fair compensation for the damages you and/your loved ones sustained from the accident.


Speak To an Austin, Texas Car Accident Attorney Today

Being in a car accident involving a poorly maintained vehicle can be both confusing and overwhelming. If you and/or a loved one have sustained injuries from a poorly maintained vehicle accident, you should speak to a Texas personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Don’t delay! While you focus on healing and recovering from your injuries, the dedicated and experienced car accident attorneys at the Patel Firm have extensive experience in handling car accident cases involving poorly maintained vehicles. We are here to help you navigate the complex legal aspects of holding those accountable for your injuries. The best way to get started is to call (361) 400-2036 to schedule a free evaluation where we will discuss your case and the best legal options.