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

Posted on behalf of James Lynch on June 18, 2021  in Car Accident News. Updated on May 25, 2023

Vehicle owners are responsible for the proper upkeep and maintenance of their vehicles. Proper maintenance ensures a vehicle is safe to drive and helps to ensure drivers can maneuver out of trouble.

When drivers fail in these obligations and a crash occurs, victims may be able to hold drivers liable for failing to maintain their vehicles. Repair shops, car dealerships and manufacturers may also bear liability.

If you were injured in an accident caused by negligent vehicle maintenance, call our New Jersey car accident lawyers to discuss your claim. The consultation is free and there are no fees while we work on your case.


There are many vehicle components drivers need to maintain to ensure they function as they should. Sometimes drivers do not need to do anything but fix problems when they arise. When a vehicle owner fails to keep these parts functioning properly, he or she risks being held liable for damages if an accident occurs.

Vehicle components that should be regularly checked and maintained include:

  • Tires
  • Horn
  • Brakes
  • Taillights
  • Headlights
  • Brake lights
  • Turn signals
  • Windshield wipers

Drivers should make sure their tires are properly inflated. Under-inflation can make the vehicle more difficult to handle while over-inflation could result in a blowout while the car is in motion. Lights warn other drivers about upcoming traffic maneuvers and if they are not working it could result in rear-end crashes, intersection accidents and even head-on collisions.

If a vehicle owner fails to make sure the vehicle’s seat belts work, he or she may be held liable if a passenger is injured due to a seatbelt malfunction.


When a vehicle owner takes his or her vehicle into the shop for repairs, it is the shop’s responsibility to assure the repairs are done properly. A loose nut or bolt on a tire could lead to a serious accident that results in injuries to the driver of the vehicle and others. If this happens, the repair shop could be held liable for damages for all injured parties.

Vehicles that are brought into repair shops after accidents should also have their airbags replaced if they deployed. If the airbags did not deploy, the shop should at least check the sensor to make sure it is in proper working order. If that same vehicle is involved in another accident and the driver or passengers are injured due to failed airbag deployment, the repair shop could also be held liable for damages.


Liability for poor vehicle maintenance may also extend to the dealership where the vehicle was sold or leased. This could happen if there was an issue with the vehicle the dealership was aware of but failed to correct before selling or leasing the vehicle to someone.

For example, a vehicle with a known recall from the manufacturer should be taken off the lot until the recall issue is corrected. If a dealership sells a vehicle that has an active recall alert, and that recalled component is the cause of an injury, the dealership could be held liable for damages.


In some rare cases, a defect in a vehicle may have been the cause of an accident. If the manufacturer fails to alert vehicle owners and dealerships about the issue and an accident occurs, they can be held liable for damages due to the accident.

While rare, some manufacturer defects that could result in crashes and injuries include:

  • Tires
  • Brakes
  • Transmission
  • Power steering


When you are injured in an accident, the burden of proof falls on you as the injury victim. This means that you must prove someone else’s negligence caused your injuries. Proving your accident was caused by negligent vehicle maintenance may be difficult on your own.

Our attorneys have been assisting crash victims in New Jersey for over 25 years. We have the resources to build a strong case and pursue maximum compensation.

We do not charge you anything up front and only get paid if you do.

Call us today for a free consultation: (800) 518-0508

* Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

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