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Defective Tail Light Accidents

Posted by Harlene Labrum | Aug 19, 2022

Defective Tail Light Accidents

Proper car maintenance is one of the most important aspects of being a safe driver. Failure to address mechanical problems with a vehicle can lead to problems on the road. For example, a malfunctioning tail light could cause a rear-end accident because the driver following behind did not know the vehicle in front of them was making a turn. Defective tail light accidents are often the result of negligence and the victims of these accidents sometimes have grounds for a lawsuit. Contact the veteran Tennessee car accident lawyers of Labrum Law at (615) 338-9500 to learn more about your legal options after a crash involving a defective tail light.

Tail Light Laws in Tennessee

While all 50 states have laws requiring tail lights for all vehicles, these laws are written and applied on a state-by-state basis. In Tennessee, Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-9-402(b)(1) states that all vehicles must have red tail lamps and red stoplights on the rear of the vehicle. Drivers who fail to do so risk the safety of themselves and other drivers and could face legal consequences if they get pulled over by a police officer.

Common Causes of Tail Light Problems

Regular maintenance is key to responsible car ownership. All motorists and car drivers should have their vehicles regularly inspected to protect themselves and others from preventable crashes caused by malfunctioning or defective parts, such as tail lights. A tail light can stop working properly due to a few different reasons:

  • Electrical fuse issues - Vehicles have fuse boxes that control the different electrical parts of the vehicle. A blown fuse can cause tail lights, headlights, and other electrical components to stop working. Drivers should check their fuse box to see if a blown fuse is the cause of their defective tail light and have a new one installed if necessary.
  • Burned-out lightbulbs - Tail light bulbs are not built to last forever. Eventually, the bulbs will burn out. Traditional incandescent bulbs will usually last for about five years, while LED bulbs can be used for 12 years or longer. When a bulb does burn out, it needs to be replaced as soon as possible.
  • Socket problems - Sometimes tail lights malfunction due to socket issues, such as corrosion caused by moisture leaking into the socket or issues with wire connectivity between the socket and tail light bulb.

When a tail light stops working properly, the vehicle owners can check these three parts to try and identify what is causing the problem. However, for most drivers, it is best to have the vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic. The cause of the issue may not always be obvious, and those without mechanical skills may have a hard time identifying and fixing the cause of the problem.

How a Defective Tail Light Can Cause an Accident

Correct use of turn signals is critical for safe driving. Signaling notifies other drivers of our intentions on the road, which allows these other motorists to appropriately respond. For example, if we are going to change lanes, using the turn signal will let drivers know that they need to slow down and let us merge into their lane. Switching lanes without signaling could cause an accident, as other vehicles may not be aware that they need to reduce their speed.

In some vehicles, the turn signal and braking lights are electronically linked. This means that if there is a defective tail light, the turn signal, brake, and light can all be affected. Other vehicles will not be able to tell when a vehicle with a defective light is going to turn or stop. Additionally, drivers may not be able to see the other vehicle in front of them after dark when the lights are burned out. All three of these issues can lead to defective tail light accidents.

Who Is at Fault for a Defective Tail Light Accident?

All motorists and car drivers have a legal duty to make sure their vehicles are safe for driving and free of hazards that could endanger the driver and other motorists they encounter. Maintenance issues are a common cause of accidents in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, about 45,000 accidents per year are related to vehicle malfunctions. Many of these accidents are a direct result of negligent maintenance by the vehicle owner.

A car accident investigation seeks to determine how the crash happened and who is at fault, or negligent. When a motorist fails to meet their legal duty of driving safely and causes an accident that injures someone else, that motorist may be considered negligent. For example, say a rear-end accident happened when a following driver crashed into a leading driver in front of them at night because the leading driver's tail light was out, which prevented the following driver from seeing them until it was too late to stop. The leading driver could potentially be considered negligent, and the following driver could have grounds for a lawsuit. The car accident lawyers at Labrum Law help car accident victims determine if they could have grounds for a negligence claim.

Contact a Tennessee Car Accident Lawyer for Legal Guidance After a Crash

When a car accident happens because of negligence, those who have suffered injuries and property damage deserve financial compensation. In the aftermath of a crash, victims are often left with serious injuries that require expensive medical care, forced to miss time from work, and are faced with a variety of other personal and financial difficulties. Those who suffer these difficulties due to the negligence of another driver should not be forced to deal with these setbacks on their own.

Negligent drivers who cause accidents through their carelessness can be held accountable if the victims of the accident file an insurance claim. In some cases, the insurance company may attempt to deny the claim or offer insufficient financial compensation. The team of veteran Tennessee car accident lawyers at Labrum Law helps car accident victims fight for the full financial compensation they deserve. Consider calling our law office today at (615) 338-9500 to learn more about the legal options for victims of defective tail light accidents and other types of crashes.

About the Author

Harlene Labrum

Harlene is focused and passionate about helping those injured in car wrecks.  She earned her J.D. at Nashville School of Law and her Bachelor's degree at State University of New York at Albany, awarded with the highest GPA and high honors.  Harlene began her career in law as a personal injury par...

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