It's not unusual for an accident investigation to reveal that multiple drivers contributed to the accident after a multiple-car crash. However, liability is rarely shared equally. If you are planning to modify your car, you should know that the modifications can increase your liability for an accident. Here are some of the modifications to worry about:
Extremely Bright Headlamps
Although headlamp brightness has increased greatly over the years, their modern design minimizes glare. For example, the bulb filament inside the reflector is positioned to light up the road precisely and not cause glare. However, this isn't a guarantee when you install extremely bright aftermarket headlamps. If those lights aren't properly designed, they can blind oncoming drivers and cause an accident. This means your liability will increase if you are involved in an accident and the investigators resolve that your bright lights contributed to the accident.
People install oversized wheels for different reasons. Some people love them for the style, while others maintain that bigger wheels have better cornering grip and handling. Unfortunately, extremely big wheels raise the car and increase the risk of a rollover. Big wheels also reduce snow traction, making it easy to lose control of the car during the cold season. In fact, ConsumerReports doesn't recommend big wheels unless they are offered as a factory option.
Some people love the thrill of riding high above the ground and looking down on other cars. To get this feeling, they invest in lift kits to get their low-profile cars to the desired heights. Unfortunately, anything that lifts up your car increases its chances of:
- Rolling over due to the raised center of gravity.
- Causing greater damage when it rear ends another car; this is due to the raised bumper.
- Blinding other drivers due to the raised headlights.
The last example of dangerous car modification is window tinting. Tinting may increase your sense of privacy, safety, and stylishness, but it also reduces your visibility. In fact, it also makes it difficult for other road users, including pedestrians, to make eye contact with you and gauge your intentions. Both of these factors increase the risks of accidents, and if you are ever involved in an accident with a tinted car, expect the investigators to be interested in the tint as a contributing factor.
You can still recover your damages (or at least a portion of them) even if you contributed to an accident. For example, if your state (and this is the situation with most states) uses the comparative negligence principle, your recovery will be reduced proportionally to your contribution to the accident, which means you will get some compensation if you weren't a hundred percent liable for the crash. If you get into an accident, you will likely want to hire a personal injury attorney to make sure you get treated fairly.Share