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When Defective Tires Cause Auto Accidents

April 20, 2015

Defective tires have been the cause of literally thousands of automobile accidents, many of which resulted in severe personal injuries and even death to the passengers. Millions of tires have been recalled in the past decade due to manufacturing flaws, with the most common failure being tread-belt separation in steel-belted radials. Some of the well-known brands which have had specific tires that ended up on the recall list include Goodyear, Firestone, Dunlop, Kelly Springfield, Continental Copper and General Tire.

One example of a tire defect is known as de-beading and zipper failure. De-beading occurs when a defective tire separates from the rim at the level of the tire beads, resulting in an immediate loss of tire pressure. This phenomenon has been found to contribute to vehicle rollover. An under-inflated tire is much more likely to de-bead during a severe turn, and two Ford vehicles equipped with Firestone tires were recalled due to de-beading on the front tires. Inaccurate tire speed ratings are also a known cause of auto accidents. A tire's speed rating is supposed to reflect the upper speed limit at which the tire can be safely driven. Because speed ratings assume a certain range of temperatures, a stated speed rating could be too high in excessively hot temperatures or when the tire load has been significantly increased.

Although tire blowouts can be caused by aging tires or debris in the road, defective tire products are much more common that you would think. These defects can be a result of manufacturing defects, limited quality control or even a poor overall design. Whatever the reason for the flaws, they can be responsible for a driver losing control of the vehicle, potentially causing a rollover accident. The tires on your vehicle affect its handling and stability, and are one of the most important elements of your vehicle's safety. If you've been involved in an accident in which you suspect tire failure or a blowout as the primary cause, it is important to presever the vehice and tire- and we recommend a prompt consulation with an experienced personal injury law firm. Many times vehicles which have been involved in serious accidents are crushed within the month or two following the accident, effectively destroying critical evidence which could have been used in a legal claim.

Investigating Your Accident

Once you have retained an experienced personal injury attorney, he or she will conduct a thorough investigation of your accident in order to determine the exact cause. Experts can determine whether the tire blowout was a result of poor vehicle maintenance or a design defect in the vehicle itself which caused loss of control by the driver. Tests can be conducted to find out whether the tire which blew out was defective, or perhaps already had a puncture. Examples of additional considerations are determinations as to whether or not your car was overloaded, as well as whether the tires were properly inflated to manufacturer's specifications.

Are You Entitled to Compensation?

In the event of an accident involving serious injuries, our attorney may have an expert provide an accident reconstruction to determine exactly how the tire blowout contributed to the severity of your injuries. Once the investigation into your accident is complete, your attorney may advise you that your blowout was caused by a manufacturer's defect. If this is the case, then the automaker or tire manufacturer could be liable for your accident and the resulting injuries. You may be entitled to recoup all of your medical and hospitalization expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and any other damages you have experienced.

Although it is hoped you and your loved ones will never experience an auto accident caused by defective tires, take care to perform regular tire maintenance on your vehicle and update yourself regularly on any tire recalls. Always maintain proper tire pressure and follow the recommended vehicle load weights. Inspect your tires regularly, especially before leaving on a trip of any length. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends trying the penny test. Place a penny in the tread of your tires with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tire has less than 2/32 of an inches of tread and you are ready for new tires. 

If you've been involved in an auto, motorcycle or truck accident, including one that may have been caused by a defective tire, make sure you know your legal rights and the steps that need to be taken to protect those rights.  Contact a law firm with experienced personal injury attorneys.

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Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.