Most motor vehicle accidents happen because one or more drivers got careless or made a mistake. But, not all driver errors happen on the road. And, not every traffic crash is attributable to driver error. Bad tires cause or contribute to thousands of automobile accidents around the country each year, resulting in hundreds of deaths. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize just how dangerous poorly maintained or defective tires can be.
How Do Bad Tires Cause Accidents?
Problems with tires can cause accidents in a variety of ways. Some common examples include:
- Worn, damaged or underinflated tires blowing out in traffic
- Bald tires causing a car to hydroplane on wet surfaces or slide in snow
- Worn tires impacting the driver’s ability to maintain control of the vehicle while braking, or to stop quickly when necessary
For optimum safety on the road, every driver should monitor tire pressure and periodically inspect tires for wear, and for any unnoticed damage such as a nail or piece of glass that may have become lodged in the tire.
Who is Responsible for a Crash Caused by Faulty Tires?
In some situations, it’s easy to see how bad tires contributed to the crash. For example, if a tire blows out and causes a driver to lose control of the vehicle, it’s obvious that tire condition may have played a role in the accident. But, that’s not always the case. For instance, if a driver brakes hard but doesn’t stop in time to avoid a collision, it may not be immediately apparent that bald tires played a role in the accident. Similarly, sliding on wet pavement or in the snow is common enough that “those tires must be bad” isn’t necessarily anyone’s first thought when that type of accident occurs.
That’s one reason it’s usually helpful to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible after an automobile crash. The attorney may identify types of negligence–or even additional possible responsible parties–that you weren’t aware of. The sooner that information comes out, the better your opportunity to collect related evidence.
Faulty Tire Maintenance
When the problem with the tires stems from negligent maintenance, responsibility typically lies with the driver. But, if the vehicle is owned by someone other than the driver, such as a family member or employer, the vehicle owner may also bear responsibility.
Evidence of negligent tire maintenance can significantly strengthen a case in which the driver was otherwise taking proper precautions, such as maintaining a safe following distance and obeying the speed limit. To recover damages from the driver, you’ll have to show that they were in some way negligent, and that their negligence caused your injuries. In most car accident cases, the alleged negligence is something like texting while driving or disobeying a traffic signal or speeding. But, negligent vehicle maintenance can form the basis for a car accident claim, if that negligence caused or significantly contributed to the accident.
Not all bad tire cases involve faulty maintenance. Sometimes, the tires are defective. That may mean that they were manufactured incorrectly, or that there is a problem with their design, or that a defective part or substance was used in their manufacture and made them unsafe, or that the manufacturer or seller provided inaccurate or insufficient information about how they could be used safely.
One example you may have heard of involves the Goodyear G159 tire for motor homes. These tires have been linked to hundreds of crashes, and the manufacturer has settled dozens of lawsuits. Goodyear stopped manufacturing the tires many years ago, but never issued a recall. So, the tires remain on many vehicles and continue to be re-sold, either on a vehicle being transferred or as replacement tires.
If defective tires played a role in the crash, the injured party may have a product liability claim in place of or in addition to a personal injury case.
Injured in a Bad Tire Accident?
If you were injured on the road due to poorly maintained or poorly manufactured tires, you may not even be aware that the condition of the tires played a role in your accident. Fortunately, you don’t have to figure that out alone. Whether you know that a tire blowout or other tire-related issue contributed to your accident or you just know that you were injured in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, the next step is the same. Talk to an experienced bad tire lawyer.
Depending on the specifics of your case, you may be able to pursue compensation even if you were partly responsible for the crash.
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