When we think of a car accident, our minds flip through what seem like the most likely scenarios: someone was speeding, someone was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, someone was distracted, someone was tailgating, someone ran a red light. While these are indeed common causes of wrecks, they all revolve around driver behavior. But there could be another major player in a traffic accident – the vehicle. Although we don’t often assume that the vehicle itself was to blame, the fact is that many components have been found to be faulty, with manufacturers recalling everything from ignition switches to braking systems, airbags to door latches. One of the most commonly defective parts, however, is the tire. It is estimated that more than 11,000 accidents each year can be attributed to a tire-related issue, and an average of 200 people die annually in tire-related wrecks.
At the Johnson Law Firm, we have successfully represented victims throughout Eastern Kentucky who have been seriously hurt by defective tires. We have also assisted families who have lost loved ones to accidents caused by faulty tires. A proven advocate with over 15 years of experience, our founder, Billy Johnson, has made it his life’s work to help those who have been injured by someone else’s negligence.
Some of the biggest names in tires have been affected by design flaws, manufacturing mistakes, and defects, including industry giants Uniroyal, Michelin, Cooper, Goodyear, Bridgestone, Dunlop, and Firestone. Most often, a tire is recalled due to tread separation, which happen when the tread peels off of the tire’s casing. Blowout is also common, which happens when a tire falls apart quickly, leading to a sudden loss of air pressure. These tire failures can easily cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles, often with deadly consequences. The faster the car is traveling, or the more top-heavy it is, the more serious the accident is likely to be.
Blowouts or tread separation can occur for many reasons such as:
- Faulty split rim wheel assemblies
- Incorrect belt placement
- Poor quality control
- Inadequate skim stock
- Improper belt wiping
- Sidewall zipper failures
- No nylon overlays
- Bead failures
- Insufficient curing process.
At first glance, it seems simple enough. Faulty product, file a claim, recover damages. If a tire was poorly designed, manufactured, stored, or installed and caused injuries, it only makes sense that the tire company should be held responsible for the victim’s medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, a tire defect lawsuit can be incredibly complex. A tire blowout or tread separation can cause multiple accidents, so other injured motorists may be involved. Also, the tire manufacturer’s employees weren’t the only one to touch the tires before the car ended up on the showroom floor. The seller, distributor, and any mechanics who worked on them may also have a degree of fault.
Another reason is that expert witness testimony from specialists is usually needed to prove a product is defective, and that can be hard to secure. Physical evidence is also tricky because many tire defect cases originate as standard accident claims, with no one thinking to secure the type of evidence that is instrumental to a products liability action. For this reason, it’s advised that you save every piece of tire wreckage you can find if you suspect blowout or tread detachment.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) regularly issues vehicle recalls when it determines that there is a serious safety defect out on the road, but the burden is largely on the consumer to pay attention to the recalls and avoid driving vehicles that can cause serious injuries or even death. The NTSB labeled the system as “broken,” with only one in five defective tires being removed from the road through the safety recall process. With no requirement for most tire dealers to register the tires they sell with the manufacturer, it makes it nearly impossible to track down who owns the tires, never getting the potentially life-saving information to the right audience.
At the Johnson Law Firm, we thoroughly investigate all potential causes and we know how to identify all potential defendants in order to ensure a thorough recovery. It’s important to contact us as soon as possible after you are injured in an accident, because any delay can cause critical proof to be lost. If you believe a tire defect was responsible for your wreck, you need your own investigative team working to secure the evidence needed to prove your claim. To get our team started immediately on your behalf, contact us today via our online form or by calling us at 606-433-0682.