3 Ways a Tire Blowout Accident May Be the Manufacturers Fault
Was your injury caused by an exploding tire? You might be able to sue.
If you have been injured by what you believe was a defective tire blowing out, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit and win compensation for your injuries with the help of a Milwaukee car accident attorney.
You can file suit against the manufacturer, distributor, or seller of a product based on any or all of the following:
- Inherently dangerous design
- Failure to adequately warn users of a risk
- Defective construction
Injured by a defective tire? Get MORE MONEY for Your Claim
Milwaukee Personal Injury Attorneys for Defective Tire Cases
Perhaps the best-known case involving defective tires was the Firestone-equipped Ford Explorer tread separation debacle of the 1990s. After Ford engineers expressed concern about rollover of the newly-launched Ford Explorer, Ford made a few minor changes and came up with a no-cost way to lower the center of gravity on the vehicle: Just recommend a lower tire pressure!
Unfortunately, running low air pressure causes a tire to flex well beyond its intended range, which results in an overheated tire and, ultimately, tread separation. The treaded part of the tire starts to come off, resulting in the tire disintegrating while you’re driving.
Tires of all kinds are capable of causing serious injury, even death. Our personal injury lawyers have successfully represented victims injured by exploding snow thrower tire rims, exploding bike tires on carbon fiber rims and all types of exploding tires and air compressors.
6 Wisconsin Car Accident Laws with a HUGE Impact on Your Claim
Is a tire blowout an at-fault accident in Wisconsin?
Important Information about Tire Blowout Accidents
Every year, there are literally thousands of accidents caused by tire blowouts. Many result in serious injuries and even deaths and in some cases one or more people can be determined to be at fault.
Besides defective tires causing an accident, there are cases where improper mounting or maintenance of the tire is the cause. Sometimes the person injured by the tire blowout is the person driving the car; sometimes it is other drivers on the road.
There are many different scenarios involving tire blowouts and establishing liability is often extremely complicated. In some cases the tire manufacturer may be at fault; in others, the driver of a vehicle that blew a tire; and in other cases, it could be a combination of both. It is even possible the injured party can be held partly accountable.
Debris in the road is the most common cause of blowouts. But, in most cases, you cannot sue a driver who inadvertently got a blowout from a nail or other road debris in his tire, and you cannot sue the tire manufacturer. Road hazards are just part of the risk we assume when we get behind the wheel. Of course, there are situations where a driver knew there was a nail in his tire, but kept driving on it anyway. In such instances, there may be grounds for a lawsuit. But, as you can imagine, establishing this involves a lot of investigative work.
One thing holds true in all cases involving tire blowouts: There must have been a serious injury in order to justify investigating and unraveling all the intricate details typically involved in tire blowout cases.
What Causes a Tire Blowout
Tire blowouts are most often the result of an overloaded vehicle and/or an underinflated or damaged tire. Tire damage can be caused by impact or puncture and may be immediate or delayed depending on the size of the breach or severity of the impact.
Generally, the two biggest issues that come up in tire blowout cases are:
- the age of the tire
- the number of miles the tire was driven prior to the blowout
The warm weather months—mid-May through early October in Wisconsin—are known as Tire Blowout Season, though this time is also the worst for every type of car accident. This is when temperatures are hottest and people are driving longer distances, at higher speeds, in loaded up vehicles (think summer road trip/vacation). Trucks are particularly vulnerable to blowouts, given the heavy loads, hot temperatures, and long distances driven.
Even if you take great care of your tires, a blowout can happen.
Modern tires use a chemical process to bond the rubber tire tread to the nylon and steel layers under the tread. If there is a failure of the bonding process, the tread can peel off the tire. If this happens at highway speed, as it often does, it typically causes the vehicle to oversteer, making it almost impossible to control the vehicle. When tread separation occurred on the Firestone tires on Ford Explorers at highway speeds, drivers lost control and the vehicles rolled over.
Compounding the problem for Ford was their use of Firestone tires made during a time when there was a strike at the factory producing the tires used on the Ford Explorer. These tires were notoriously prone to tread separation. All told, there were over 240 Ford Explorer-related deaths as a result and an estimated 3,000 serious injuries.
And although tire manufacturers today have incredibly high standards, there are still numerous instances where defective products end up on our roads. The hundreds of thousands of Chinese-made tires recalled over the past several years are ample proof.
Manufacturing Defects Leading to Tire Sidewall Blowouts & Tread Separation
The most common manufacturing defect which can lead to a sidewall blowout is a poor speed rating. This could be caused by insufficient testing prior to release and can also cause the tire to overheat and act inadequately when bearing a load.
Other tire defects caused by manufacturer negligence include:
- Broken connection from tread to belt ply. The broken connection causes a bulge along the tread which can tear open, causing a blowout.
- Overheating. Blisters between tire plies can cause pieces of rubber to fall out of the tread.
- Compound imbalance/impurities. Moisture or dirt from a worker’s hands during manufacture can compromise the rubber compound and lead to radial tears and blowouts.
- Poor quality solvents or subpar skim stock. Skim stock, the layer between the tire plies, must be formulated in a specific way to prevent separation.
- Inadequate final inspection.
Design flaws including missing nylon overlays (between the tread and the steel belt) can also trigger a tire blowout.
Proving manufacturer negligence is not easy. If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident caused by a tire blowout while driving, a tire explosion when inflating or any type of car accident, contact Warshafsky Law for a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys and professional accident investigator will determine whether you have a strong case against the tire manufacturer or any other liable parties.
Preserving Evidence If You Have A Tire Blowout
The advice typically offered is that if you believe your tire blowout was caused by a defective tire, you need to preserve whatever remains of the tire so it can be examined. However, if you’ve been seriously injured in an accident caused by a blowout, you’re not in any position to be picking up pieces of your exploded tire from the freeway. So, you can see already how complicated product liability cases involving defective tires can be.
It is possible at least part of the blown tire remains on the wheel, so when your car is towed to a shop be sure to ask them to preserve whatever is left of your blown tire. Having both the tire and wheel is extremely helpful because we will need an expert to analyze them and provide testimony on his findings.
If you are not able to preserve any of your blown tires, chances are the police investigating the accident scene will have taken photos of your car. You should request copies of all accident scene photos taken by anyone on the scene.
Retread Tires Blamed for Many Truck Tire Blowouts
Retreads, also known as recap tires, are remanufactured tires. A new tread is molded onto the casing of an old tire. Prior to 2008, retreaded tires were used for passenger vehicles as well as trucks. But concerns over safety and poor ride quality, along with the emergence of lower-cost tire brands, has virtually eliminated the passenger car market for retread tires. For trucking companies, though, a $200 retread tire is much more appealing than a $600 new tire.
Although trucking companies and the manufacturers of retread tires claim retreads are no more prone to failure than new tires, the sheer number of blown truck tires along our nation’s highways makes you wonder. Anyone who has ever been near a truck when it blows a tire knows how dangerous it can be. Large chunks of tire fly everywhere, cars serve wildly and run off the road. And, of course, large pieces of tire are left behind on the highway, posing additional hazards for oncoming traffic.
What to do if a tire blows out while you're driving
If you’re driving and one of your own tires blows out, keep a steady grip on the steering wheel and do not slam your brakes, no matter how tempting. Steer away from the direction your vehicle is pulling and try to stay in control. Let the car come to a gradual stop, move to as safe a position out of the way of traffic as possible and turn on your hazard lights.
What should you do when a tire blowout causes an accident?
Seek medical attention if needed for any injuries, but be careful not to admit fault in any conversation with another driver, a police officer or an insurance representative. If you feel the injuries you suffered as a result of the tire blowout were caused by bad design or defective manufacturing, contact our Milwaukee personal injury law firm for a free case evaluation to see if you’re eligible for compensation.
Tire Blowout Insurance Claims
Each insurance company and insurance policy differs slightly, but in most cases, tire blowouts and any damage to your tire or rim NOT caused by vandalism or a collision will not be covered.
However, if a tire blowout causes damage to another part of the vehicle (such as the fender) it is likely to be a covered insurance event.
In cases where a tire blowout causes a loss of control and a collision with another vehicle damages are usually covered by comprehensive insurance. If anyone is seriously injured in the accident, it’s important to check whether the blown tire had any defects or design flaws that may be responsible.
If you’ve been in an accident caused by a tire blowout and you or a loved one has been injured or wrongly killed, always have a personal injury law firm with a track record of winning product liability settlements evaluate your case.
Milwaukee Personal Injury Lawyers on Handling Insurance Claims
The bottom line for insurance companies is making money. If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by a tire blowout or anything else, you need legal advice from an experienced personal injury law firm before you sign anything—even a check. Insurers are notorious for saying whatever it takes to get you to take a lowball offer because you only have one chance to make a claim for the compensation you deserve.
Car Insurance Companies Warshafsky Attorneys have Beaten
Suing For Injuries Caused by a Blowout
Whether you’ve had a blowout that resulted in injury or you’ve been injured by someone else’s blowout, it’s possible you have grounds to sue to recover your medical costs. Due to the complexity of tire blowout cases, you really need an experienced personal injury attorney with the resources to locate and fund expert witnesses who can testify as to the cause of the tire failure.
Determined representation by an experienced Warshafsky lawyer is your best chance of getting fair compensation for an injury caused by a tire blowout or other type of car accident.
In Milwaukee, the personal injury attorneys of Warshafsky Law have extensive experience with high profile lawsuits of all kinds and can fully fund your case all the way through trial, and even appeal if necessary. We only ask for payment after you have received compensation.