Tire blowouts cause thousands of serious car accidents every year. A tire blowout occurs when the tire splits or bursts into pieces and falls from the rim, rather than a flat tire that stays on the vehicle. Tire blowouts can lead to loss of vehicle control, vehicle rollovers, and serious personal injuries. Identifying the most common causes of tire blowouts can help victims name defendants, or potential parties liable for damages. A Charleston WV truck accident attorney can help investigate a tire blowout accident for probable causes.
Design Flaw or Manufacturing Error
Tires with design or manufacturing defects have higher odds of blowing out than those in proper working condition. If a manufacturer releases a tire with tread that wears out too quickly, for example, a tire can wear thin and blow out before the vehicle owner has the chance to reasonably expect the issue. The tire manufacturer or distributor could be to blame for a tire blowout accident.
- The manufacturer or distributor could be liable for a dangerous design flaw, if the manufacturer designed the tire in such a way that makes it prone to blowouts, such as thin rubber or a tire that wears out more on one side than the other.
- The manufacturer or distributor could be liable for a manufacturing mistake if the tire had a safe design, but an error or act of negligence during manufacturing, production, or distribution led to a flaw that makes the tire at risk for blowouts.
- The manufacturer or distributor could be liable for a marketing error, if the manufacturer made a mistake in marketing the tire, such as listing the incorrect cargo capacity or failing to warn consumers about using the tire on certain vehicle models.
Product manufacturers may be strictly liable for accidents involving their defective products if the plaintiff can prove that the product contained a defect and caused the accident. Otherwise, a plaintiff will have to show that the manufacturer or distributor was negligent in some way, and this negligence caused the tire blowout. A product liability claim for a tire blowout accident could result in the manufacturer paying the victim’s damages.
Improper Tire Installation
Sometimes a tire blowout stems from poor or improper installation of the tire. If an installer does not follow protocol in mounting the tire, it could cause uneven wear on the tire and eventually a blowout. The victim may have a case against the installer or auto mechanic if an investigation shows that improper tire installation caused irregular treadwear and ultimately led to the blowout.
Vehicle Owner Error
It is every vehicle owner’s duty to properly maintain his or her vehicle. Commercial vehicle owners, Uber/Lyft vehicle owners, and school bus owners all bear a duty of care to others on the roadway. This duty includes routinely inspecting tires, noticing signs of wear, and replacing tires as needed.
An owner’s duty also includes checking tire pressure and adjusting inflation, as necessary. Underinflated tires may blow due to air loss and lack of pressure, causing the sidewalls to flex more and heat buildup that ultimately pops the tire. Failing to fulfill the maintenance duties of a vehicle owner, resulting in a preventable tire blowout accident, is negligence. Victims may have grounds to file lawsuits against vehicle owners and/or operators if lack of maintenance caused the blowout.
Tires have weight limits they can withstand without exploding. If someone overloads a vehicle – such as overloading a commercial truck with too much cargo – it can cause the tires to overheat and blow. The sidewalls of the tire are most likely to explode in overloaded vehicle accidents. This situation is most common when the overloaded vehicle is driving at high speeds, creating an even more dangerous accident. It is a cargo loader’s job to obey tire weight limits to help prevent tire blowouts on the road. A skilled West Virginia personal injury lawyer can investigate a recent tire blowout accident for who or what may have been the cause.