What Is Negligence?
Negligence occurs when one party fails to do what would be considered reasonable in order to keep others safe.
When talking about consumer products, like tires, designers and manufacturers are responsible for creating products that will perform the way they are intended, safely, without creating unreasonable risks of harm. In the same vein, product manufacturers can be held accountable for failing to uphold their obligations to consumers. According to America’s strong tradition of product liability law, consumers who have been injured due to defective products are allowed to file personal injury lawsuits on their own behalf, pursuing financial compensation for their damages.
Ideally, any product defects or flaws would be identified during the design or testing stages, when the necessary modifications can be made and no lives are put at risk. Needless to say, defectively-designed or manufactured products should not make their way onto the market where they can injure or kill consumers.
Even so, every year tires are put onto the market that put drivers and their passengers at great risk, simply because companies fail to properly test their product, fail to find the defect, or are so concerned with profits that they choose to sell a product they know may put others in danger. Product liability lawsuits punish tire manufacturers for their negligence, while holding these companies accountable to their victims.
Tire Defect Lawsuits
Sadly, there is more than one way for a tire to malfunction. Lawsuits have been filed by victims who were injured due to:
Tread separation occurs when the tread of the tire, which is the outer part that comes into contact with the road, comes off of the inner body of the tire. Most tires are constructed of rubber and steel, but it can be difficult to get the rubber to adhere to the steel. If not properly adhered, separation may occur while a vehicle is traveling at high speeds or during hot weather. This can result in the car careening out of control.
Explosions / Blowouts
Blowouts occur when a weak spot on the tire allows air to suddenly release. This can happen in a matter of seconds and because of the loss of air, the tire is no longer able to support the vehicle.
The tire bead sits on the wheel of the vehicle and grips the wheel. If the bead fails, the driver will lose the ability to steer.
Although a tire doesn’t actually have a zipper, if the sidewall fails and the tire explodes, the resulting sidewall looks like a zipper. This type of failure tends to happen while the tire is being inflated and will hurt the person putting the air in.
The bottom line is, if a defect caused an injury, victims have the legal right to seek monetary compensation from the responsible party.
How Does A Victim Determine If A Tire Was At Fault?
When an auto accident occurs, the police investigate the cause and create an accident report. However, depending on how much damage was done to the vehicle and all of the other tires, they may not be able to immediately determine that a tire defect caused the accident. That’s why it’s important to contact an attorney as quickly as possible.
Our firm works closely with specialists who can examine the tire, the car, and the accident scene to determine if a tire defect resulted in the accident. Then, we help the victims navigate the process of filing a complaint that can provide them with the compensation they need.
What Does Compensation Cover?
The compensation obtained through a tire defect lawsuit could completely cover the losses sustained by the plaintiff due to:
- Medical expenses for medical treatments relating to injuries caused by the accident.
- Lost earnings.
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional trauma.
The amount that each plaintiff gets is based on their actual losses and so varies widely from case to case.
Does It Matter If The Tire Was Recalled?
No. Recalls happen all the time but just because the company has issued a recall doesn’t mean they are no longer liable for any injuries that were sustained because of the tire they are recalling. In many cases, a recall can actually help injury claimants, because a recall is a public admission that something is wrong with the tire.
How Long Does A Lawsuit Take?
There are many factors which can impact how long a lawsuit takes but clients should expect that the lawsuit will take at least several months to reach its conclusion. This shouldn’t be considered a reason for not filing – in order to collect evidence to support the claim, our experienced legal team needs time. Then we will be fully prepared to either negotiate a settlement agreement or take the case to trial, depending on what our client wants.