Is a Tire Blowout an At-Fault Accident?
Tire blowouts are an extremely dangerous cause of car and truck accidents across the country. When a tire fails or explodes, the driver can lose control and crash into multiple cars. At highway speeds, this could mean deadly pile-ups and multi-vehicle accidents. The Alabama tire blowout lawyers at The Morrison Law Firm represent victims of truck accidents and other crashes caused by defective tires, and we will explain who is at fault for these kinds of crashes.
Who is At-Fault for Tire Blowout Crashes?
To hold someone “at fault” for the harm that they caused, you usually show that they were “negligent.” This means showing that they failed to use the proper care or skill and breached a duty that they owed you. For drivers, this means following the rules of the road and driving with care. If a truck driver was driving safely and carefully before the blowout, then did everything he can to minimize damage and prevent injury during the blowout, it may be impossible to say he was driving unsafely. However, the truck driver, their trucking company, and the tire manufacturer may still be at fault for the accident.
Truck drivers and trucking companies have other duties that they must fulfill as part of their routine operations. Federal trucking regulations require drivers and the trucking company to ensure that their vehicles are safe. Frequent inspections, including inspections at the beginning of their shift, should discover potential problems with equipment. Tires have special regulations requiring certain tread depth and use of new tires on the front wheels. If a trucking company or driver fails to inspect their vehicle or allows a truck on the road with dangerous tires, they could be responsible for any crashes the dangerous tire causes.
If the tire was unsafe because of a problem with the way it was manufactured, the tire company could be responsible for the crash. Tire manufacturers put their tires on the market for use on cars and trucks, which comes with an expectation that people could suffer serious injuries if the tire is defective. When the tire is defective, it could wear too fast or be too thin in certain areas. This could lead a tire to shred, shed tread, or wear too quickly, leading to tire failure. It can also cause bubbles and other dangers on the walls of the tire, which could lead to blowouts. If the tire was defective, the company that manufactured it could be liable for the accident
Some trucking companies “re-tread” tires by applying new tread to otherwise old, worn-down tires. This kind of practice may cut-off manufacturer liability so that the trucking company is responsible for any unsafe modifications they made to the tire instead of the manufacturer.
How to Sue for Tire Blowout Accidents
Whether you can sue for a car accident depends on your insurance and your state’s laws. Some states are “no-fault” insurance states, which require you to file with your car insurance rather than suing the other driver for your injuries. Alabama is not a no-fault state, so you should be able to file a lawsuit for any injuries you sustained in a tire blowout crash in Alabama. If you are suing someone other than the other driver, such as the trucking company or the tire manufacturer, you may be able to file a products liability lawsuit or negligence suit, even in states with no-fault insurance rules. This is especially true if you suffered serious injuries.
Talk to an attorney about filing your case as soon as possible. Many injury lawsuits have a statute of limitations that stops you from filing your case after a certain number of years. Alabama, for example, requires all personal injury cases to be filed within 2 years of the injury. Talk to an attorney as soon as you can to ensure that there is time to research the parties involved, have experts analyze the accident and the tires, and ensure that you bring the proper parties to court.
When you take your case to court, you may be able to claim substantial damages for a serious injury. This includes the cost of medical expenses, wages you lost during your recovery, any decreased earning potential you face going forward, mental anguish, and pain and suffering damages. Though these damages are rare, you may also be entitled to additional damages to punish these large companies for repeated, systematic, or serious failures. These “punitive damages”, as well as damages for pain and suffering, may be “capped” in some states. Alabama limits punitive damages at three times the compensatory damages, up to $1.5 million, for injury cases. There is no limit on pain and suffering damages in car accident or product injury cases.
Call Our Tire Defect Injury Lawyers for a Free Legal Consultation
If you or a loved one was injured in a car or truck accident caused by a tire blowout, call The Morrison Law Firm today. Our Montgomery, AL personal injury lawyers have decades of experience handling car accident and tire defect cases and may be able to put that experience to work on your case. To schedule a free consultation on your case, call our law offices today at (334) 625-6128.