Defective tires cause thousands of catastrophic auto crashes each year in the United States. There are more than 10,000 accidents occurring on highways and roads each year, with hundreds of casualties reported annually, and nearly half those tragedies stemmed from accident-related rollovers of SUVs, vans and pickup trucks equipped with faulty tires.
Several large manufacturers have been recalling millions of defective tires in recent years. These include such big-name brands as Bridgestone, Dunlop, Firestone, Foreign Tire Sales (“FTS”), and Michelin.
Devastating Defective Tire Damages
Skilled legal assistance is available to those who have sustained severe physical or economic damages due to unknowing usage of defective tires. Fair compensation and full accountability of all at-fault parties is attainable via established legal channels. Most damage claims are ultimately resolved via informal out-of-court remedies such as lump-sum settlements negotiated directly with responsible parties or their insurers. Legally-binding arbitration procedures are also avenues of redress available to defective tire accident victims.
Compensatory damages are designed to provide reimbursement for injuries sustained as direct and proximate cause of defective tire accidents. Common examples are medical bills, lost income, mental anguish, and general pain and suffering.
Courts and insurers usually employ a specific formula for monetary compensation calculations. These economic equations are adjustable for fact-specific variables such as damage severity and length of time required for full convalescence.
Punitive damage awards are meant to deter subsequent misconduct that initially led to a defective tire accident by punishing responsible parties. Punitive damage statutes vary widely. Thus, it is imperative to consult a personal injury defective tire attorney licensed to practice law in the state where your accident occurred.
Duality of Legalities and Liability
As it does with distributors of other faulty auto components, the law holds defective tire manufacturers to a legal standard known as “strict liability.” This means that injured parties need not prove any prior knowledge, deliberate intent, or negligent act of a manufacturer to recover compensation.
Flawed tire designs, manufacturing or installation errors, and inadequate safety warnings or instructions are all legally valid bases for bringing a defective tire lawsuit. The law does require that any damages for which an accident victim seeks recovery must be directly related to defective tire(s). As many tire-related accidents involve multiple vehicular rollovers, consequent physical injuries can be quite severe and include:
- Crushed, broken, or fractured bones
- Severance of one or more limbs or other bodily appendages
- Catastrophic head or neck injury, including brain damage
- Temporary or permanent paralysis induced by spinal cord trauma
- Severe skin lacerations and abrasions
Primary Reasons Why Tires Fail To Perform
The wheels of ordinary passenger vehicles and lightweight trucks consist of air-filled tires made of cloth, steel, rubber, and various chemical elements. Each tire type is intended to bear a limited range of vehicular weights without compromising appropriate traction levels for intended usage scenarios. Traction is a term that denotes a tire’s relative ability to grip road surfaces without slipping during rapid tire rotation.
The majority of tires are indeed dependable and work precisely as designed. Occasional malfunctions nonetheless occur to cause accidents and severe injuries. Installation, design, and manufacturing errors involving defective workmanship or materials are the most common tire failure causes.
Excessive wear and tear is another major factor in tire-related vehicular mishaps. This occurs because rubberized implements like tires have a limited useful lifespan. The U.S. National Highway Transportation and Safety Agency (“NHTSA”) advises consumers and retailers to watch out for the following signs that typically indicate imminent tire failure:
- Belt edge separation
- Belt-to-belt separation
- Broken tread cords
- “Chunky” rhythmic rotation
- Cracked tire tread
- Obvious surface splicing
- Sudden, inexplicable tire pressure decrease
- Visible separation of tire tread, ply cord, inner beading, lining, or sidewall
Consulting with an Attorney
Competent product liability attorneys possess the specialized knowledge to conduct competent claim analyses, skillful settlement negotiations, and case preparations in dealing with defective tire litigation. Defective tire accident victims whose claims have been delayed or denied and loved ones of deceased accident victims should immediately seek competent legal advice and assistance. The latter group may be entitled to full-scale financial recovery for wrongful death against defective tire manufacturers.