Tire Failure and Tread Separation Accidents: What You Need to Know
Over the years, the technology in the automotive industry has advanced dramatically– luxuries such as touch screens, hybrid power, and online connectivity are now commonplace. However, as cars continue to evolve, their foundation remains the same. Wheel and tire improvements have been few and far between for decades, and to this day, tire blowouts and defects are a leading cause of accidents and injury.
Tire malfunctions are responsible for over 700 motor vehicle accident deaths each year, on average. Due to the immense amount of air pressure inside a tire, any failure or defect will typically happen with extreme force, posing a huge injury risk to all nearby drivers. The force of a tire failure may cause damage to your vehicle, or may cause another driver to careen into you. In any case, accident victims should always remember to seek the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer, in order to maximize potential compensation.
Potential Tire Accident Causes for Both Commercial and Passenger Vehicles
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Whenever a crash is caused by a tire malfunction, the process of finding the root cause can be complicated. The majority of tire failures occur on commercial trucks or big-rigs, as they typically tow massive amounts of weight for long stretches of time. As you can imagine, any accidents involving semi trucks tend to be severe, and most can be traced to one of the following causes:
- Heavy impact with a pothole or other road hazard
- Imbalanced tires or uneven wear
- Overloaded or improperly loaded trailer
- Tires that are over- or under-inflated
- Speeding or reckless driving
- Defective tires
These accidents occur with standard passenger vehicles as well, and for the same reasons. However, passenger vehicles are much more likely to experience a tire tread separation. Occasionally, a tire will leave the manufacturer with a defect that causes the internal components to come apart, ultimately causing the outer tread ring to separate from the wheel. Driving with little or no tread is a huge injury risk, especially at high speeds.
It is imperative that tread separation victims keep the defective tire as well as any tread pieces that can be recovered from the scene, so that attorneys can bring in experts to recreate the moment of failure. These defects are seen across all major manufacturers, including Cooper, Goodyear, Michelin, Firestone, and more.
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The experience level of a driver may also play a role in how a tire failure accident unfolds. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has said that drivers with less than five years’ experience are more than twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash than those with more than five years of drive time. If a driver is young, he or she may inadvertently make the situation worse by reacting poorly.
Possible Injuries Sustained in Tire Accidents
Tire failure cases have similar injuries than other forms of motor vehicle accidents, including but not limited to:
- Scrapes, cuts, burns, or lacerations
- Broken bones and soft tissue damage
- Sensory loss (vision, hearing, etc.)
- Back injuries including slipped disks, herniated disks, paralysis
- Traumatic brain injury, whiplash, and concussions
Much like the process of determining the cause of the accident, determining which party is liable can be equally as complicated. This is because the plaintiff’s lawyer must consider multiple possibilities for who should be held responsible, such as:
- The driver of the vehicle: A vehicle’s driver is always the first stop when determining fault for an accident. Any evidence of speeding, failure to yield, or other traffic violations may cause a driver to be held liable.
- The tire manufacturer: If a tire fails because of defects in manufacturing, the tire company can be held responsible. However, it is important to reiterate that all victims of defective tires (tread separation or otherwise) should try to keep both the tire and any fragments that are able to be retrieved. This is essentially the only way to effectively argue against the tire company and eliminate the hearsay.
- The owner of the vehicle: A tire failure may be considered the result of a lack of proper upkeep, which is the responsibility of the owner of the vehicle; if the accident involved a commercial vehicle, the owners may be a separate company.
- The auto manufacturer: All new vehicles must be equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems under federal law. Based on this premise, if a tire failure causes an accident but the pressure monitoring systems were faulty, the vehicle manufacturer may be at least partially responsible.
- Government entities: In some extreme cases, the tire may have been damaged because of severe potholes or road hazards, and government agencies such as the city or state may be sued for negligence.
Contact Tire Failure Accident Attorneys
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident that was caused by a tire failure or tread separation, call the trusted Las Vegas tire failure accident attorneys at Van Law Firm at (725) 900-9000 to start your case with a free and confidential consultation.
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