We rely on our tires to provide stability for our vehicles in all kinds of weather. Tires must bear the entire weight of a vehicle, and the safety of the vehicle’s passengers depends on tire quality. Unfortunately, tire defects are a common cause of vehicle accidents. When a tire fails, the consequences can be disastrous. Steering the vehicle can become almost impossible, and the car may even roll over. Tire manufacturers are obligated to ensure that the tires they produce are safe for the road, but they sometimes fail to do so.
Causes of Tire Defects
There are numerous steps involved in tire manufacturing, and mistakes made during any of these stages may compromise the integrity of the finished product. Common causes of tire defects include:
- Design flaws
- Mistakes in the manufacturing process
- Improper installation
Types of Tire Defects
One of the primary causes of vehicle accidents involving defective tires is tread separation. Steel-belted radials are particularly susceptible to tread separation. When these tires are manufactured, the base portion of the tire is formed, steel belts are embedded in the tire, and then the tread is applied. If there is a problem in the manufacturing process, tread separation may be the result. Manufacturing problems that may cause tread separation include the use of rubber that is old and dried out, and failure to properly inspect the tires. Poor adhesion of tire components can also result in tread separation. Adhesion problems may be caused by contaminants such as grease or moisture, poor temperature control, or the use of old adhesives.
When the tread separates from the tire body, a blowout is the typical result. The dramatic loss of tire pressure caused by a blowout frequently results in the driver losing control, and the vehicle turning sideways. When this happens, the bead of the tire can separate from the rim, and the vehicle is then at risk of turning over. The faster you are driving when a blowout occurs, the higher this risk becomes.
Common Injuries Caused by Defective Tires
Since tire-related accidents often end in vehicle rollovers, injuries can be serious. They may include:
- Head, brain, and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Amputation of limbs
- Broken bones
- Road abrasions
Defective Tire Liability Law
Any person injured by a defective product can sue the manufacturer of that product. The law of strict product liability applies to incidents involving injury or death caused by a defective tire. This means that you only need to prove that the tire was defective and that the defect caused or contributed to your injuries. Unlike other tort cases, product liability litigation does not require the victim to show that the manufacturer was negligent in order to collect damages. The manufacturer’s intentions do not matter. In fact, even if the defect was latent, or hidden, the manufacturer is still liable for any injuries that occur. To demonstrate liability on the part of the manufacturer, these four elements must be proven:
- The defect existed while the manufacturer still possessed the tires
- The tires were used properly
- Defects in the tires caused the injury
- The injury is severe enough to justify recovery
You Need an Attorney
Tread separation and blowouts can have serious consequences when a vehicle is traveling at high speed. If you have been injured in a vehicle accident due to defective tires, you need to preserve as much evidence as possible in order to prove the cause of the accident. Acting quickly after an accident can ensure that important evidence is available when you need it. Don’t allow your vehicle or tires to be disposed of or destroyed under any circumstances. Without physical evidence from your accident, your case may be extremely difficult to prove. To receive the compensation you deserve, you need representation by an attorney experienced in handling product liability claims. To learn more, contact the product liability attorneys at the Morris James Personal Injury Group, by using the form on this page.