Tire Blowout Accident Settlement – What You Need To Know
Tire blowouts are a fairly common occurrence. These types of accidents happen frequently enough to injure or kill thousands of people each year. In some cases, a person’s or company’s negligence causes tire blowouts. So what do you need to know about this type of collision and getting a tire blowout accident settlement?
Some tire blowouts happen on passenger vehicles and others on tractor-trailers. If liability is proven, you can file a claim or lawsuit and obtain damages for your injuries.
This page explains tire blowout accidents, liability, responsible parties, tire blowout settlements, truck tire blowouts, product liability settlements, and more. If you have questions, talk to a personal injury attorney listed at Lawsuit Information Center for more details.
What Makes a Tire Blow Out?
Tires blow out for many reasons. Holes in the tire can cause a blowout, but they sometimes happen where there are no holes.
Vehicle tires lose air every day. Tires usually lose one or two pounds per square inch when winter comes. At high temperatures, the pressure loss can rise.
Also, tires wear out from exposure to the elements and can lose air pressure. These factors are why drivers must check their tires every week or two to ensure they have the proper pressure.
However, if the tire loses a lot of pressure, it is vital to check the tire’s condition and the inflation valve. Make sure the tire is seated in the rim and look for cracks.
Tires also can blow out due to manufacturer error, installation error, and merely driving too long on an extremely worn tire.
Are Tire Blowouts Dangerous?
Yes. Tire blowout accidents are common in the US. Blowouts injure and kill many people every year.
A 2003 NHTSA report found that 414 deaths, 10,275 injuries, and 78,392 vehicle crashes happen annually because of flat tires or blowouts. However, this data includes vehicles that did not have tire pressure monitoring systems.
A 2005 to 2007 National Motor Vehicle Crash Survey found 5,470 accidents. In 9% of these crashes, a tire problem may have led to the crash. Further, of the 3,889,000 vehicles in accidents in this period, tire blowouts occurred in .5% of cases just before the accident.
What To Do If I Have a Blowout on the Road?
First, do not panic and overcorrect. Most people want to slam on the brakes and oversteer. Severe injury or death can occur if you do these things. Instead, experts recommend the following:
- Hold the steering wheel steady. Hold the wheel firmly with both hands, so you do not veer off the road. You need to get to the roadside on the side with the blowout. But extreme caution and deliberate movements are required.
- Do not brake – it could be fatal. The car may lose balance, veer, and flip over.
- Slow with the transmission, and take your foot off the gas pedal. You must stop, but you need to safely downshift the transmission to a lower gear and take your foot off the gas. Slowing naturally in this way will stop the car safely.
- Use emergency lights and change the tire. Get to the side of the road safely and use your emergency lights. Change the tire, and you are safe to continue.
If you think defects caused your blowout, preserving as much of the tire remains as possible is critical. If possible, try to pick up as many of the tire pieces from the road. If that is impossible, some of the blown tires may stay on the rim. When you go to the tire shop, ask them to keep whatever remains of the blown tire. Having the tire and wheel available is helpful because your attorney will need to hire an expert to analyze both items.
Product Liability Lawsuits in Tire Blowouts
A tire retailer or manufacturer may be liable under product liability laws if a tire blowout happens because of manufacturing, design, or installation problems. An injured party may sue the retailer if they sell a damaged tire. The installer can also be liable if they install a tire incorrectly. These are considered product liability cases.
Suppose the driver can prove the tire or installation was defective. In that case, they might recover damages for injuries and loss of value to personal property (such as their vehicle).
Tire defects that may be due to manufacturer negligence include:
- A damaged connection from tread to belt ply. The break makes a bulge on the tread. It can rip open during driving and cause a blowout.
- Overheating. Blisters may form between plies. Rubber can separate from the tread.
- Compound impurities and imbalance. Dirt or moisture from an employee’s hands during the manufacturing process can damage the tire rubber and lead to a radial tear.
- Low-quality solvents or skim stock. Skim stock is the layer between the rubber plies. It must be manufactured in a precise way to avoid separation during operation.
To prove this case, the plaintiff’s attorney must hire an expert to investigate how the blowout happened.
Tire Blowouts and Driver Negligence
Suppose a vehicle with a blowout hits a third party. In that case, that third party is likely to have a negligence claim against the driver that had the blowout. Also, the third party may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer/installer.
Usually, the victim only sues the driver. There is no need to show the tire was defective. Rather, only negligence must be proven. Determining liability is often easy; most drivers do not check their tires.
However, sometimes a driver who checks their tires often has a blowout. It might be hard to prove negligence if the driver believably claims the tires were in good condition.
That is why it is vital to contact an attorney if you have an accident caused by a tire blowout. Filing and pursuing tire blowout claims can be complicated.
Can I Sue For a Truck Tire Blowout?
Yes. Truck tire blowouts and tire tread separations cause many severe accidents every year. When a truck tire blows, the driver may lose control of the big rig and crash into you. Or flying truck tire debris can slam into your car and lead to an accident.
Causes of truck tire blowouts include:
- Overweight or unsecured truck cargo load
- Slow tire leak
- Poor maintenance
- Running over an object on the highway
- Defective tires
- Bad road conditions
If a truck tire blows out and causes injury, you can file a lawsuit against the trucker or his company for failure to inspect and maintain the tires. Or you may file a suit against the tire manufacturer that may have produced defective tires.
Truck drivers can be liable in these cases:
- They fail to inspect the vehicle: Drivers must check their rig for problems each day. Tires that show signs of wear can tell drivers it is time to change them.
- They fail to stop driving with defective tires: Drivers should not drive if their tires are in poor condition. Also, recalls from a tire manufacturer should make the driver replace or repair the tires.
Sometimes, a manufacturer sells a defective tire that blows out. They may fail to warn the company or driver of the danger. Sometimes an installer repairs a tire incorrectly, leading to an accident. In these cases, the manufacturer or installer can be liable for a truck tire blowout that injures you.
Truck drivers must drive carefully and use caution on the road. If the trucker has a blowout from an object on the highway, they usually are not liable.
However, if it has a blowout and acts in an unsafe way, they may be held liable for any accident. An unreasonable act is hitting the brakes hard, swerving, and other unsafe actions. The driver must also do regular inspections, never operate unsafe equipment, and do regular maintenance on their rig.
A Requirement to Check the Truck
Truck drivers must check their rigs and fix apparent problems. Suppose a trucker is driving a rig with worn tires or their truck’s tires have some evident defect. In that case, they must find the problem error and not drive until it is repaired. If a plaintiff sues a commercial driver after a truck tire blowout, they cannot claim they did not see the problem. According to the law, they should have known.
A Requirement Not to Drive with Faulty Equipment
If a truck driver knows or should have known there was a defective tire, they cannot drive the vehicle until it is fixed.
A Requirement to Make Regular Safety Checks
Daily or weekly checks of trucks can avoid a blowout. If a trucker does not maintain his rig, he and his company can be sued for damages if a tire blows out. Truckers must inspect their tires, lights, load, brakes, mirrors, and more.
Do Retread Truck Tires Cause Many Blowouts?
Yes. Retreads also are called remanufactured tires. This used tire has a new tread put onto the casing of an old truck tire. Before 2008, people often fitted passenger vehicles with retreaded tires to save money. But retread passenger vehicle tires are rare today. For trucking companies, a cheap retread tire is more affordable than a new one.
Truck companies claim retread tires do not blow out any more than new tires. But the massive number of damaged truck tires on our roads makes one think. When a truck tire blows, big pieces of tire can smash into your car and cause a violent crash. Chunks of tire are left in the road, too, creating more dangers for oncoming drivers.
Tire Blowout Accident Settlements
Below are some tire blowout accident settlements from other attorneys in the United States.
$16.5 Million Wrongful Death Verdict
A 50-year-old man was driving a van on I-75 near Macon, Georgia. A tire blew, causing the van to slam into the guardrail and flip. One passenger died, and a dozen were hurt. The man’s family sued Michelin North America and the van driver. The lawsuit alleged that a defective tire design caused a rear tire to lose its tread. The suit claimed that Michelin knew about the flawed design but did not fix it.
The jury determined that Michelin bore 80% responsibility and the driver 20% responsibility for the fatal accident. The deceased’s widow received $5 million in wrongful death funds. His estate received $20,000 for funeral costs. The jury also ordered Michelin to pay $11 million in punitive damages.
$10.8 Million Product Liability Settlement
The defendant drove on a highway in his Chevrolet Blazer with his wife. The left front tire blew out, and the truck swerved left and slammed into the plaintiff driving the other way. The plaintiff’s mother suffered severe injuries, and her daughter died in the crash.
The previous truck owner bought the tires from Grand Auto two years before the crash. In Warren, Ohio, Denman Tire made the tires and TBC Corporation in Memphis, Tennessee, distributed them.
The plaintiff’s father sued for pain and suffering and loss of consortium. The plaintiff’s mother sued for her injuries, emotional distress, and wrongful death for their daughter.
The plaintiffs argued the defending companies made, manufactured, and distributed defective tires. Also, the driver inflated the tire to 45 PSI, well over the 30 PSI limit. They also argued that the driver caused the accident because of the failure to maintain the truck. The defective tire developed rupture damage not long before the tire blowout.
The case eventually settled for $10.8 million paid equally by the defendant companies.
$10.6 Million Wrongful Death Settlement
A Chevrolet Blazer tire blew a three-foot, oversized tire next to a woman’s car. Her four-year-old girl died in the tragedy. The plaintiff’s attorney said the massive tire was mislabeled and could not be used on a vehicle without making dangerous modifications. The truck’s center of gravity needed to be raised 30%, making it unstable and too dangerous to drive.
The family reached a wrongful death settlement with Deman Tire Corp., Tire and Battery Corp, and Grand Auto.
Tire Blowout Accident Settlement Calculator:
For legal guidance and an idea of how much your accident claim could be worth, check out our settlement calculator. It’s a great tool to use when you’re unsure of what lies ahead.
Get Legal Help For Your Tire Blowout Accident Settlement
Did you suffer an injury from a tire blowout? You could receive compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, rehabilitation, and more. Find an experienced personal injury attorney at Lawsuit Info Center with our search tool and receive a complimentary consultation.
Some experts say having a blowout on a front tire is less dangerous. But any blown tire is hazardous, and it is vital to slow down gradually, steer towards the side with the damaged tire, and never slam on the brakes.
Do not slam on the brakes. Instead, keep both hands on the steering wheel and gently steer to the side with a flat tire. Take your foot off the gas and downshift the transmission, so you slow down gradually. When the car is nearly stopped, gently press the brake pedal. Turn on your blinkers and change the tire, or call for help.
A tire can fail because of wear, manufacturer defect, installer error, under inflation, and other causes. Some tires blow out because of another party’s negligence, while others are owner error.
A tire blowout can cause a minor accident, such as a car behind you hitting your bumper when you suddenly slow down. However, blowouts also can cause the driver to lose control and suffer a severe accident. A truck tire blowout can send rubber smashing into your car and lead to a deadly accident.
At interstate speeds, a tire blowout can cause a driver to panic and veer off the road. The NHTSA estimates that tire blowouts kill 400 drivers per year.