Tires are the only part of a vehicle that make direct contact with the road, which means that tire blowouts can easily cause serious or even fatal car accidents. However, assigning liability for this type of collision can be more complicated than in claims involving one simple error such as speeding or running a red light.
About Tire Blowouts
Tire blowouts can occur for a variety of reasons, including improper inflation, tread wear, tread separation, faulty retreads, or improper loading. Tire blowouts can also happen if you are driving too long on a spare tire that has deteriorated while in storage.
Statistically, tire blowouts tend to be more common from May to October. This is due to the warmer temperatures, and also because more people are driving long distances in fully loaded vehicles while traveling on vacation.
When a blowout occurs, the driver may panic and lose control of the vehicle. Parts of the tire may scatter and hit the windshield of the vehicle directly behind the driver or create road debris, increasing the risk of dangerous multi-vehicle crashes.
If you experience a tire blowout while driving, remember to keep the steering wheel steady and avoid the impulse to slam on the brakes. Slow down with the vehicle's gearbox and natural deacceleration, then turn on your emergency lights and either change the tire yourself or call for assistance.
Driver Liability for Tire Blowouts
Drivers can be held liable for tire blowouts in two circumstances:
- Failure to inspect equipment. Drivers have a responsibility to regularly monitor their tire pressure and inspect their tires for signs of wear.
- Driving with defective equipment. Drivers have a duty to not operate their vehicle until safety issues have been addressed. Knowingly driving a vehicle with defective tires could make you liable for accidents that occur.
Manufacturer Liability for Tire Blowouts
Manufacturers have a legal responsibility to ensure that their products are safe for public use. Tires with a defective design that leads to an increased risk of failure have been the subject of several noted recalls in the past, including the 2000 recall of Firestone tires that led to the deaths of 45 people in one year.
Retailer or Installer Liability for Tire Blowouts
Retailers who knowingly sell tires that are dangerous, including those that have been already recalled, can be held liable for accidents that result. Mechanics who install tires and do not find a flaw that should have been noticeable can also be held financially responsible for resulting accidents.
Types of Compensation Available
Types of available compensation in a personal injury suit include:
- Medical expenses, including emergency care and follow-up appointments
- Anticipated future medical care, if you've suffered permanently disabling injuries
- Lost wages while you were recuperating from your injuries
- Loss of future earning potential, if you've suffered a permanent disability
- Pain and suffering, including both the physical pain and emotional issues associated with your injuries
If you were determined to be partially responsible for the accident, you are still entitled to compensation. However, your settlement will be reduced by your determined percentage of fault.
In the event of a fatal accident, the surviving spouse, child, or next of kin can file a wrongful death claim. This is a type of personal injury suit seeking damages related to the death of a loved one, including funeral and burial costs.
Protecting Your Legal Rights
Whenever you've suffered serious car accident injuries, the best way to protect your right to compensation is to retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney can investigate the value of your case, line up the necessary evidence, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
If you've been injured in a car wreck you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault are dedicated to helping Louisiana residents who've suffered serious car accident injuries caused by tire blowouts receive the personal injury settlements they need to move forward with their lives. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation. Appointments are available at six convenient office locations.