Car Accidents Caused by Defective Tires and Tire Blowouts
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Accidents due to tire failures aren’t always the driver’s fault; sometimes, they result from tire defects. Every year, individuals in the U.S. die due to problems with tires.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documented 622 fatalities in 2021.
Tire maintenance is necessary and failure to keep tires in good condition can lead to liability for accidents. Some tires even have issues straight from the factory, leading to large-scale recalls. If you’ve been injured in an accident stemming from faulty tires, a consultation with a skilled attorney at Colburn Hintze Maletta can provide insights into your potential legal options.
With the NHTSA attributing approximately 78,000 accidents each year to tire blowouts,
At Colburn Hintze Maletta, our expert legal team is dedicated to helping you understand these rights and to providing the guidance needed to navigate the aftermath of such accidents. Whether dealing with medical bills, lost income, or the pain and suffering that follows a tire blowout accident, our attorneys are equipped to advocate vigorously on your behalf.
Common Causes of a Tire Blowout Accident
Tire blowouts can happen unexpectedly and may lead to severe car accidents. Knowing the common causes can help you take preventive measures.
- Excessive Wear: Tires that are worn out are at a higher risk of blowing out.
- Underinflation: Inadequately inflated tires can heat up quickly, weakening the rubber and causing a blowout.
- Overloading: Exceeding your vehicle’s weight limit puts added stress on the tires.
- External Factors: Nails, sharp rocks, or other road debris can cause punctures leading to blowouts.
- Manufacturing Defects: Sometimes, the tire itself may have flaws in design or production.
According to Arizona Revised Statute § 28-693, drivers are responsible for maintaining their vehicles in a safe condition, including the tires. Failure to do so may result in penalties.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), tire blowouts contribute to around 78,000 accidents annually in the United States.
What motorists can do to avoid tire blowout accidents
Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some measures you can take:
- Regular Inspection: Make tire checks a routine part of your vehicle maintenance.
- Proper Inflation: Use a gauge to ensure your tires are inflated to the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Avoid Overloading: Always respect your vehicle’s weight limit.
- Be Cautious: Be aware of road conditions that might cause tire damage.
Tire-Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS)
Cars produced after 2008 generally have Tire-Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS)
These systems use sensors to keep track of the air pressure levels within your tires. When a tire’s pressure drops below a certain level, a warning sign will illuminate your vehicle’s dashboard, pinpointing which tire requires attention.
However, TPMS should not replace manual checks for tire pressure.
Liability in a car accidents caused by defective tires
In Arizona, various parties could be held legally responsible for accidents resulting from defective tires. From the creators of the tire to the retailer, anyone involved in the product’s journey to the market may bear responsibility if a flaw leads to an accident.
This is due to Arizona’s product liability laws, which cover not only the tire manufacturer but also its designer, distributor, and seller.
Strict Liability in Cases of Defective Tires
Consumers often lack the expertise to determine why a tire failed. Arizona law accounts for this by allowing individuals to file product liability lawsuits without requiring them to show that negligence occurred. This strict liability framework applies to various design, manufacturing, or product labeling defects. Under strict liability, proving a claim becomes simpler for the injured party.
To win a strict liability claim concerning a defective tire, you’ll need to establish these key points:
- The entity being sued had a role in designing, manufacturing, distributing, or selling the defective tire.
- The tire was flawed when it was under the control of the accused party.
- The accident you experienced was a predictable outcome of this defect.
- You suffered injuries due to the defect.
Expert testimony is often vital to prove that the defect led to your accident. Legal representatives may submit parts of the tire and accident reports to a tire specialist for a comprehensive analysis that could establish causality.
When the tire was not initially defective when purchased, other parties could be at fault for the accident. The list of potentially liable parties extends beyond the manufacturer or distributor and might include:
- The owner of the vehicle
- A tire service center
- The mechanic who installed or repaired the tires
- Retailers of pre-owned tires
In the state of Arizona, negligent acts are a common root cause of various kinds of accidents. If someone’s negligence led to your accident, they may be held financially accountable. To win a negligence claim, you must prove:
- The accused owed you a duty of care.
- There was a breach of that duty.
- This breach was a significant contributor to the occurrence of the accident and your resulting injuries.
- Actual harm was suffered as a consequence.
By understanding these factors and their implications under Arizona Revised Statute § 12-2505 for negligence and § 12-551 for product liability, you can better prepare for the legal battles that may lie ahead.
What damages are recoverable in a defective tire lawsuit?
Victims often face physical trauma, financial hardship, and emotional distress when involved in an accident due to a tire defect or blowout. Fortunately, Arizona law provides avenues for victims to seek compensation through legal action. If your lawsuit succeeds, you may be entitled to recover several damages.
Types of Damages:
- Medical Expenses: Cost of treatment, hospital stays, medications, and future medical needs.
- Lost Wages: Compensation for the income you’ve lost while recovering and potential future income.
- Property Damage: Repairs or replacement of your vehicle and any other damaged property.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment in life.
- Punitive Damages: In some extreme cases, these are awarded to punish the responsible parties for particularly egregious conduct.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: What steps can I take to check for tire defects before a long trip?
A1: Before embarking on a long journey, inspect your tires for any signs of wear, like cracking or bulging, and ensure they are properly inflated. You may also want a professional to inspect them if they have not been replaced for several years.
Q2: Can a tire blowout cause other mechanical failures?
A2: Yes, a tire blowout can lead to a loss of control and potentially damage other parts of your vehicle, including the braking system, suspension, or alignment.
Q3: How do recalls for defective tires work?
A3: Manufacturers will issue a recall if they find a defect compromising safety. Car owners should be notified by mail. However, it’s also advisable to regularly check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) database for recalls affecting your vehicle.
Q4: What if my accident was caused by an old or used tire?
A4: In such cases, liability might not directly fall on the manufacturer, especially if the tire was beyond its recommended service life. Depending on the case details, a previous owner or seller of used tires may be held responsible.
Q5: Can road conditions contribute to a tire blowout accident?
A5: Yes, hazardous road conditions like potholes or debris can trigger a tire blowout. In such cases, the entity responsible for road maintenance may also share some liability for the accident.
Q6: Is a tire blowout considered a ‘no-fault’ accident?
A6: In Arizona, fault is typically assigned in car accidents. If your tire blowout was due to a defect or negligence from a service provider, they could be held liable.
Q7: Can insurance deny my claim for a tire-related accident?
A7: Insurers might try to deny a claim if they believe the accident was avoidable or due to your negligence, such as failing to maintain the tires properly. That’s why collecting evidence is crucial.
Q8: How can a legal representative help in a tire defect case?
A8: An experienced attorney can guide you through the legal process, helping you gather evidence, consult experts, and negotiate with insurance companies to seek fair compensation for your injuries.
Q9: Are trucking companies liable for tire blowouts in their fleet?
A9: Trucking companies are required to maintain their vehicles, including tires. The trucking company could be held accountable if a tire blowout occurs due to poor maintenance.
Q10: What should I look for in an attorney to handle a tire defect case?
A10: Experience in product liability and personal injury law, a track record of successful outcomes in similar cases, and familiarity with Arizona statutes are important factors to consider when choosing an attorney.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
At Colburn Hintze Maletta , our expert personal injury attorneys are well-versed in Arizona’s product liability statutes and have the experience to advocate for you effectively. Whether you’re facing medical bills, lost wages, or want to understand your legal options, our team is here to assist you.
Why CHM Law:
- Free Consultation: We offer a no-obligation, free consultation to discuss the specifics of your case. This allows you to understand your legal options without any financial risk.
- Experience and Expertise: Our attorneys have years of experience handling personal injury cases and can guide you through Arizona’s legal system to seek the best possible outcome.
- Personalized Service: Every case is unique, and we are committed to providing individualized guidance tailored to your specific needs.
David Maletta is a widely respected criminal defense attorney with over 23 years of experience and has worked on over 1,000 cases and has successfully won over 100 jury trials. David graduated from Northern Arizona University, Magna Cum Laude in 1993 with a degree in Psychology. Shortly thereafter, he earned his Juris Doctor degree from Seton Hall University School of Law in 1998. He has extensive experience in criminal and DUI matters, homicide, sexually-based offenses, domestic violence, white-collar crimes, and various misdemeanor crimes.
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