Sacramento Defective Tire Accident Lawyer
When you purchase new tires for your vehicle, you presume that careful maintenance will reduce the risk of a collision caused by tire failure. Unfortunately, tires that have just been purchased can be compromised by manufacturing flaws or unsafe design. When a tire undergoes tread separation or a blowout, the consequences can be fatal roadway departures and vehicle rollover accidents.
Despite these potential dangers, consumers usually do not give much thought to the tires on a vehicle when purchasing a new car, pickup, passenger van, or SUV. Although a road departure or rollover crash often causes catastrophic injury, even federal traffic safety agencies like the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) provide little guidance on tire safety other than balancing, aligning, and properly inflating tires to the recommended level of tire pressure.Why the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith Can Make a Difference
The Sacramento auto accident lawyers at our law firm understand that tire failure can have a devastating impact on the lives of vehicle occupants. Our law firm has received a broad range of accolades and positive reviews based on our commitment to client satisfaction and tenacious efforts to obtain the maximum recovery for injury victims. Examples of the level of distinction our law firm has garnered are evidenced by the following:
- Client Choice Award 2015 (AVVO – A private organization that rates every attorney in the S.)
- Perfect 10.0 Score for Truck and Car Accidents (AVVO)
- Member Million Dollar Advocates (Membership by invitation only based on multiple million-dollar verdicts and/or settlements)
- Dozens of positive reviews from happy clients on YELP, AVVO, and Google
- Many positive reviews from car accident victims on AutoAccident.com
- Published author of multiple books on vehicle accident litigation, including “The Ultimate California Auto Accident Handbook” and “California Motorcycle Accident Handbook.”
- Frequent Guest on television and radio discussing defective product and car accident claims
Faulty tires cause thousands of accidents every year where there was no negligent conduct by either driver. While tire maintenance is an important step to making your vehicle safe, defective tires or improperly installed tires pose a potentially hidden danger that motorists only discover after disaster strikes. For example, tire manufacturers might use an improper tire compound that tends to give out and cause a serious collision.
This risk increases based on the design of the motor vehicle. Cars with a high profile with a relatively narrow wheel basis are more prone to collisions caused by defective tires.Detecting Potential Risk of Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Caused by a Tire Defect
There are signs that vehicle owners should note when attempting to determine whether their tires post a significant risk of a blowout, such as:
- Sudden loss of tire pressure
- Cracking of the rubber
- Open splices
- Tread Separation
If you are involved in a traffic collision, generally, you must establish that a party engaged in negligent conduct, which essentially refers to unreasonably careless conduct that causes reasonably foreseeable harm (e.g., injury or death). However, product liability claims based on defective vehicle parts and components also can be based on the theory of “strict liability.”
The doctrine of strict liability permits the imposition of liability on the seller, distributor, or maker of a part, component, or system in a vehicle, or the vehicle manufacturer when a person is injured by a defective vehicle often without the need to prove the manufacturer or retailer acted negligently.
Three types of defects typically will be the focus of a defective product claim, which include the following:
- Design Defects: This type of defect involves problems or flaws present in every unit of the product, even when it complies meticulously with manufacturer specifications. In other words, the defect is inherent in the product even when the manufacturing process is without mishap or incident.
- Manufacturing Defects: This type of defect is not inherent in every product unit, but the flaw arises because of issues during the fabrication and assembly process. In this case, the finished project will deviate in some way from the design specifications, and those differences will make the product unsafe for consumers.
- Failure to Warn: This type of issue usually involves misleading advertising, inadequate instructions/packaging, or other failures to warn of particular risks of harm when the product is used as intended or misused in a reasonably foreseeable way.
Although this overview provides a general explanation of potential defects, the law differs depending on the jurisdiction where your legal action is filed, so you should seek legal advice from an experienced defective vehicle lawyer. One of the most fundamental aspects of a defective vehicle lawsuit involves the concept of “crashworthiness.”
When an aspect of a car, truck, or SUV has a feature that increases the risk or severity of a crash, the doctrine of crashworthiness might result in liability being imposed even if the defect did not cause the collision. However, you typically will have to establish that the defect was reasonably avoidable (i.e., with an alternative design), and the defect either intensified or caused the injury.Understanding Common Tire Defect Issues
Some common types of tire defect issues include the following:
- Sidewall Defects: This type of defect often causes catastrophic failure during the inflation of the tire. When the sidewall catastrophically fails because of a “zipper failure” during the inflation process, the result can be devastating injuries to bystanders or the person inflating the tire. The name “zipper failure” comes from the appearance of the tire after “exploding.” Generally, the only action taken to prevent this type of tire failure involves vague, inadequate warnings.
- Belt and Tread Separation: A dangerous type of tire failure involving all steel-belted tires involves tread separation because of design or manufacturing problems that prevent the steel belts from adhering to the rubber. The risk of a belt or tread separation rises when a vehicle travels at high rates of speed during extreme heat. Data from the tire manufacturing industry reveals that tread belt separation constitutes the most frequent type of failure for steel-belted radial tires. Although a feature referred to as “safety belts” can mitigate the risk of lack of adhesion between the belts and the rubber, many manufacturers in the U.S. do not use “safety belts.”
- Bead Failures: When bead wire is not of sufficient strength, the tire can explode when filled with too much air. Used tires or tires in services for a prolonged period can be overfilled even when filled by the manufacturer’s safety margins.
- Multi-Use Failure: If you have tires installed on multi-piece rims, this type of wheel has been responsible for serious injuries and fatalities to many tire installers. Although OSHA has successfully implemented safety standards that require safety cages during the mounting process, injuries still occur after the wheel is removed from the safety cage.
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. If you or a family member have been injured in a crash caused by a defective car tire, please call us today at 916.921.6400 or 800.404.5400 for free, friendly advice.
We are members of the National Association of Distinguished Counsel and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
See our client reviews on Google, Yelp, and Avvo and our past verdicts and settlements.
Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 3.23.21]