If you have been in a car accident due to a defective tire and were injured as a result, you may need the help of a defective tire lawyer. When we think of car accidents or the injuries they cause, we typically think of one person who was driving negligently, and because they were texting or not paying attention, they end up hitting another car. However, negligent drivers are not the only cause of serious accidents, and one of the many ways that people can be injured in cars is through defective tires. These types of accidents can always be very dangerous, but drivers are especially at risk for injuries when driving at high speeds on a highway.
As Philadelphia based defective tire attorneys, the team at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt knows just how devastating this scenario can be. If you were involved in an accident that was caused by a defective tire or a tire blowout, you should contact one of our attorneys as soon as possible. Unfortunately, some of the largest manufacturers in the tire business have been known to sell dangerous tires with defects, and these large corporations can and should be held accountable when their products cause serious injuries. For more information on defective tires and what you should do next, call a Pennsylvania defective tire lawyer from the law firm of McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt today.
What Are Common Types of Tire Defects?
Tires are literally where the rubber meets the road, and are critical components of your vehicle that affect braking, steering, handling, traction, and stability. Because tires are such crucial components, a sudden tire failure often has serious consequences, especially when a car is traveling at high speeds, or has a high center of gravity.
A few of the most common tire defects include:
- Rim or Tire Explosion
- Tread Separation
- Catastrophic Tire Failure
- Tire Blowout
What is Tread Separation?
The tread on a tire is typically built on the tire last, while steel belts are embedded into the tire earlier. In steel-belted radial tires, the most common type of tire on the market today, it is not uncommon for the tread to begin separating, especially at high speeds or in hot weather. This is because it is technically difficult to adhere steel to rubber, leading to a potential for tread separation.
When this happens, it is very easy for the driver to lose control of the vehicle even if the tire does not lose any pressure. Tread separation can occur in tires after several years of use, especially if the tire is consistently under inflated, but when a brand new tire is defective or poorly constructed, the tread can begin to separate even at slow speeds.
What Can Cause Tread Separation To Occur?
Some of the common causes of tread separation are:
- Curing moisture into the tire
- Using old, dry rubber
- Failing to give the tire a proper final inspection
- Improperly repairing the tire
- Using a petroleum solvent before vulcanization
These manufacturing defects often result in poor adhesion between the tread and the belts, and can cause tread separation and blowouts when handled at any speed.
What Happens During a Tire “Blowout”?
A tire blowout occurs when a radial tire begins to lose its tread. When this happens, there is a very sudden loss of pressure and the driver is no longer able to maintain control of the car. The vehicle may begin turning, and can even flip over or roll. Unfortunately, if you are going on a highway and traveling at high speeds, a tire blowout can not only cause severe injuries but can also be fatal.
Is There Anything I Can Do To Keep My Tires Safe?
While many tire problems are the fault of the manufacturer, there are certain things you can do to check your tires for safety. The most important thing is to keep your tires properly inflated at all times. If your tires are underinflated, this can contribute to tread separation and blowouts.
Other ways you can inspect your tires to see if they are safe is to look for:
- Cracks or cuts in the tire
- Very worn tread
- Uneven wear
- Damaged sidewalls
- Unusual or excessive vibration while you drive
Warning Signs Your Tires May Be Defective
Even if you’ve inspected your tires for safety concerns, it can also be helpful to know warning signs that may show an impending tire blowout while you’re driving. The main signs to look for while driving are:
- Vibrations: When a tire begins to separate, the spinning motion of the tire will be thrown off. This will cause your car to vibrate as you drive, and also impact your ability to make turns safely.
- Sounds: Listen for humming or thumping as you drive. Thumping may indicate a flat spot on the tire, and humming may indicate a chopped thread that is causing the tire to be lopsided.
- Poor traction: If a tire was manufactured without sufficient tread, the car may have difficulty maintaining traction in water, and may even hydroplane.
These issues pose a danger not only to you but to everyone you share the road with. It is important to immediately address any of these warning signs if they come up while you are driving.
Common Examples of How Defective Tires Cause Accidents
Worn out tires are one thing; it falls upon the shoulders of the vehicle’s owner to replace them periodically when the tread is insufficient or the expiration date is nearing. Defective tires, on the other hand, are those which are new, installed correctly, and are used in the way the manufacturer intended, but fail regardless.
A defective tire that fails does not always cause a serious accident, but when it does, the results may be catastrophic. Some of the ways that a tire can be defective and thereby dangerous include:
- Cracked or weakened structure in the sidewall
- Separation of the tire belt or tire tread
- Improperly cured materials due to a faulty manufacturing method
- Tires that are sold when they are already past their expiration date (this can be the fault of the tire distributor as well as the manufacturer or solely the fault of the distributor)
Can You Sue a Tire Company?
Manufacturing a tire is a complex process that requires precise temperature and humidity settings, and a multitude of chemical reactions and mechanical adjustments. Even the slightest change to these variables can cause dangerous defects in the tire that can cause a serious accident.
If you or a loved one were seriously injured by a defective tire, you may be considering bringing a lawsuit against someone to cover your medical bills and damage to property. But who exactly do you bring that lawsuit against? There are a few possibilities:
- The manufacturer: If the tire was sold to you in a defective state, then you may wish to bring a lawsuit against the tire manufacturer
- A mechanic or body shop: If your tire was improperly serviced by a mechanic or body shop, they may be liable for your accident
No matter who you decide to bring your lawsuit against, the chances are that that individual or business will try to lay blame on someone else for your accident. In addition, they will be looking to prove that your negligence was the primary cause of the accident. Having an experienced defective tire lawyer on your side can help you navigate the question of who is liable for your accident, as well as help you prove that your negligence was not more than 50% responsible for your injuries.
Motor Homes Also at Risk
While we typically think of personal vehicles being the ones that are affected by a tire blowout, motor homes are also at risk from defective tires. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been investigating Goodyear tire company since 2017, after dozens of accidents involving G159 tires were reported. These tires were all installed on motor homes that drive at highway speeds.
Over 35 high speed tread separations have occurred because of these tires. While Goodyear has ceased selling them, they have still not put out a safety warning for ones that may still be on the road. When a company refuses to issue a warning statement about a potentially dangerous product they have put on the market, they put countless lives at risk.
Liability Laws in Philadelphia, PA
The State of Pennsylvania has certain laws that pertain to liability and personal injury. There is also a statute of limitations that specifies how long a victim has before they must file a claim or lawsuit before they lose the right to do so. In Pennsylvania, as in many other states, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case is 2 years from the date of accident.
If the evidence collected from a car accident indicates that a defective tire is to blame, then the tire manufacturer can be held liable for any damages that result. This does not necessarily mean that the manufacturer will readily pay out the many thousands of dollars (or more) in damages without a fight. In fact, their team of lawyers will more than likely reject any claim submitted to them because they want to protect their profit margin. This is why it is imperative to hire an experienced defective tire lawyer in Philadelphia, PA to represent your interests and help you receive the maximum compensation that you are owed.
What Are My Legal Options if a Defective Tire Caused My Accident?
Across America, there are around 33,000 accidents that are related to tires per year, with 19,000 people suffering severe injuries from these accidents. Tragically, more than 500 people every year suffer fatal injuries in crashes caused by a defective tire.
When accidents are caused by defective tires, victims often do not know that they can seek compensation for their damages from the tire manufacturer and other liable parties. This is important information to know because a motorist’s insurance coverage may be insufficient to cover their losses. The team at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt represents victims who have been involved in accidents like these.
If you or your loved one has been the victim of a defective tire accident, we know this experience can be extremely traumatic and cause serious and life-threatening injuries. We can offer a complimentary review of your case, and help provide greater insight as to your legal options and how much compensation you may be able to recover. For more information or to speak with a Philadelphia, PA defective tire lawyer at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt, call us today at 1-866-690-2848 or fill out our form here