Defective tires can cause serious motor vehicle accidents. When a defective tire suddenly and unexpectedly fails or blows out at high speed on the road the results can be catastrophic for drivers and passengers. Auto accidents caused by defective tires can cause serious injuries and even death.
Individuals who are seriously harmed in an auto or truck accident that was caused by defective tires can get financial compensation from for their losses by filing a defective tire lawsuit against the manufacturer. This page will discuss product liability cases involving defective tires and what the potential settlement value of these cases is.
About Defective Tires and Auto Accidents
Tires are a critical component of any car, truck or motor vehicle because the tires are the only point of contact that they vehicle makes with the roadway. This means that tires are critically important to safe handling and braking of the vehicle. If the tires do not function properly the driver can lose control of the vehicle and cause major damage.
Defective tires are not necessarily a leading cause of vehicle accidents in terms of numbers. However, tire failures do happen a lot more often than you might think. Data from the NHTSA indicates that defective tires or tire failures accounts for 35% of accidents attributable to vehicle failure (as opposed to driver negligence).
When accidents are caused by tire failures, they tend to have very serious and harmful consequences. This is partly because tire failures usually happen suddenly when the vehicle is traveling at high speeds. When a defective tire fails at high speed it usually blows out or explodes into small fragments. This leaves the rim of the wheel entirely exposed which often causes the vehicle to violently spin out of control, often rolling over from the force.
Defects in the design or manufacture of tires can cause them to suddenly wear out or fail long before they would normally be expected to. Most tires are designed to last for about 65,000 to 85,000 miles before being at risk for failure other wear related issues.
Most tire defects are attributable to issues in the manufacturing process. These are known as manufacturing defects. Common types of manufacturing defects resulting in unsafe tires include:
- Problems or irregularities during the bonding process
- Contamination of the material components
- Use of old or improper ingredients or materials
- Improperly sized components
- Air getting trapped inside the layers of the tire during manufacture
All of these common manufacturing errors can cause major tire problems such as tread separation or blowout.
A tire blowout occurs when there is a very sudden drop in the normal air pressure inside the tire (the “tire pressure”). When this happens the tire rapidly loses its rigidity and when the vehicle is traveling at a high speed the tire will essentially explode into fragments. Tire blowouts are a common result of tire defects. The defects typically related to the ability of the tire to maintain air pressure. For example, if there were irregularities during the bonding process, the tire may suddenly leak air and blowout.
Tread separation (also called detreading) is another common type of tire failure that can result in serious accidents. Tread separation happens when the tread on the tire becomes separated from the steel belts underneath and inside the body of the tire. Detreading is the most common type of tire failure in radial tires.
Tread separation can result in a tire blowout, but it is not necessarily the same defect. Even when tread separation does not result in a full blowout, it can still have the same dangerous consequences. When the tread becomes detached from the belts at higher speeds, it can cause a sudden loss of vehicle control just like a blowout. Defects or flaws in the tire manufacturing process are the most common cause of tread separation.
Common Auto Accidents Caused by Defective Tires
Defective tire failures such as blowouts or detreading can and often do result in very serious vehicle accidents. The types of auto accidents caused by defective tires include:
- Spinning out
- Lane crossing
- Loss of control
- Running off road
When tires fail due to defects, the resulting loss of control of the vehicle can be dangerous for everything and everyone around.
Liability for Auto Accidents Caused by Defective Tires
If you are injured in a auto or truck accident and you can prove that the accident was directly caused by defective tires that failed on the road, then you and anyone else who was injured in the accident can bring a defective tire lawsuit against the tire company. Like all product manufacturers, tire companies have a legal duty to ensure that there products are reasonably safe for their intended purpose. This includes ensuring that they do not have manufacturing defects.
If a manufacturer makes a defective batch of tires and those tires fail on the road and cause injuries, that manufacturer can be held liable for any and all injuries and damages resulting from the tire failure.
Defective Tire Lawsuits
Anyone injured by an accident caused by defective tires can potentially bring a defective tire lawsuit against the company that made or sold the defective tires. Plaintiffs in defective tire cases will need to prove that the tire or tires were in fact defective in some way, and that defect caused the tire to fail resulting in the accident.
The most difficult thing in most defective tire cases is proving that the tires were defective and exactly how that defective occurred. In some cases, the tire manufacturers will announce recalls of certain tire brands after discovering defects. If your tire was covered by a recall, proving that they were defective will be much easier.
Defective Tire Verdict and Settlements
Below are settlements and verdicts from recent defective tire cases. The defendants in these cases range from major tire manufacturers, like Bridgestone, to auto retailers and repair shops.
- $2,500,000 Verdict (Florida 2022): 3 days after purchasing used tires from the defendant tire company, the plaintiff’s tire suffered a blowout causing him to lose control of the vehicle, run off the roadway and roll several times. The plaintiff and 3 of his minor grandchildren suffered serious injuries in the accident and sued the tire company alleging that the used tires were defective when they were sold. A jury agreed and awarded $2.5 million.
- $220,621 Verdict (Florida 2020): The plaintiff suffered serious injuries when the rear tire on his motorcycle sudden deflated causing him to lose control and crash. He sued the tire manufacture claiming that the motorcycle’s ‘tubeless tire’ system was defective. A jury awarded $220k.
- $10,665,000 Verdict (Pennsylvania 2018): The plaintiff and her daughter suffered serious, life impacting injuries when they struck a large piece of a tire in the roadway that came when a tire on a cement truck exploded ahead of them. They sued the tire company, Bridgestone, claiming that the tires on the cement truck were defectively manufactured causing them to detread on the road resulting in the accident.
- $15,000,000 Verdict (Florida 2018): a 41-year-old male, died while driving a sewage pumper truck, manufactured and sold by defendant National Truck Center Inc., when a tire, sold by National Truck, suffered a separation and blowout on the interstate, causing a crash into trees adjacent to the roadway. The lawsuit claimed that the pumper truck and tire were defective. It claimed, among other things, the tire had insufficient/inadequate rubber to steel and/or rubber to rubber bonding, inadequate dimensions and tolerances for tire components, bad adhesion, insufficient/inadequate inner liner thickness/gauge and air permeability.
Asbestos Tire Lawsuits
If you were seriously injured or your lost a loved one in an accident cause by defective tires, contact our national product liability lawyers today for free consultation at 800-553-8082 or reach out to us online.