Some tire blowouts happen unexpectedly. They may be caused by a pothole, sharp object or another dangerous condition on the road that punctures your tire.
However, most other tire blowouts are due to negligence, often on the part of the driver. Tire blowouts often lead to crashes resulting in serious injuries and deaths each year.
If your crash was caused by a tire blowout, you may be eligible to seek compensation. However, you may be unsure how to proceed and have a lot of questions. For instance: Who may be liable for my damages? What type of evidence should I gather? What can I do to help strengthen my claim?
Below, we discuss liability for these crashes in greater detail and the damages you may be able to recover. You can learn more about your rights and available legal options during a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable South Bend car accident lawyers.
Common Causes of Tire Blowout Crashes
When a tire blowout happens, it can cause the driver to lose control of his or her vehicle. While there are many reasons for tire blowout crashes, the most common causes of these crashes include:
- Underinflated tires – Underinflated tires are the leading cause of tire blowout crashes. The tread starts to wear down fast on the sides, reducing the lifespan of the tire more quickly than if the tire was properly inflated. Once a weak spot in the tire starts forming, a blowout can happen.
- Overinflated tires – An overinflated tire can cause the tread to wear down fast in the center of the tire. An imbalance of air in the tire makes it more susceptible to blowouts.
- Worn-out tires – Old and worn-out tires are dangerous. As the tread gets thinner over time, the tire cannot gain proper traction, especially when the roads are wet. This increases the risk of a blowout. However, brand new tires with a defect can be just as dangerous and cause a serious crash.
- Defective tires – Possible defects include the use of faulty and weak materials, tread separation, lack of bond between thread and steel belt, and a tire made without all necessary components.
- Overloading a vehicle – An overloaded vehicle can cause excessive wear and tear on tires, causing them to fail without warning. Tires can only handle a certain amount of weight before causing uneven tread wear and increasing the chances of the tire rupturing on the road.
- Road hazards – Hitting a pothole or roadway debris can cause damage to tires. If one or more tires hits an object with enough force, it can weaken the internal components of the tire. A tire can blow immediately or slowly weaken until it eventually ruptures.
Who May Be Liable for a Tire Blowout Crash?
Since there are several possible causes for a tire blowout, more than one negligent party may be at fault after a crash. To determine liability, a detailed accident investigation will need to be performed to help identify the proximate cause of the tire blowout. Parties who may be liable for damages include:
If the owner of the vehicle failed to perform adequate maintenance, such as rotating and/or replacing worn out tires, he or she may be liable for damages. If you were hit by a commercial truck that had a tire blowout, the truck driver or the trucking company that owns the vehicle may be responsible.
Manufacturers are required to make safe products. If a tire is defective or poorly designed when it leaves the factory, the manufacturer of the tire may be to blame in the event of a tire blowout crash.
A tire retailer may be liable if they knowingly sold unsafe tires or sold old or used tires as new. A tire retailer who does not stop selling recalled tires may also be responsible.
If a tire shop negligently installed tires on your vehicle or left a tire underinflated and this caused a blowout, the person who installed the tires and his or her employer may be to blame.
Poorly maintained roads can lead to a tire blowout. The government entity that designed the road or the agency tasked with road upkeep may be responsible. However, these claims are harder to prove.
What If I Am Partially at Fault?
Indiana follows a modified comparative fault rule. This means that even if you are partially at fault for a tire blowout crash, you may still be able to pursue compensation for your injuries and damages. Any amount of compensation awarded would be reduced according to your percentage of fault.
For instance, if you are awarded $60,000 but you are found 20 percent at fault for the crash, your award amount will be reduced by 20 percent or $12,000. The total amount you could receive is $48,000.
However, it is important to note that you cannot be more responsible than the other party or parties involved. If this is the case, you will be barred from recovering compensation under state law. That is why it is important to have an experienced lawyer on your side representing your best interests.
What Can I Do to Strengthen My Claim?
There are many forms of evidence your lawyer could help you gather and use to strengthen your claim. The tire itself is a critical piece of evidence.
Taking photos of the crash scene, including any potholes or uneven surfaces, could help show poor road maintenance. Photos of the damage to your vehicle and other vehicles can also be valuable evidence.
Your lawyer may decide to bring in different experts to provide testimony supporting your claim. If a manufacturing defect caused the tire blowout, a tire expert may be used to identify the defect. If another driver’s negligence played a role, an accident reconstruction expert may be used to determine how the crash happened. A medical expert may also be used to show the severity of your injuries.
Anyone who witnessed the crash may have heard a loud noise and seen the tire rupture. Your lawyer may even have family members and close friends testify about how your injuries have affected your life.
If you seek medical care, follow your doctor’s treatment plan, and keep track of your damages, it will be harder for the other party and his or her insurance company to try and dispute your claim.
Our Lawyers Are Here to Help After a Crash. Call Today
If you have been injured in a tire blowout crash, we are here to offer legal advice. We have decades of combined legal experience and a proven track record of success.
The initial consultation is free of charge and comes with no obligation to hire our firm. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there are no upfront fees for our services. We only get paid if you get paid.
Available 24/7 to Help. Ph: (844) 678-1800.