Every driver knows the importance of their car or truck’s tire. After all, this is where the rubber meets the road. However, despite their importance in safe driving, both drivers and manufacturers can neglect important steps in manufacturing, installing, and maintaining tires. Indeed, tire blowouts are a very common cause of auto accidents.
Specifically, many people may have heard the term “tread separation”. This is when a tire fails due to a certain type of defect introduced during the manufacturing process. This particular defect has caused many pickup and SUV rollovers and other severe accidents that killed and injured hundreds of people. Unfortunately, tread separation is but one of the problems or defects that can cause a tire to fail. Therefore, it is important for drivers to be able to recognize the signs of a defective tire or defective tires.
A Manufacturer’s Legal Duty to Provide Products Free From Defects
When a company places a product on the market and into the general stream of commerce, it does so to turn a profit. However, when companies put a product on the public market, there are also certain responsibilities that exist. For one, manufacturers must ensure that the product is free from unreasonable risks or dangers. If use of the product does carry certain risks, the manufacturer must include adequate instructions or warning. Thus, manufacturers of tires and vehicles have a duty to ensure that that product does not contain a manufacturing defect, a design defect, or a failure to warn defect.
A manufacturing defect exists when the product was not made according to specifications or plans. Rather, a deviation in the plan results in a product that may contain unexpected or unintended risks and dangers. A design defect occurs when a product is built exactly as the plans and specifications call for. However, the design itself contains a mistake or error that makes the product unsafe. Failure to warn defects typically accompany inherent risks where the instructions fail to warn about these risks.
Can a Driver Who Knowingly Uses Defective Auto Parts Be Held Liable for Injuries in Pennsylvania?
Many people know that when they are on the road they owe some form of legal duty to other drivers on the road. But how does this apply to drivers and their tires? What duties, if any do drivers owe to others in regard to the tires on their car. While a tire blowout may happen for other reasons that are out of the control of any person, there are certain things that drivers must do:
- A driver has a duty to inspect and maintain his or her vehicle– A driver has a duty to inspect their tires from time to time. As a vehicle ages and accumulates wear and tear, problems are more likely to exist. During these inspections, he or she should note obvious problems such as low pressure, bulges, and a lack of tread.
- A duty not to drive with defective parts and equipment– Most people will not drive their vehicle if they know that it has a major defect or problem. However, in some cases, people may feel like they have no option but to drive their defective vehicle. If you are aware that your vehicle or tire has a defect you generally have a legal obligation not to drive your car or vehicle until the defect is fixed. This may mean that you have the tire or tires replaced.
- General duty to act reasonably — Additionally, there is a general duty to act reasonable. When applied to one’s driving habits, that means that while you are on the road you generally have the duty to behave as a reasonable driver and attempt to avoid accidents and placing other people in danger. This also includes following all traffic laws.
Violations of one’s duty to act reasonably can lead to the circumstances when an accident becomes inevitable.
What Are the Different Types of Tire Defects?
Defective tires can come about in a number of ways and lead to a number of problems:
- Poor tire construction
- Poor tire manufacturing
- Tire blow-outs
- Poor tire design
- Tire de-beading and bead failures
- Tread separation
- Tire shredding
- Wheel explosions
- Sidewall zipper failures
- Deficient skim stock
- Tread Separations
One of the most common defects from the list above is tread separations. Tires are constructed from fabric, steel, and rubber materials. If you have ever tried to glue different materials together you probably have noticed that some materials do not always want to stick together despite your efforts. As you can imagine, attempting to join fabric, steel, and rubber together can be complicated. Tread belt separation occurs when the glue and adhesive agents that a tire manufacturer uses break down, and the adhesion between the steel belts and rubber tread weakens. In addition, tire blowouts are another common tire defect which often leads to catastrophic accidents and injuries. Tire blowouts can result from tire sidewall failure, used or aging tires, tire markings, and tire bead failure. Tire blowouts are especially prevalent in large commercial trucks or when a vehicle is heavily loaded.
Can A Tire Manufacturer Or Retailer Be Held Liable for Your Injuries?
You may be wondering if you can hold a tire manufacturer or retailer responsible for your injuries if you have been involved in a tire blowout accident. Generally, a mechanic or other automotive manufacturer or retailer may be held liable for a tire blowout if they should have discovered the defect. A person who installs a tire can also be held liable if they installed the wrong type of tire or should have known that the tire they installed was defective. Additionally, a retailer may be held liable if the tire they sold you was damaged while it was at the store, such as being in the sun in the showroom.
At Reiff & Bily, our attorneys stay informed of all tire recall announcements and, when investigating a serious auto accident, we make certain to look for any evidence indicating tire failure may have been a factor.
If a car, truck, SUV or motorcycle accident has caused a catastrophic injury or death in your family, please contact us for skilled legal counsel.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers Fight for Tire Blowout and Defect Accident Victims
At Reiff & Bily, Our Philadelphia-based lawyers have an impressive track record of success in pursuing monetary compensation for people harmed because of manufacturers’ negligence. While past results do not guarantee or suggest future success, it is illustrative of our ability to competently handle cases of this type. Throughout eastern Pennsylvania and nationwide, we are a trusted resource for representation in complex personal injury and wrongful death litigation. For a free evaluation of your potential case, please call (215) 274-0072.