Tire blowouts are sometimes unpredictable. However, the precautions required of truck drivers and their employers should prevent blowouts on commercial trucks. When a blowout happens, you can often attribute it to human error, which translates to negligence in a personal injury case. Suppose you experienced physical and financial losses due to a truck accident caused by a tire blowout. In that case, you may have the chance to hold the at-fault party accountable and recover compensation.
Determining Who Is Liable for a Truck Tire Blowout Accident
Truck tires are subject to several inspections. When a tire blows because it was old, worn, bald, underinflated, overinflated, incorrectly sized, or defective, the at-fault party could include any or all of the following:
- The truck driver is responsible for regular, mandated inspections throughout hours of service. They often check tire pressure and measure the tread during gas stops or breaks. Most employers require drivers to log inspections for accountability. Independent drivers handle their trucks’ inspection, maintenance, and repair because they are the sole owners.
- The trucking company is responsible for inspections, maintenance, and repair of all trucks in their fleet. They should also have a strict vetting process, including a thorough background check, for hiring new drivers. Hiring drivers with former violations on record is a liability for the company. Likewise, skipping inspections or trying to get the most out of overworn tires could lead to blowouts for which the company would be at fault.
- A third-party maintenance company sometimes performs inspections, routine maintenance, and commissioned repairs on trucks for the trucking company. They are usually contracted by the company for this task and accept liability for mistakes that may lead to accidents.
- The tire manufacturer could be culpable for a tire blowout if the cause were a defect in the tire. Defects can happen in either the design phase or manufacturing phase.
- The cargo loader could be the driver, the trucking company, a third-party person, or a third-party company. Every truck bed or trailer has weight and size restrictions that keep the truck from driving in dangerous conditions. If the cargo loader overloads the truck, the extra weight puts added pressure on the tire, exceeding its limitations. When operated at high speed for an extended period, the likelihood of a blowout will increase.
Sometimes you may have to file a lawsuit against multiple defendants because truck accidents can have more than one responsible party. You may even have to file different lawsuits depending on the at-fault parties.
Types of Resulting Lawsuits
Several factors dictate the type of lawsuit you should file:
- A truck accident case generally entails seeking compensation for damages from the truck driver, trucking company, maintenance company, or cargo loader if the blowout causes an accident that directly results in injuries.
- A product liability case in this situation seeks compensation from the manufacturer for a defective product. Proving fault in a product liability case is often challenging because you have to prove that the blowout caused your accident and that the defect caused the blowout. Additionally, you need to pinpoint where the defect occurred during the design or manufacturing phase.
- A wrongful death case seeks compensation on behalf of a loved one killed in the accident. The damages are somewhat different in this case, and the plaintiff can be any relative or dependant of the deceased person.
If your claim states that a defect caused the blowout and injuries, the manufacturer may not be at fault under certain circumstances. For example, if the manufacturer discovered the defect and issued a recall, the person that bought the tire is responsible for responding to the recall and getting a replacement tire. A truck accident attorney can help you better understand the process, including who is at fault and what type of lawsuit applies to your case.
Most Common Reasons for Truck Tire Blowouts
The four most common reasons for truck tire blowouts are:
- Poor condition of the tire. This occurs when the tire is not replaced soon enough, and the tread is worn too far down.
- Underinflation of the tire. An underinflated tire operating under the weight of the truck bed will likely cause a blowout because the weight expands the tire beyond its limitations.
- Hot weather conditions. This is one of the few reasons a tire could blow out that does not solely involve human error. High temperatures turn roadways into makeshift frying pains, wreaking havoc on tires. In addition, if the tires are balding or underinflated, they are much more likely to blow.
- Poor road conditions. Damaged pavement and potholes are dangerous to drivers for many reasons, but hitting either at high speed could cause an immediate blowout. This is especially true if the tire is nearly the end of its lifespan.
Independent drivers, trucking companies, and third-party mechanics or maintenance companies could likely avoid all of these reasons with proper inspections and mindful maintenance. For example, trucks operating in hot climates should have mandatory tire replacements at the start of the warmest part of the year.
Losses You Could Claim Following a Truck Tire Blowout Accident
If you suffered an injury in a truck tire blowout accident, you could claim losses covered under the two categories of compensatory damages:
- Specific, or economic, damages include losses with pre-existing monetary value. Examples are past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages, the loss of earning capacity, the costs associated with damaged property, and household expenses related to injury accommodations.
- General, or non-economic, damages do not have a set monetary value. These include pain and suffering, anguish and distress, loss of enjoyment for life, loss of consortium, disfigurement, and permanent or temporary disability.
In a wrongful death case, you may also claim funeral expenses and loss of companionship. In addition, dependants could claim monetary losses if the deceased person provided necessary household income. Since general damages have no absolute monetary value, you must quantify them for your claim. An experienced attorney understands this process. They will often use experts in the relative fields, testimonies from family and friends, and case precedent to assign that value.
Role of Truck Accident Attorney in Your Lawsuit
A truck accident attorney takes care of the tedious work involved in a personal injury lawsuit. For example:
- They file all the required paperwork for civil court.
- They investigate your case to find evidence that supports your claim.
- They prepare for trial but exhaust all options to negotiate a fair settlement before taking your case to court.
- They represent you in discussions with insurance companies, which tend to go to great lengths to avoid validating a claim.
- They access appropriate experts to support your claim.
- They help you understand the value of your claim and the damages you should seek.
- They provide objective representation during a highly emotional time.
Truck accidents result in serious injuries more than any other type of traffic accident. As you try to process what happened to you, the burden of physical and financial damages makes it difficult to focus on healing. To help alleviate the financial burden and offer you support during a difficult time, Jason Stone Injury Lawyers requires no upfront fee to get started on your case. The first element of the Stone Cold Guarantee ensures that we get paid only after you get paid. Contact us today for your free case evaluation. There’s No Obligation, Just Information.