Truck tire blowout accidents can be catastrophic. Unfortunately, alongside driver fatigue and distracted driving, tire blowout accidents are one of the leading causes of trucking accidents, accounting for 35% of all trucking accidents that are a direct result of vehicle malfunctions. If a truck tire gives out on a busy highway, the incident can result in a multi-vehicle accident, substantial injuries and possibly death. In almost all cases, tire blowout accidents are preventable. If you or a loved one was involved in a trucking accident that was the result of a tire blowout, you may not take much solace in this fact, especially if you now live with severe and lifelong injuries. However, you may take comfort in the fact that the law entitles you to seek compensation from the at-fault party or parties. While you have a legal right to file a claim for compensation, know that your path to monetary recovery may not be easy. Tire blowout accidents are often complex, as they often involve several contributing factors. An experienced trucking accident attorney can help you identify all possible contributing factors and at-fault parties, gather evidence, build a case and aggressively pursue the maximum amount of compensation on your behalf.
Causes of Truck Tire Blowouts
Most tire blowouts are preventable incidences. This is evident in the six primary causes of these events.
Truck Driver Negligence
Truck drivers have a legal obligation to maintain their rigs so that they are safe for normal operation. Part of truck maintenance includes inspecting tires regularly for worn treads, checking tire air pressure and rotating tires in accordance with the tire maintenance schedule. If a driver fails to maintain his or her tires, a blowout can occur.
Insufficient Vehicle Inspections
Truck drivers are not the only people responsible for inspecting and maintaining their rigs. The companies for which they drive have a duty to maintain safe and operable fleets. Part of that duty entails ordering routine inspections for each vehicle. If a trucking company does not maintain a strict or consistent maintenance schedule, the risk of a tire blowout increases.
Improperly Installed Tires
How a maintenance team installs tires plays a role in how well they perform. If a mechanic does not properly install a truck’s tires, a blowout is much more likely to occur.
Under of Over-Inflated Tires
Under- and over-inflated tires create considerable safety risks for both the trucker and other vehicles on the road. Under-inflated tires become increasingly flat as they roll, resulting in premature wear on the shoulders of the tire. Over-inflated tires, on the other hand, become stiff and rigid and reduce the amount of contact that the tire makes with the surface of the road. This also leads to uneven wear, except most of the wear occurs in the center of the tire. Tires with significant wear become vulnerable to anything but near-perfect road conditions and can pop at the slightest provocation, such as potholes or debris in the road.
Overloading a truck trailer can put significantly more weight on the trailer’s tires than they can bear. If the weight becomes overwhelming, and if a truck travels hundreds to thousands of miles regardless, the tires may give under the pressure and, in the process, cause a catastrophic accident.
Truck drivers must constantly replace tires because of the significant number of miles they put on them each day. If a trucker swaps out a bad tire with a spare and then drives beyond the spare tire’s recommended mileage limit, the tire may rot and burst apart during use.
Factors That Increase the Risk of Tire Blowout
Though the aforementioned factors are the leading primary causes of tire blowouts on trucks, other factors can increase the risk that a tire will implode. Those are as follows:
- Driving on tires that the manufacturer recalled
- Hot weather, which contributes to overinflation
- Driving on mismatched tires
- Excessive braking
- Inclement weather conditions
Determining Fault in a Truck Tire Blowout Accident
In most truck tire blowout cases, the truck driver will assume some level of responsibility. However, it is unlikely that insurers or the courts will find the driver solely responsible. A lot goes into maintaining commercial semi-trucks, and several parties play a role in their care or safety. As a result, you may hold several parties accountable for your injuries.
The most obvious at-fault party in a truck tire blowout case is the driver him or herself. Drivers have a legal obligation to maintain their vehicles while on the road. Part of their maintenance tasks should include inspecting their tires for worn treads and maintaining adequate tire pressure. If a trucker fails to do either of these simple yet crucial tasks, and if a blowout results, you may be able to sue the driver for negligence.
The Trucking Company
Trucking companies are almost always liable for the actions, or inactions, of their drivers. This is due to the concept of “vicarious liability.” If a trucker fails to maintain his or her truck and an accident ensues because of said failure, you may file a claim against the trucking company as well. Not only can a trucking company assume liability for a trucker’s negligence but also, it can assume liability for its own negligence. Trucking companies must maintain their fleets and ensure each truck meets all the relevant safety standards. Company maintenance tasks include performing thorough maintenance checks on entire trucks and taking care of all necessary repairs before sending a truck back out on the road. If records indicate that a trucking company skipped a maintenance check or neglected to change a faulty tire, the courts may hold it accountable for any injuries that the failed tire caused.
In rare cases, a tire blowout is the result of nothing more than a defective tire. If this is the case, both you and the trucker may hold the tire manufacturer liable for your damages.
Truck Maintenance Company
More trucking companies outsource the maintenance of their fleets to third-party garages. If the courts discover that the owner or employees of the garage sold the trucking company faulty tires or parts, or if evidence shows that the maintenance team cut corners during wheel assembly, the maintenance company may assume some or all liability for your injuries.
Common Injuries in Tire Blowout Accidents
Tire blowouts — especially when they involve big rigs — can result in catastrophic, if not fatal, injuries. Though there is no way to predict the type and extent of injuries a victim will sustain, some common types of tire blowout accident injuries are as follows:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Bruises, cuts and lacerations
- Broken bones and fractures
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
For many victims, physical injuries are just the tip of the iceberg. Many accident victims accrue extensive and ongoing medical expenses, are unable to work and go on to live a reduced quality of life.
Seek Help From a Truck Tire Blowout Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one was involved in a truck accident that was the result of a tire blowout, the law entitles you to seek compensation from the at-fault parties. However, despite this right, know that the path to recovery is likely to be lengthy and complex. For help navigating the process, building your case and securing the maximum recovery, entrust your case to Jason Stone Injury Lawyers. When you schedule your initial consultation, know, there is no obligation, just information.
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