Commercial trucks already present an element of danger on the road because of their size and weight while traveling at high speeds on highways and interstates. When a truck tire blows, the resulting accident can be devastating to the surrounding vehicles. If you suffered an injury or lost a loved one in a truck tire blowout accident, you may have the opportunity to receive compensation for your losses once you know who is responsible.
How Do Truck Tire Blowout Accidents Happen?
Truck tires endure a tremendous amount of pressure. The average commercial truck weighs between 10,000 and 35,000 without a cargo load. Considering the weight bearing down on the tires and the hundreds of miles they spend on the road every day, it is easy to imagine how one could blow if mistakes are made. Unfortunately, most truck tire blowouts are the result of human error. Some common causes include:
- Hazards on the road. Every state has a Department of Transportation in charge of maintaining road conditions and removing debris. States with more inclement weather suffer even more pavement damage than others, and potholes and other hazards can wreak havoc on tires.
- Over or underinflated tires. When tires are overinflated, they may bust under the pressure of heat and friction. Underinflated tires are even more dangerous. The vehicle’s weight stretches the sides beyond their capacity, and the heat can cause cracking.
- Regular wear. Like the tires on any vehicle, commercial truck tires must be changed as they start to wear down. As tires begin to bald, they handle pressure and heat more precariously. For example, a well-worn tire cannot take potholes as well as new tread.
- Exceeding the truck cargo weight limit. The law mandates truck cargo weight limits for a reason. The heavier the load is, the more pressure it puts on a tire. When properly inflated, every tire has a maximum cargo weight that it can maintain. When the load exceeds the weight limit, tires will stretch beyond capacity until they blow.
Sometimes other factors or a combination of many factors may contribute to a blowout. Commercial trucks are more strictly regulated by federal and state law primarily because of the danger that they present when not adequately maintained.
Potential Responsible Parties in a Truck Tire Blowout Accident?
Since human error causes most truck tire blowouts, the accidents caused by the blowouts are at-fault accidents, and you can file a lawsuit against the party or parties at fault. However, you need to know who you should sue, and sometimes you may file multiple lawsuits against different parties. Under certain circumstances, you may have evidence for a product liability case against the tire manufacturer. The circumstances for each potentially liable party are:
- The Truck Driver. Not all truck drivers work directly for a company. Some are independent contractors that own the truck and contract with a company. In that case, the driver is responsible for regular maintenance and repair of the truck.
- The Trucking Company. Every company that operates using commercial trucks is responsible for performing regular maintenance and inspections on those trucks. During inspections, the company should check the tire pressure and tire condition, and every inspection should have a documented checklist for later reference. If the company is negligent during inspections, that checklist may be evidence for your case.
- The Maintenance Company. Many trucking companies hire third-party maintenance companies to handle inspections and maintenance rather than take care of it in-house. Unfortunately, sometimes companies use poorly trained technicians that miss essential elements in the inspection process. If the blowout resulted from mistakes made during maintenance, the third-party company could be responsible for the accident and your subsequent losses.
- The Tire Manufacturer. When a tire blows because of a defect, the tire manufacturer may be at fault. Sometimes the manufacturer created a faulty design or used defective materials that made the tire susceptible to blowouts. If the company did not issue a recall on the faulty tires, you could sue the manufacturer.
Sometimes liability for a tire defect may fall on the driver or the trucking company rather than the tire manufacturer. For example, if the manufacturer discovered the flaw and issued a recall for the tire, but the independent driver or trucking company failed to fix it, the fault falls one of the latter two rather than the manufacturer.
What Are the Types of Potential Lawsuits?
If you experienced losses from a truck tire blowout accident, you could receive compensation, and the type of lawsuit through which you file your claim may be different based on who is responsible for the blowout. There are two common types of cases resulting from truck tire blowout accidents: product liability and wrongful death.
If the tire manufacturer is responsible for your accident, the lawsuit you file will probably fall under the fault concept of product liability. There are two categories of claims under product liability that are most relevant in a tire blowout accident:
- Defective manufacturing implies that the design of the tire was not the problem. Instead, an issue arose during the manufacturing process that rendered the product defective.
- Defective design means that the manufacturing process was adequately executed, but the design rendered the product defective.
To win a product liability case, you must prove that the product was defective and that it caused your accident and the resulting damages.
Wrongful Death Case
If you lost a loved one in a truck tire blowout accident, your claim should fall under wrongful death. As the family of the deceased person, you can claim damages in the form of:
- Lost wages, if the deceased person contributed to your household income
- Lost companionship
- Funeral expenses
- Cost of medical bills, if the deceased underwent treatment before passing
Those eligible to sue for wrongful death include spouses, immediate family members, life partners, dependents of the deceased, distant family, and anyone who suffers financially from the loss. In some states, you can file a wrongful death suit for an unborn fetus if the deceased person was pregnant when they passed.
Should You Hire an Attorney?
The aftermath of a truck tire blowout accident is often stressful, overwhelming, and emotionally charged. Filing a lawsuit may add to that stress, but an attorney can help. Some advantages of hiring legal representation include:
- They offer a professional and objective perspective.
- They handle the paperwork and all necessary filing for you.
- They understand the legal process and can advise you of your rights.
- They know how to value your claim adequately.
- They will investigate your accident to search for any evidence you may have missed.
- They often provide support and understanding during difficult times.
- They have the negotiation skills to argue for a settlement and help you avoid taking your lawsuit to court if possible.
- They will start preparing your case for court from the beginning.
The financial burden placed on the victims of personal injury is often immense. To alleviate that burden, Jason Stone Injury Lawyers require no upfront fee to get started on your case. We are here to help you recover and get your life back. The first element of the Stone Cold Guarantee ensures we get paid only after you get paid. There’s No Obligation, Just Information. Contact Jason Stone Injury Lawyers today for a free case evaluation.