A tire blowout accident occurs due to a tire erupting suddenly, losing most of its air which then causes the vehicle to lose control and crash. The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) reports that such incidents cause more than 700 fatalities each year, and typically occur while the vehicles are operating at a high speed.
Why do Tire Blowouts Occur?
There are various factors that can lead to a blown tire, and while some are the fault of the driver, others are not. Such causes include:
- Production defects: If a tire is found to be defective, the manufacturer is supposed to recall it, but this doesn’t always happen. If it can be proven the blown tire resulted from a manufacturing defect, the company that produced it will be held liable.
- Overloading the vehicle: Every vehicle has a maximum load capacity, and if you exceed it by putting too much stuff in the trunk or body, and this places excess pressure on your tires which causes a blowout and accident, you will be held liable.
- Pothole: When an automobile strikes a pothole, its tires will often sustain the full force of an impact. Potholes might sometimes contain sharp edges that can puncture the tire, resulting in a rapid pressure change that causes the tire to fail.
- Over or underinflated tires: Every tire must be inflated to the exact specifications of the manufacturer. If they are underinflated, the tire will wear thin along its side until finally, the wear goes straight through. If the tires are overinflated, a rupture can ensue. Tire pressure should be assessed during routine inspections, particularly if outer air temperatures have changed dramatically or the vehicle was involved in a collision.
Injuries That Can Result from Tire Blowout
While tire blowouts are quite rare compared to standard road accidents, they are just as deadly, perhaps more so. This is because these incidents tend to occur while the vehicle is moving at a higher speed and the loss of control and subsequent impact can lead to catastrophic injuries such as:
- Organ loss or internal bleeding
- Bone fractures
- Damage to the spinal cord
- Traumatic brain injury
- Neuromuscular problems
- Disfigurement or scars
Aside from the physical damages, there are also indirect effects such as loss of income, rehabilitation or medical costs and possible disability, which may be temporary or permanent.
Who will Be Held Liable?
The answer to this question will depend on the nature of the accident. As long as you didn’t overload the vehicle, checked and rotated your tires regularly, and didn’t over or under inflate it, then you should receive coverage from your insurance company, and if it can be demonstrated that the accident resulted from a production defect, you can hire an attorney to sue the manufacturer. Additionally, if the accident resulted from a pothole that was situated on private property, you can take the owner of the property to court, but if it occurred on a public street you might be able to sue the city where the accident occurred.