Each year, many motor vehicle accidents are caused by tire blowouts. Drivers, passengers and even pedestrians can be injured in these accidents, just as a tire blowout can cause property damage.
If you suffered property damage or injury because of a tire blowout accident, an experienced Phoenix auto accident lawyer can help you gain compensation for your damages.
Tire blowout accidents are often the responsibility of the driver whose vehicle suffered tire damage. Sometimes the liability falls on others’ shoulders, also.
When Tire Blowout Accidents Are the Driver’s Responsibility
Drivers are required to drive according to their state’s laws and the circumstances of the environment in which they are driving. Drivers have a duty to make reasonable decisions behind the wheel.
If a driver is following laws and their vehicle suffers a blowout unexpectedly due to unavoidable roadway debris, he or she will likely not be held liable for an accident that follows their blowout. This is because the cause of the accident was the unavoidable debris, not the driver’s behavior.
However, if a driver experiences a flat tire and uses poor decision to handle the flat, he or she will possibly be at least partially responsible for an accident that results from that reaction. For example, swerving and slamming on brakes when a flat occurs will likely result in an accident. To avoid causing an accident, the driver should react to a flat by slowing the vehicle’s speed, signaling and pulling off the roadway.
Beyond a driver’s duty to regulate how they manage their vehicle while behind the wheel, there are other duties of driving. These two duties can also affect liability in a car accident after a blowout.
Duty to Inspect the Vehicle
When providing a citizen with driving privileges, the state is also entrusting that citizen with the duty to keep their vehicle in safe operating condition.
It is not necessary for a driver to know how to fix their car like a mechanic would. A driver should inspect their car for obvious hazards before getting behind the wheel, however.
If tires are not well maintained and become thread-bare or have an obvious defect, repair of these issues is the responsibility of the driver. He or she should not operate the vehicle until the problem is fixed. If a blowout causes an accident and the investigation determines the blowout was the result of an over-worn tire, the driver cannot claim they were unaware of the tire’s problem. This is because every driver has a duty to know if their tires are safe for the road.
If your accident involves a blowout caused by a defect in a tire, the driver’s mechanic or automotive specialist could also be found liable for the accident. Such would be the case if the vehicle was inspected by a mechanic who neglected to alert the car’s owner to the defect. In this situation, it would be up to a jury to decide whether the mechanic or the driver should have discovered the problem and fixed it before operating the vehicle.
Duty to Not Drive with Defective Equipment
When a driver is aware that their tire has a dangerous defect, they are obligated by law to not drive that car until it has been repaired. This duty has the same effect on a driver as the duty to inspect. If a tire blowout causes an accident, a driver who had a defective tire and operated the car without fixing it will be found liable.
When Tire Blowouts are Not the Driver’s Fault
There are instances where the driver is not at fault for a tire blowout that causes an accident. As previously mentioned in the defect situation, if a mechanic fails to do his duty during work on the vehicle or an inspection, he may be liable for the tire blowout accident.
Along the same vein, an improperly installed tire or installation of an ill-fitting wheel resulting in a blowout accident can be determined the fault of the mechanic or tire installer.
Manufacturers and retailers can also be held liable for these types of accidents. If a tire is defective as a result manufacturing or design, the manufacturer may be held responsible. Likewise, if a retailer damages a tire on the showroom floor and sells it anyway, that retailer can be held accountable for a tire blowout accident.
An Experienced Attorney Helps Victims of Car Accidents Due to Tire Blowout
When a tire blowout causes a car accident, the case of liability and compensation for damages can become complicated. A highly skilled car accident attorney will help you prove your case through expert testimony about the tire’s condition, possible prevention of the accident, whether the blowout was caused by a defect and who was responsible for such a defect.
Thanks to our friends and co-contributors at CantorCrane for their added insight into tire blowout safety.