Most of us have either seen portions of tires discarded on the highway or interstate. You may have even watched footage on the news or social media showing a tire blowing out, a motorist losing control of their vehicle, and becoming entangled in a crash. Here at Stapp Law, LLC, we want you to know that tire situations like these are generally preventable. Below, we share what to know about tire blowouts so you can minimize the chances of having one that results in your or someone else’s injuries.
What Causes Tires To Blow Out?
There’s no single factor that leads to tire blowouts. Instead, there are a variety of concerns that can cause them to happen, including:
- Overfilling your tires with air
- Failing to replace old, worn tires
- Driving at a high speed
- Manufacturing defects
- Fluctuations in temperature
- Friction with poorly maintained or debris-strewn roadways
- Striking rigid or sharp objects (like curbs or railroad ties)
How Individuals Get Hurt by Tire Failure
There are a few ways in which someone may suffer injuries when tire blowouts occur.
One of the most notable ways is that a tire can blow out mid-transit. A situation like this can leave a motorist in one of the two following predicaments—either with a vehicle that is stuck in traffic or facing a complete loss of control of one’s car, a crash type that at its worst could result in a severe spinal cord injury or death.
However, tire blowouts can also cause the following incidents, which can result in a whole host of harm, such as what’s described above; eye, head, and ejection injuries; and much more:
- A pedestrian/bystander may be struck by shredded tires
- The loose tire parts may fly into the windshield of a car, affecting a motorist’s visibility and leaving them vulnerable to crashing
- Tires can knock bicyclists or motorcyclists off their bikes, putting them at risk of being struck or run over
Factors That Affect the Severity of Outcomes Following Tire Blowouts
The following factors and circumstances may leave motorists more vulnerable to experiencing tire failure, such as a blowout, and thus cause them to have a crash:
- Type of vehicle: Motorists who attempt to overload their pickup trucks or sports utility vehicles (SUVs) with cargo or passengers increase the pressure (and thus the risk of blowout) on their tires. This concern, along with both these vehicles’ low centers of gravity, puts them at an increased risk of experiencing a rollover crash.
- Weather or road conditions: Poorly maintained, potholed, wet, or slick roads leave motorists’ tires more vulnerable to failure compared to other environmental or superficial factors.
- Tire integrity issues: Tires repaired due to them having previous damage, underinflation, and low tread depth all increase a tire’s likelihood of experiencing a blowout under the right set of conditions.
- Speed: The speed at which a vehicle was traveling can cause a loss of control and is one of the many factors that cause rollovers. A motorist traveling relatively slowly may find that their vehicle doesn’t move or becomes sluggish as they attempt to accelerate. However, a motorist who experiences a tire blowout while traveling at a fast rate of speed may lose control over their vehicle, leading them to cross a center line or median into oncoming traffic or have a rollover accident.
The good news is that with proper vehicle maintenance and by exercising safe driving behaviors, you can reduce your chance of experiencing a tire blowout.
Ways To Minimize Tire Blowouts
There are steps motorists can take to reduce their chances of having a tire blowout, and it’s every driver’s duty to their fellow human to take these precautions to minimize the chances of causing someone else harm. Ways to minimize blowouts include:
- Ensuring tires are properly deflated or inflated in alignment with best practices for certain weather conditions (hot or cold)
- Regularly inspecting tires for potential defects and taking time to replace damaged tires early on
- Taking time to get one’s tires aligned and to have them rotated every so many miles to ensure a more uniform wear pattern
While these tactics can minimize the chances of a tire blowout occurring, they don’t completely eliminate the risk. However, one thing to know about tire issues is that they’re often always preventable.
Who Can You Hold Liable if a Tire Blowout Injures You
Pennsylvania is a choice no-fault auto insurance state. In a no-fault state, you’d typically have to file a claim with your insurance to recover compensation for property damage and accident-related expenses like medical costs and lost wages. This is the process you’d follow if your expenses fell under a certain threshold, being your policy limits. You’d generally only be able to file a claim with the party who caused your crash if your damages had already exhausted your policy limits.
However, since our state offers residents the choice of opting into the no-fault insurance program, you may be able to file a claim with the other party’s insurance outright if you subscribe to the at-fault insurance system.
Depending on the type of insurance coverage you have and the circumstances surrounding your tire blowout crash, you may be able to take legal action against one of the following:
- The tire manufacturer who produced a faulty product
- A mechanic who failed to make a repair they billed for or warn a customer of a vehicle’s lack of roadworthiness
- The motorists who failed to properly maintain their vehicle, or more specifically, their tire
- A parking lot owner, if a pothole causes damage to a tire
- The rail company that doesn’t maintain its tracks, resulting in a tire blowing out while a motorist traverses a crossing
- A state or federal government agency responsible for maintaining roadways that fails to do its job, resulting in a blowout
In short, virtually anyone involved in the design, manufacturing, advertising, or use of a tire can potentially be sued for damages stemming from a tire blowout. The same goes for those parties involved in transportation if their negligence caused a motorist’s tire to fail and thus harmed them.
Where To Get Help if a Tire Blowout Injured You
While data regarding tire blowouts is hard to come by, some sources suggest that potentially more than 30,000 tire issues result in car crashes every year, with at least 2,000 of them stemming from tire blowouts.
If any of the scenarios described above align with how your tire blowout incident occurred, reach out to our law firm, Stapp Law, LLC to discuss your case with a lawyer. A product liability attorney like ours has extensive experience working with motorists and companies as well as their insurers. And we don’t back down until we secure a settlement for our clients. So, contact our Williamsport firm for a free consultation to discuss your case and your rights today.