Is a Tire Blowout an At-Fault Accident?
Tire blowout accidents are a significant cause of auto accident-related injuries and even deaths in the US. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, there are around 33,000 tire-related crashes and 2,000 tire blowout accidents annually.
Victims may wonder whether a tire blowout is an at-fault accident and what legal options are available. A tire blowout can often be an at-fault accident in Wisconsin. The state follows a traditional fault-based system where victims must prove fault on the other party to be able to recover compensation.
However, proving fault can be challenging because insurance companies will use all the tracks to evade liability. At Mingo & Yankala, S.C. Accident & Injury Lawyers, we help victims of auto accidents pursue their rightful compensation. Our auto accident lawyers can help you establish fault and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Tire Blowout Accident Causes
Usually, when proving liability, several causes of tire blowouts may be established. The primary factors contributing to tire blowouts include:
- Underinflated tires: Underinflated tires are likely to increase the risk of a tire blowout by 300%. When a tire lacks enough air pressure, it becomes more susceptible to overheating, possibly leading to a sudden blowout.
- Overinflated tires: Excessive air pressure can cause the tire to become rigid and less able to absorb shocks from the road. This increases the likelihood of a sudden blowout.
- Carrying excessive weight: Overloading exerts excessive pressure on tires. This high weight may generate more heat within the tire, accelerate wear, and increase the blowout risk.
- Old and worn-out tires: As tires age and wear down, their structural integrity diminishes. As the rubber becomes brittle, the tire is more prone to cracks and blow out.
Your lawyer will determine if any of these, or more factors, exist in your case. This will help determine fault, which is necessary for building a successful personal injury claim.
How Dangerous are Tire Blowouts?
In most cases, tire blowouts are exceptionally dangerous, especially if they occur at high speeds. A tire blowout can cause the vehicle to swerve or roll over, ejection of occupants, or cause a chain of accidents involving other vehicles. The resultant injuries may range from minor to severe to fatal.
Some injuries may include:
- Severe lacerations
- Spinal cord injuries
- Strains and sprains
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Loss of limb
- Soft tissue damage
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
What to Do on The Road if My Tires Blowout?
Mostly, tire blows happen suddenly, making it difficult for the driver to maintain control. Even a small miscalculated attempt to control the vehicle may further aggravate the situation.
However, knowing how to react can help mitigate the potential injuries. Here are important steps to take:
- Keep the steering wheel ready: When a tire blows out, resist the instinct to jerk the steering wheel or make sudden, sharp movements. Instead, keep a firm grip on the wheel and maintain a straight course to help your vehicle regain stability.
- Do not slam the brakes: Hard braking may exacerbate the situation by causing your vehicle to skid. Instead, gently apply the brakes, as this will help you maintain control and avoid further loss of traction.
- Slow down with the gearbox and natural deceleration: To safely slow down, downshift your vehicle using the gearbox while allowing natural deceleration. This reduces speed gradually and will help you maintain control.
- Turn on the emergency lights: As soon as it’s safe, activate your vehicle’s hazard lights to signal other drivers that you’re experiencing an issue. This will alert them to the potential hazard and prompt them to give you space.
- Change the wheel: Once you’ve safely slowed down and pulled over to a secure location, change the affected tire. Make sure you’re at a safe distance from traffic.
Safety should always be the top priority in such incidents, and these actions can reduce the risk of further accidents or injuries on the road.
Tips to Avoid Tire Blowouts
Although tire blowouts are catastrophic in nature, they are preventable. The following tips may greatly help avoid tire blowouts.
- Select the right tires: Right tires means considering factors such as the type of vehicle you drive, the typical weather conditions in your area, and your driving habits. Invest in high-quality tires that are suitable for your specific needs.
- Regularly check tread depth: Tire tread depth is crucial for maintaining traction and grip on the road. Regularly inspect the depth of the tire tread using a tread depth gauge or the “penny test.” If the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch or less, it is worn out and may lack grip.
- Maintain proper tire pressure: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA, we may prevent up to 79 deaths and 10,635 injuries if every vehicle would be able to monitor its own tire pressure. Properly inflated tires make them flexible, resilient, and less likely to blow out.
Who is At-fault for Tire Blowout Crashes?
As said earlier, tire blowouts may be caused by several factors. The factor responsible for the blowout plays a big role in determining fault. Once the liability is determined, the at-fault party’s insurance should cover the losses up to the policy limits.
However, In Wisconsin, the comparative negligence concept plays a significant role in determining liability in personal injury cases. This means it is possible to have more than one party at fault for your tire blowout accident.
Manufacturers can be liable for tire blowout crashes if the tire in question is defective or does not meet safety standards.
Liability can arise due to factors like:
- Defective design: If the tire’s design is inherently flawed and prone to failure, the manufacturer may be held accountable for injuries and damages resulting from a blowout.
- Manufacturing defects: Errors during the tire manufacturing process can weaken the tire’s structure. If your attorney determines these defects caused a blowout, the manufacturer may bear responsibility.
- Failure to warn: Manufacturers are also expected to provide clear warnings and instructions for proper tire use and maintenance. If they fail to do so, and this contributes to a tire blowout, they could be liable.
Tire dealers or auto shops can be held liable for tire blowout crashes if they are negligent. For instance, a lawyer will hold the retailer accountable for Knowingly selling tires that the manufacturer has recalled or if they sell tires that are visibly damaged or expired.
Installers, such as auto mechanics, need to ensure that tires are correctly fitted and maintained. Liability can arise If an installer fails to mount the tire or adequately secure it to the vehicle, leading to a blowout.
In addition, Installers may also be liable for lack of routine maintenance or inspections. For example, if it is determined that an installer failed to check tire pressure or failed to detect signs of tire damage, they can be at fault.
Determining who is at fault for a tire blowout accident requires a thorough investigation into the specific circumstances of the crash. This is particularly true when multiple parties share liability to different degrees (comparative negligence). That is why you need an auto accident attorney to help you with detailed investigations to determine fault accurately.
Injured In a Tire Blowout Accident? How to Sue for Tire Blowout Accidents
If you’ve been injured in a tire blowout accident due to someone’s fault, you could sue for compensation. It’s advisable to consult with a personal injury attorney who will guide you through the process.
Your attorney will help investigate and determine who may be at fault. If you have a viable case, your legal advocate will help you file a lawsuit against the at-fault party/parties. This legal action outlines your claims and the compensation you’re seeking.
In many cases, the parties involved will attempt to negotiate a settlement before going to trial. Your attorney will represent your interests during these negotiations and work to secure a fair settlement. However, your case may proceed to trial if a settlement is not reached. Your attorney will present your case in court, and a judge will determine liability and fair compensation.
If you win your case, you’ll be awarded a settlement for your injuries and damages. Recoverable damages may include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Wrongful death
- Loss of quality of life
Call Our Wisconsin Injury Lawyers for a Free Legal Consultation
Though you have the legal right to sue for compensation after suffering injuries related to a tire blowout, robust legal representation is necessary for an optimal case outcome. The other party’s insurance company may employ many tactics to dispute fault and minimize liability.
At our firm, we can help you build a strong case, investigate the accident, determine fault, and negotiate on your behalf. Our case results show our proven track record of success in winning high-figure settlements for our clients. If you are a victim of a tire blowout incident, a Wisconsin injury lawyer may help protect your rights and ensure you receive the compensation that reflects true injuries and losses. Contact us today to schedule a free legal consultation.