Cars are dangerous. We know that. We are at risk from the mistakes of other drivers and, let’s be honest, our own mistakes on the road that injure and kill far too many of us.
But we expect our tires to be safe. Too often, they are not. We think our tires are a lot safer than they really are and this comes with a real cost. Tire defects cause scores of injuries and deaths in this country every year.
If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a car accident that you believe is from a defective tire, call us today, and let’s figure it out together – at no cost to you – whether you may have a claim. You can reach out to us at 800-553-8082. Many victims – perhaps most – prefer to begin the dialogue online. You can do that here.
Tire Tread Separation
Tire tread separation is the focus of most of the product liability lawsuits against the tire manufacturers. Tire tread separation is where the tread of the tire separates from the body of the tire. There are two common problems from this that lead to accidents: rollovers and blowouts.
A number of things can cause tire tread separation: over-inflation or under-inflation of the tire, too many turns at crazy speeds and hitting potholes with a vengeance, old tires, and so forth. If this is the problem, you should look for:
- Tread wear on the tire’s shoulder that is worse than the tread wear in its center;
- Marks on the tire’s rim flange;
- Signs of a “bead groove” (beads have pushed too hard against the bead seat on the inside of the tire’s rim); or
- Sidewalls of the tire with physical signs of deterioration, such as discoloration.
But one big cause of tire tread separation or tread-belt separation is tires that are either defectively designed or defectively manufactured.
What happens? There are some reoccurring themes in product liability lawsuits, and tire defect cases are no exception. What happens is that tire companies put profits ahead of people and they start cutting corners in building tires. This leads to poor bonding and/or adhesion of tire components when making the tires. Usually in foreign countries, these tires are made without proper care, and moisture and foreign materials get cured into the tire. Many times tire manufacturers attempt to cut costs and maximize money in their pockets at the expense of your safety by failing to take proper safety measures. In one case, tires were damages by leaks in the manufacturing plant. No one bothered to fix the leak because, well, that would cost money, and the tires had too much moisture to be safe on the road.
What You Need to Do in Tire Defect Cases
To bring a tire defect case, plaintiffs’ attorneys must present competent expert testimony that a tire which had suffered a tread separation or a tread-belt separation was defective in either its manufacture or design. A determination of whether the separation in a tire is from manufacturing, design defects, or abuse requires an experienced tire engineer expert.
This expert should, when possible, perform a visual and tactile inspection of the tire and sometimes even an x-ray examination of the tire. This is not a casual “looksie” at the tire. It is an exam that can take around 6 hours to complete, using specialized tools like fluorescent lights, microscopes, and other magnifying devices, measuring devices ( calipers and optical comparators), and other various tools to best understand what happened to that tire.
These are some of the tests that an expert might perform on the tire:
- Determine the size of the wheel weight impressions in the tire;
- X-ray the tire;
- Locate bead or compression grooves or bead bends;
- Determine the starting point of the separation;
- Determine whether there are any broken belt cables in the tire carcass;
- Determine whether there are broken ply cords;
- Find marks showing the growth of the separation;
- Determine if the innerliner of the tire was compromised;
- Determine the degree of ozone cracking in the tire;
- Test the valve stem of the tire
Tire Defect Settlement Amounts and Jury Payouts
- 2018, Virginia: $37.8 Million Verdict: While on a cement delivery in Chesterfield, Virginia, a driver faced a tragic accident when a tire from Hankook Tire Co. disintegrated, causing his truck to veer off the road, hit an embankment, and overturn, leaving him trapped inside. The driver, 50 at the time, suffered a broken neck, paralysis, rib and arm fractures, among other severe injuries, altering life significantly for him and his family. Lawyers from Coral Gables achieved a verdict of nearly $38 million against Hankook. During the trial, tire expert David Southwell pinpointed manufacturing defects in the nine-year-old tire. While the tire company’s defense focused on a potential earlier impact, the plaintiff’s lawyers effectively refuted their claims.
Contact Our Law Firm If You Believe You Have Tire Defect Claim
If you or someone you love has suffered a catastrophic injury or death as the result of a defective tire, call us at 800-553-8082. Many of our clients today prefer to ask their questions about their case or about us online. If so, you can click here for a free consultation.