Tire Defect Injury Cases

Most responsible drivers keep their tires properly inflated and have them rotated and replaced on a regular basis. Unfortunately for California consumers and their families, this isn’t enough to prevent a serious accident caused by a tire manufacturing defect. Since 1966, more than 46 million tires have been subject to a product safety recall by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to correct serious tire safety defects.

If you were injured in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident that you believe was caused by a tire defect, you should understand your rights under California law. This post provides an overview of tire defect injury cases in California. First, we describe the different types of tire manufacturing defects, including tire tread separation and tire blowout. Then, we explain the basic legal theories of product liability cases in California. Finally, we explain what kinds of damages you can expect to receive in a successful tire defect lawsuit and how an experienced accident lawyer can help you succeed in your case.

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Common Types of Tire Defects

There are several types of tire failures that can lead to car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and truck accidents. It can take time for tire manufacturers to realize that there has been a problem with their design or production process. Sadly, many people may be hurt or killed in accidents caused by the following tire defects before the faulty tires are subject to a nationwide product safety recall. These are some of the most common types of tire manufacturing defects.

Tire Tread Separation

The term “tire tread” refers to the rubber on the outermost circumference of a tire that makes contact with the road. Tire tread separation – sometimes called “detreading” – is an extremely dangerous condition wherein the tire tread separates from the inner layers (or “body”) of a tire. Tire tread separation is very common in commercial big-rig trucks, but also occurs in passenger vehicles due to poor tire design. Tire tread separation is among the leading causes of tire tread recalls. When tire separation occurs, drivers often lose control of their vehicles, leading to serious or catastrophic accidents.

Tire Blowout

There are some road, driving, and temperature conditions that lead to tire blowouts, such as potholes, travel at high speeds, and extreme temperature fluctuations. Tire blowouts can also be caused by design and manufacturing defects. When a tire blowout occurs, a tire quickly falls apart or seemingly explodes, resulting in a rapid or immediate loss in tire pressure. Tire blowouts can happen in an instant and leave drivers with no time to react. Accidents caused by tire blowouts often result in serious injuries to drivers and their passengers, and can be fatal.

Tire Inflation Explosion

Tires can explode during the mounting and inflation process or on the road. Tire explosions can be caused by deficiencies in a tire’s steel bead wire, issues with the construction of the tire sidewall, or problems with the design of the rim on which the tire is mounted. When tires explode during the inflation process, the person inflating the tire can suffer devastating injuries. When tires explode on the road, drivers are often unable to regain control of their vehicles and wind up causing a serious accident through no fault of their own.

Products Liability Law in California

If you were injured in an accident that was caused by a tire defect, there are three different legal theories your lawyer might try to prove in a tire defect injury lawsuit.

Strict Products Liability in Tire Defect Cases

If a tire manufacturer places a defective tire on the market, and knows that it will be used by a consumer without inspection for defects, and that tire proves to have a defect that causes a consumer to be injured, the manufacturer will be legally responsible (or “strictly liable”) for the consumer’s injuries and other losses. A defect in a strict products liability action may be a design defect, a manufacturing defect, or a defect in the way a product was labeled or marketed. In a successful product liability case, a consumer can recover financial compensation for his or her injuries and other losses, such as lost wages and property damage.

Tire Manufacturer Negligence

A tire manufacturer is “negligent” when it fails to act with reasonable care in designing and manufacturing a tire. Under this type of claim, the focus will be on the conduct of the manufacturer in designing, manufacturing, and selling the product, rather than on any inherent manufacturing and design defects. A consumer who is injured as a result of a tire manufacturer’s negligence can recover damages in a lawsuit.

Breach of Tire Warranty

The law recognizes two different types of warranties. An “express” warranty is a written warranty that makes certain assurances about a product, typically for a period of time after the product is first purchased by a consumer. Many tires come with these types of warranties.

An “implied” warranty is a warranty that arises by operation of law, and all tires sold in California are subject to implied warranty. All tires sold in California must be of average, acceptable quality under a legal concept known as the “warranty of merchantability.” In addition, tires must be fit for the particular purpose for which they are sold (i.e., driving).

When tires fail to live up to an express or implied warranty, a consumer who is injured as a result may be able to recover damages for his or her injuries and other losses.

What Compensation is Available in a Tire Defect Lawsuit?

If you were seriously injured in a tire defect accident, you probably want to know what types of compensation may be available to you. If you succeed in a tire defect lawsuit, you may be able to recover financial compensation for the following types of legally recognized harms.

  • Medical Expenses. You may have a right to be compensated for any past or future medical expenses you need as a result of your tire defect accident.
  • Lost Wages. If you were unable to work as a result of a car accident, truck accident, or motorcycle accident that was caused by a tread separation, tire blowout, tire explosion, or other tire defect, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages or diminished capacity to work in the future.
  • Pain and Suffering. If you were forced to endure a long recovery process as a result of a faulty tire accident, your lawyer might make a demand for compensation for your physical pain and emotional suffering.
  • Property Damage. If your car, motorcycle, or truck was damaged in an accident due to a tire defect, the tire manufacturer or seller may be required to compensate you for the fair market value of your vehicle at the time of the accident. You may also be entitled to compensation for any other personal property that was damaged as a result of the accident.

How Can an Experienced Tire Defect Lawyer Help?

If you were hurt as a result of a tire defect in California, you should work with an aggressive firm that has a proven track record of securing high-dollar settlements and verdicts for its clients. It can be difficult to establish that a tire manufacturer should be responsible for your injuries, and tire companies are represented by some of the most powerful civil defense firms in the country. An experienced tire defect lawyer will gather evidence, work with expert witnesses, and aggressively pursue your legal rights.

Andy Gillin

Andy Gillin received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his law degree from the University of Chicago. He is the managing partner of GJEL Accident Attorneys and has written and lectured in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury law for numerous organizations. Andy is a highly recognized wrongful death lawyer in California.