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Auto Defects Car Accidents Defective Products

When the Life-Saving Safety Device Hits the Road: A Quick Look at Tire Defects

We see defective tires in auto accidents every day, regardless of location. The tire is the one auto product that is constant contact with the road; consumers need to be aware of how to keep your contact with the road safe, but also how manufacturers can be at fault for making a defective tire.

For attorneys, every vehicle accident resulting in catastrophic injury or death should be screened for tire defects as a potential cause of the accident or source of recovery. These defects may not always be apparent.

One example of this is, in a case our firm settled recently, a post-collision inspection of the subject tire revealed sufficient tread to operate on the roadway; yet upon closer examination, a critical design and manufacturing defect caused it to fail before the tire wore out: the inner liner was woefully inadequate.

Warning Signs

1.     Cracks or cuts in the sidewall

2.     Uneven tread.

3.     Excessively warn tires

4.     Bulges or blisters on the sidewall

5.     Excessive vibration

Causes of Tire Failure

When evaluating an auto accident case for tire defects there are a few factors to consider:

1.     Age of the tire: older tires deteriorate with age and have a much higher risk of failure than newer tires with similar wear and tread depth.

2.     Design/ Manufacturing defects: Poor design and construction of critical components, such as the inner liner of the tire, can allow air flow to permeate the internal tire structure and cause oxidation of the rubber components. This makes them brittle and susceptible to tread separation. In addition, poor manufacturing and placement of the belt plies can lead to premature failure.

Recent Resolution in Tire Cases

In a recent case of ours, our client, an experienced truck driver, was driving a 1995 Ford LT 900 Diesel concrete mixer. As he crossed a bridge over an area lake, the truck’s right front tire suffered a tread separation. The retread caused the truck to impact the bridge wall, break through a guardrail and roll over down an embankment. Our client was thrown from the vehicle and suffered fatal injuries.

The poor design and construction of the inner liner led to oxidation across the belt plies, ultimately resulting in the tread separation that caused our client’s truck to overturn. Further, the manufacturer designed and constructed the subject tire with an inner liner like that found in some passenger tires, despite knowing it would be subjected to carrying much greater loads. Langdon & Emison was pleased to reach a confidential settlement with the tire manufacturer on behalf of the victim’s three young daughters.

If you’re an attorney with a case that might possibly been the result of a defective tire, we are always happy to look at the potential case with you. This can range from co-counsel arrangements to merely sharing ideas about what might have gone wrong and led to the accident.