The auto accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm represent victims of vehicle crashes of all types. Amid the recent news involving massive vehicle recalls, not enough attention is paid to tire safety. Tires are among the most important aspects of a vehicles safety; if any type of defect or failure occurs, it could result in disastrous consequences for everyone on the road.
Most new tires last between 60,000 and 80,000 miles, or about six years. As a tire ages, the rubber deteriorates, the treads wear, and adhesions begin to break down. Defective tires are also an insidious problem, which is only amplified by our poor tire recall system. Because the recall system is so inadequate, vehicle service centers sell and install recalled tires on vehicles far too often.
A defective tire can cause a blowout at any time, yet consumers are rarely notified of recalls. Even if they were notified, there are thousands of brands and models of tires that are not easily identified. This, combined with the sub-par tracking system and lack of incentive to even announce recalls, makes defective tires a widespread threat.
Auto Maker Liability
If a manufacturer is aware that a certain type of tire is defective or unreasonably dangerous, it has a responsibility to alert consumers and fix the problem. Anyone injured in the crash caused by auto part defects may be able to gain compensation from the negligent manufacturer. Our team of investigators will visit the scene of the accident to examine the vehicles and determine if any defects contributed to the accident. This helps prove the manufacturer knew about the defect and was responsible for the crash.
One recent lawsuit was filed by the family of a young woman killed in a car accident in Arizona. The family filed dozens of claims against Goodyear, alleging a particular type of rubber thread used on their daughter’s tires peeled away from the steel belts beneath, causing tread separation. The tires are Goodyear Load Ranger “E” made between 1991 and 2000. At least 15,000 tread separation claims have been reported to Goodyear for the Load Range “E” tires, and at least 23 people have died in accidents involving these tires, yet Goodyear refuses to issue a recall.
Service Center Liability
Tire wear can be caused by several factors other than age or defective manufacturing, it can also be caused by exposure to contaminants, extreme heat or cold, and under-inflation. Service centers are not always diligent when installing spare tires, and manufacturers often fail to notify service centers about expiration dates. Tires over six years old are dangerous even if they have been in storage for the entire six years and even if they look to be in good condition. The process of oxidation occurs regardless of how the tire is used.
In other words, old tires are defective even if they look new. In one recent lawsuit, a woman was left paralyzed after a service center employee installed a 10-year-old tire. The spare tire had been in storage and appeared to be new. After the car had been serviced, the owner was driving with a passenger and the tire failed, the driver lost control of the vehicle, and the front seat passenger was left paralyzed from the resulting crash.
Far too many drivers never think about their tires until the light pops on in their dashboard, yet everywhere we go we depend on our tires. Americans drive a total of three trillion miles every year, but tire safety is rarely spoken about. When an accident occurs, we understand that you are not automatically thinking about whether or not the tires played a role. But it is extremely important to preserve the tires and the vehicle after an accident.
Victims injured in auto accidents should keep in mind that they may need to file a legal claim to gain compensation for their medical bills, lost wages or pain and suffering. One of the most critical aspects of proving an injury claim is showing that a tire or auto part was in fact defective and contributed to the crash. This can only be done if the tires and vehicle has been preserved.
If you have already had the car towed, but suspect the crash was caused by tire failure, contact our firm immediately. We will investigate your case and contact the necessary authorities to ensure your vehicle is preserved and analyzed.
Our team of auto accident attorneys is currently accepting tire defect claims. We provide free case reviews to injured victims and their families nationwide.