Take a minute and think about the last time you thought about your car’s tires. When was the last time you inspected them? When did you check the air pressure? And when was the last time you replaced your tires? When we think about our vehicles, we think about the engine, the headlights, and even the windshield wipers. But for some reason, unless the service light pops up indicating low pressure, many drivers don’t give a second thought to their tires.
When drivers fail to maintain their tires, it can lead to a blowout. A blowout is one of the scariest events that can happen to a driver. A tire blowout is generally caused by a sudden loss of pressure. When this happens, the driver can lose control of the vehicle and cause an accident. If you were injured as the result of a tire blowout, an experienced car accident attorney can help you with your recovery. And it happens—according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 738 people died in one recent year as a result of tire-related accidents.
Causes of Tire Blowouts
Tire blowouts don’t just happen. There is usually a root cause that led to the incident. In many cases, this root cause is the result of someone’s negligence. Common causes of tire blowouts include:
- Improper tire pressure: Each tire has a specific inflation recommendation. Information regarding proper pressure imprinted on your vehicle’s tires and in your owner’s manual. Both overfilled and underfilled tires can cause a blowout. Allstate recommends drivers check their tire pressure once a month. Many people don’t realize that tire pressure naturally decreases when it’s cold and increases when it’s hot, so you may need to adjust the pressure during the summer and winter months.
- Debris in the roadway or poorly maintained roads: A blowout can occur when there is damage to the tire. This may happen when a vehicle runs over a sharp object or collides with a large object. Potholes are a common culprit of tire damage as well.
- Air leak: Air leaks can cause a gradual, but noticeable change in pressure. Leaks can occur when the tire becomes punctured or when there is a problem with the tire valve.
- Heavy loads: Cars and trucks are designed with maximum hauling loads. When a driver exceeds these recommendations, it puts a strain on the entire vehicle, including the tires.
- Poorly maintained tires: Tires require regular maintenance and replacement. Unfortunately, many drivers do not have their tires serviced or replaced until there is a problem. Tire manufacturer Michelin recommends checking your tires a minimum of every five years. Drivers should go no longer than 10 years without replacing their tires. If your tires show signs of wear, damage, or diminished tread, they may need to be replaced sooner. Drivers should rotate their tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.
Who’s at Fault?
For most car accidents, the question of fault is pretty straight forward: Whose actions were the primary cause of the accident? But, is the same true for tire blowouts? After all, could the driver have really anticipated the accident? The short answer is usually yes. Drivers are responsible for properly maintaining their vehicles. But in addition to the driver (or sometimes instead of the driver), there may be other parties at fault. Liable parties may include:
- The driver: In most cases, you can trace a tire blowout back to bad tires. The NHTSA reports that only 19 percent of drivers properly inflate their tires. When drivers neglect their tires and fail to complete regular vehicle maintenance, they hold responsibility for any accident caused.
- The tire manufacturer: In 2019, Cooper Tire and Rubber recalled over 4,000 tires because of potential sidewall failure. Three months earlier they recalled more than 24,000 tires. Tire recalls happen more often than drivers think. Many times drivers continue to drive on tires that were recalled. But just because a manufacturer has issued a recall, that does not automatically diminish their liability in an injury claim.
- State or local municipalities: Poorly maintained roads can damage tires. State and local municipalities not only have a duty to maintain the roads but to warn drivers of potential dangers. If an entity responsible for maintaining a roadway knows about its poor condition and fails to fix the problem, they may hold liability.
Damages After a Tire Blowout Accident
Accidents involving tire blowouts can be scary. One minute you are driving along, the next minute the driver in front of you loses control of their vehicle and scraps of rubber go flying everywhere. If you are injured in an accident, a personal injury attorney can help you recover damages related to the accident. Common claims include:
- Medical costs: Medical bills are expensive. After an accident, they can quickly add up. A personal injury claim can help you recover costs associated with doctor visits, medical transportation, medications, hospital stays, surgeries, and rehabilitation.
- Lost wages: Injuries can lead to lost time and work, and consequently lost wages. After an accident, you may be able to recover wages from the date of your accident to the date you can return to work. If the accident resulted in severe or permanent injuries, you may be eligible for future wages as well.
- Pain and suffering: Accidents can cause severe physical and mental distress. Often, this pain lingers long after the accident has passed. An accident injury claim can compensate you for the pain and trauma of the accident.
You’re Not Alone
Accidents can frighten anyone. If you were injured, you may not know what comes next.
You’re not alone. This is the time to rely on help from those around you. If you are struggling to cover the costs associated with an accident, a car accident claim can help you get back on your feet. If you have questions after a recent motor vehicle accident, contact an experienced San Antonio car accident attorney for more information.