When you’re driving on the highway at a high speed, your car is only as safe as its weakest tire. Thousands of accidents caused by defective tires cause innumerable injuries and take hundreds of lives. Year after year, tires must be recalled by their manufacturers for defects that become apparent after they’ve caused serious accidents. Since the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act was passed in the 1960s, more than 24 million tires have been recalled due to safety defects.
Tire manufacturers have a duty to the consumer to avoid allowing any unsafe products to reach the market where they can put the public at risk. When they fail in this duty and people are injured, the victims have the right to pursue a claim for compensation for the damages they’ve suffered.
Tire manufacturers are required to put a code on the sidewall all tires. This code shows the age of the tire. Most consumers do not know how to read this confusing code, and the tire companies don’t tell you when your tires have “expired” and should be exchanged for newer tires. Here’s a breakdown of the Tire Identification Code:
Types of Tire Defects
A number of things can go wrong with the manufacture, storage, and installation of tires that can end up causing accidents:
Many tires are recalled because of tread separation problems. This was the reason for the massive recall of Bridgestone/Firestone tires in the beginning of this century, in 2000 and 2001. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that at least 271 people lost their lives and 800 were injured as a result of treads peeling from the tires because of a defect in manufacturing.
Tread separations are a common problem with steel-belted radial tires because of the difficulty bonding the tire’s steel belt to the rubber, causing the tire to fall apart, especially at higher speeds and when the weather is hot. This causes the driver to lose control of the vehicle, with potential injuries and death to the driver and passengers and to others on the road. In addition, if a motorcycle hits a detached tread on the highway, another type of potentially serious accident can result.
Defect in tire design or production can cause tires to blow out without warning when the tire falls apart suddenly and quickly loses air pressure. The driver loses control, causing a crash that is not his or her fault. Exploding tires can also cause blast injuries.
Michelin reports that approximately 23,000 collisions cause an average of 535 deaths every year because of tire blowouts. These are often caused by tires that are the wrong size for the rims. A shop that sells a car owner the wrong tires for the vehicle can be held liable for injuries and fatalities that result. Blowouts can also be caused by a defect in the sidewall.
Rubber, as it ages, can become dry and brittle and subject to forming cracks. If you were sold tires that had been stored improperly or were simply too old for safety, this may have been the cause of your accident. If you were injured in an accident because you were sold tires that were too old, the shop that sold them to you may be held liable.
Free Tire Defect Case Analysis
The dedicated attorneys of the personal injury group of the MichieHamlett law firm have a long history of recovering damages for clients who were injured or who lost a loved one in an accident caused by defective tires. We have the experience that can bring you a full and fair recovery for all of your economic and non-economic damages, including high cost catastrophic injuries, such as those that damage the brain or spinal cord.
Call the personal injury group of MichieHamlett today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced tire defect attorneys. We are committed to justice for every client, and will give you honest answers about your legal options. It is important to act now, because you have a limited time to file a claim under Virginia law.