Few consumer product failures cause as much damage as a tire defect
When a car, truck or SUV is traveling at or near highway speed, a faulty tire can lead to a blowout, a loss of vital tread, tire separation, a loss of traction on slick roads or a deadly SUV rollover accident. A car wreck caused by a tire defect can be catastrophic, leading to serious and often fatal injuries.
When an accident is caused by a tire defect, the car company, retail seller or tire manufacturer should be held accountable for the harm that results. If you or someone you care about in South Carolina was harmed or injured in an SUV accident, or accident in any vehicle, caused by defective tires, contact the lawyers at the Louthian Law Firm today Toll free: (803) 454-1200 or online for a free evaluation of your case. We’ll explain your legal options, and if we believe a case is warranted, we’ll seek to hold any negligent parties liable for the injuries they have caused. It is your legal right to ask the manufacturer for money to cover your medical bills, property damage, pain and suffering and any permanent disability or loss.
What Causes Tire Failures?
Common indicators of a tire prone to failure are:
- Tire tread separation
- Bulges in the side wall of the tire
- Cracks in the tire
- Abnormal wear on the tire tread
- Tires older than six years (since 2000, tires are stamped with the date of manufacture)
Government Recalled Tires
The federal government maintains the following websites to update the public on recent tire recalls:
Tire-related accidents, including SUV rollover accidents, can sometimes be prevented by routine tire maintenance, but recent research shows that even well maintained tires can fail once they have aged more than six years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Commission (NHTSA) has issued several warnings to the public regarding proper tire safety, but tire manufacturers continue to skirt the issue of the relationship between tire age and tire tread separation.
Defective Firestone Tires
The most famous defective tire case in U.S. history is the Ford Explorer/Firestone tire fiasco of the early 2000s.
When Ford replaced select Firestone tires on its vehicles, including the bestselling Ford Explorer in the early 2000s, the issue of defective tires received national attention. Until 2002, Firestone Tires were standard equipment on the world’s best-selling sport utility vehicle (SUV), the Ford Explorer. Since 1990, defective Firestone Tires have been linked to at least 174 U.S. traffic deaths and more than 700 injuries. Subsequent research has shown that the tread on some Firestone tires separated from the tire at highway speeds in warm conditions, causing blowouts and rollovers.
The company also reimbursed owners who purchased them elsewhere for up to $130 for the 16- and 17-inch tires. With Ford recalling more Firestone Tires and Bridgestone/Firestone deciding to no longer sell tires to Ford, it was difficult for accident victims to know who to blame. The end of the 95-year relationship between Ford and Bridgestone made it clear that neither party would accept sole responsibility for the unusually large number of accidents involving Ford Explorer SUVs with Firestone tires.
Tire Defects Still a National Issue
The Firestone tire incident illustrates how deadly a product defect such as a faulty tire can be to unsuspecting consumers. Since that time, there have been dozens of recalls of other car tires. In fact, there is an Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that conducts defect investigations. To improve safety on our nation’s highways, NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair defective tires when investigations turn up serious safety defects in design, construction or performance. The ODI regularly updates information on car, truck and motorcycle tire recalls. For instance, in October 2008, the ODI site reported that Firestone was recalling 135,310 of its FR380 tires, size P235/75R15, manufactured between June 4, 2006 and September 8, 2007 because they were produced with insufficient tread base gauge. The site stated: “Continued use of the subject tires may lead to vibration and groove cracking. Extended use could lead to tread distortion or tread separation and loss of vehicle control.”
What You Can Do If You’ve Been a Victim of An Accident Caused By a Defective Tire?
You may feel that an accident was your fault or that there is nothing you can do now. If your tires were one of the thousands of defective tires in the marketplace, you may be eligible for compensation for property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. But keep in mind that tire defect cases are complex and difficult to prove. You need an experienced SUV rollover lawyer knowledgeable in auto accident, personal injury, and product liability cases.