If you’ve been seriously hurt because of a trucking accident that happened after a tire blowout, you’re not alone. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) estimates that more than 78,000 crashes and 400 deaths occur each year because of flat tires or blowouts.
When tire blowouts happen on tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, and other large trucks, the results can be devastating. Read on to learn about how truck tire blowouts happen and how you may be able to get compensation if you’ve been hurt in a blowout-related crash.
What Are Truck Tire Blowouts, and How Do They Happen?
The term “blowout” usually refers to a tire that bursts and then loses air pressure. Tire blowouts are extremely dangerous because they often cause partial or total loss of control over the vehicle. This can be especially deadly when that vehicle is a big-rig truck that weighs 80,000 pounds.
You might expect truck tire blowouts to happen most often when tires are under too much pressure, like when you overinflate a balloon and it suddenly pops. This is possible, but it happens very rarely since most tire manufacturers make sure their tires can handle additional pressure beyond their stated maximum PSI (pounds per square inch, a measurement of air pressure). If they didn’t, you could easily blow a tire apart when filling it up.
Instead, most tire blowouts happen because of too little tire pressure. When a tire is underinflated, it allows the rubber, steel, and fabric in the tire to flex too much under the intense forces of the vehicle and the road. If a tire’s components keep flexing this way, they weaken and eventually fail, creating a blowout.
Tire blowouts and the resulting crashes also tend to happen more often in warmer weather. The heat itself can increase friction and damage to tires. People also tend to drive faster when it’s nice out. Some mechanics and safety experts refer to the months of May through September as “tire blowout season” because blowouts are so much more common during this time of year.
Who Can I Sue for Injuries Resulting From a Truck Tire Blowout?
A truck tire blowout may seem like an “act of God,” but that’s rarely the case. More often, these dangerous incidents result from negligent behavior. If you suffered injuries because of a truck tire blowout, you may be able to work with an experienced trucking accident lawyer to hold one or more of the following parties responsible.
The Truck’s Driver
External factors like potholes and debris in the road can cause a truck tire blowout, but that doesn’t mean the driver bears no responsibility. The truck driver has an obligation to exercise reasonable care and drive defensively. If they hit the pothole or debris because they were driving recklessly, or if their careless actions immediately after the blowout made the crash worse, they could be held liable for the consequences.
Truck drivers also play a role in keeping their truck’s tires properly maintained and inflated. If it turns out that the driver failed to properly check the pressure on their truck’s tires, for example, a court might hold them responsible for a resulting blowout and any damages it created.
The Trucking Company
Trucking companies have a legal responsibility to keep their trucks in good working order. Unfortunately, too many companies cut corners on truck inspections and repairs so they can save an extra dollar here and there. If the trucking company’s negligent maintenance practices created dangerous conditions that led to the crash that injured you, they’re responsible under Oklahoma law for the damages that follow.
Truck tire blowouts can also happen because the trucking company or the shipper dangerously overloaded the truck, placing too much pressure on the tires. In this case, the company that violated weight restrictions and overloaded the truck can be held liable for the resulting damages.
The Truck Tire Manufacturer
Sometimes, tire blowouts happen because the company that designed or manufactured the product introduced a defect that compromised the tire and caused the blowout. The defect might be a manufacturing issue that led to a weakness in that particular tire, or it might be a design flaw that renders every single tire of that type dangerous. It might even involve the company failing to provide adequate and accurate warnings about the tire’s specifications and limitations in product literature and packaging.
Regardless of where and how a product defect originated, companies are liable under the law if they produce and distribute a defective product that hurts someone. If the crash that injured you happened because the truck tire that blew out was defective, then your claim would technically fall under the category of product liability cases.
If you’ve been hurt in a wreck that resulted from a truck tire blowout, an experienced trucking accident lawyer may be able to help, but it’s important to contact an attorney right away so they can start investigating the factors that led to the crash and figuring out who may be held liable for your injuries. Statutes of limitation apply to truck crash cases, and some of the most important evidence in your case may only be available right after the collision, so don’t wait to act — get in touch with an attorney who offers free case evaluations right away.
Contact Atkins & Markoff for Help if You’ve Been Injured in an Oklahoma Truck Accident
After a serious truck wreck, you or a loved one might feel overwhelmed by serious injuries, lost wages, and unpaid medical bills. At Atkins & Markoff, we fight tirelessly and aggressively to protect the rights of Oklahoma truck accident victims. We’re ready to listen to your story, and we’ll fight to get you justice and compensation if we’re able to take your case.
If you have been seriously hurt or even lost a loved one in a trucking accident, contact Atkins & Markoff today for a free case evaluation by calling 405-607-8757 or filling out our quick and simple online contact form. We handle all personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis, which means you won’t pay attorney’s fees unless we get you a settlement or win your case in court.
Choi, E-H. (2012, April). Tire-related factors in the pre-crash phase. Washington, D.C.: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (Report No. DOT HS 811 617). Retrieved from https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/811617
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.