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Defective Tires and Product Liability

Trusted Content
Legally reviewed by:
Erik Abrahamson
March 28, 2018
March 28, 2018 | Product Liability

Every year there are thousands of crashes caused by defective tires. Governmental statistics estimate over 400 people are killed, and more than 10,000 people are injured, as a result of these types of accidents. Over 48 percent of these accidents involve rollovers of sport utility vehicles (SUV), vans as well as pickup trucks and more.

If you or a loved one has suffered due to the negligence of a product manufacturer or a defective product, contact our product liability attorneys at 800-538-4878 for a free case evaluation, we are available 24/7

Defective Tire Recalls

It is common for manufacturers to recall products they determine to be defective. This could be done by the company or at the suggestion of a government agency like the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), as well as Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and others. A manufacturer will then be given an opportunity to issue a voluntary recall. When this doesn’t happen, a governmental agency may issue a recall. The process often begins with a recall notice being given to every one of the companies who sell and distribute the defective product. All known purchasers of the company’s products must also be notified to the best extent possible. A recall notice will be published in industry journals and made available to the general media. The recall notice will include information concerning repairing or replacing the product for customers who purchased it. The recall notice will also warn of any types of danger involved with the defect.

Tire Manufacturer Liability

When a tire manufacturer initiates a recall, it does not free them of liability from damage caused by their product. During a product liability lawsuit, a tire manufacturer is responsible for showing that the plaintiff did receive notice of the recall. They must also show that all the dangers associated with their product were in the recall notice received by the plaintiff. A tire manufacturer is not permitted to place the blame on a tire seller or distributor who did not warn customers.

Old Tires Sold As New

It is possible for tires to remain in storage at a company’s warehouse for many years. When a consumer sees these tires, they will see a tire that seems brand new. The reality is they’re getting an old tire with many potential problems. Tires will age slowly over time. A tire’s internal components will start to disintegrate and not be able to function properly. The adhesive ability and rubber of the tire will be significantly weaker. This makes it more prone to tread separation, tire failure as well as a sudden blowout.

Used Tires

It is possible for a consumer to look at a used tire and see a significant amount of tread. Problems can occur because the person buying this tire doesn’t know its history. It could have been a tire involved in an accident, suffered prior damage unable to be seen, hit many curbs, potholes and more. Used tires are often attractive because they are cheaper, but they may also increase the chance of having an accident.

Strict Liability

When tires are suspected to have caused a vehicle accident, the manufacturer could be held liable under strict liability law. If the tire is shown to have a defect that caused the accident, a manufacturer is liable. This is the even if the manufacturer did everything in accordance with the law to sell safe tires. In this case, the accident victim does not have to prove the manufacturer was negligent to win their case.

Marketing Defect

There have been situations where a tire manufacturer marked their tires with an Alpine Symbol. This symbol was for tires that provided superior traction in the snow. Tires were sold by the manufacturer with the Alpine Symbol that did not meet the traction requirements for these types of snow tires. The tires weren’t able to perform as anticipated by consumers causing consumers to have a false sense of security during snowy conditions. When this happens, it is considered a marketing defect.

Under Inflation

The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) has conducted studies that show over 69 percent of vehicles are being regularly driven with at least one or more underinflated tires. They try to educate drivers on the importance of having proper tire inflation. This will maximize tire performance and is an important part of any vehicle being safe to drive. It can significantly lower the chances of having a vehicle’s tires be the cause of an accident.

Tire Inspection

It’s important for consumers to check their tires. This is important during hot summer months as well as prior to a long driving trip. A person should look for pieces of missing rubber from the tire as well a rust or cracks around the lug nuts. This could be a sign of metal fatigue. A tire with bubbles or bulges out from the sidewall needs to be changed immediately. A tire with an uneven wear or a bald spot need to be replaced before using the vehicle.

Tire Maintenance

A tire store, repair shop, inspection station, as well as a car dealer, have a legal obligation to inform a person when their vehicle’s tires need to be replaced. Should they not make this recommendation, they could be held liable for an accident caused by a faulty tire. The tires used on vehicles today have a high level of quality. The materials used as well as the manufacturing processes in place provide very safe tires. Unfortunately, they have become so safe many people don’t think about maintaining their tires. Vehicle owners have developed too much faith in the quality and integrity of their tires. They may take safety for granted. Tires may develop a worn tread and aren’t able to provide proper road grip. This is dangerous in bad weather. Improperly inflated tires can cause a vehicle to have uneven wheel alignment as well as balance problems which could cause issues with vehicle maintenance.

Should a person experience an accident in their vehicle due to defective tires, they should speak with an experienced product liability attorney. They will able to inform an accident victim of their legal rights and the claims process. Our attorneys provide free case evaluations and are only a telephone call away. If you or a loved one has suffered due to the negligence of a product manufacturer or a defective product, contact our product liability attorneys at 800-538-4878 for a free case evaluation, we are available 24/7


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