Car accidents are the most common causes of death in California. There are several ways in which car accidents occur, including driver error, poor roads, and defective vehicle parts. Tire defect is one of the vehicle part defects that can result in an accident. Flaws such as blowouts, weak tire materials, and separation of tread can result in serious accidents. If you get injured in a car crash caused by defective tires, you are entitled to compensation for the injuries. By filing a personal injury lawsuit, you have a chance at getting both economic and non- economic damages. The process of getting compensation after such an accident can be complicated, and you will require competent legal guidance. At The LA Personal Injury Law Firm, we work hard to ensure you get maximum compensation for your injuries.
Overview of Defective Tire Accidents in California
Tires are an essential part of the vehicle, which most people do not pay attention to until something happens. When an accident is caused by tire failure, most people will be quick to blame the driver of the vehicle. Several parties play a part in ensuring that the tires are in proper condition on the road. Vehicle tires are supposed to be replaced regularly to avoid unworthy vehicles on the streets. Sometimes, the tires come from the manufacturer being defective. Thus, excellent care and maintenance cannot prevent the occurrence of accidents.
Tires are made of rubber intertwined with brass. This helps the tire adhere to the metal on the wheel and avoid wearing of the tire. However, it is common that manufacturers store the tires for a long time in the warehouse, causing the tire surfaces to break. By the time you purchase and install them, they have structural defects. If you get injured in a crash caused by defective tires, you can file a lawsuit against the liable party for compensation. It is essential to understand that you will be required to prove liability in trial before being awarded benefits. Liability in a defective tire accident can be severe. Therefore, it is crucial to enlist the help of a competent personal injury attorney when involved in a defective tire accident.
Ways in Which Defective Tires Cause Accidents
Tires are responsible for transferring vehicle weight to the ground. Also, the drivers will rely on the tires to provide traction and control the vehicle to a high speed. When the tires are defective, the driver is likely to lose control of the car. Some of the accidents caused by a defect in the vehicle tires include head-on collisions. When a tire bursts, the vehicle can lose control and enter into the lane of other cars, causing a crash. Head-on collisions produce the most severe injuries and numerous fatalities.
Tire defects can also result in rollover accidents since the tires provide a balance as a suspension for the vehicle. If you get injured in an accident resulting from tire defects, you can get compensation for those injuries. The following are some tire defects that can cause accidents:
The tread is a tire part which allows the tire to grip on the road due to its grooved pattern. These grooves also prevent the hydro plating of the surface by allowing water to be expelled from the wheel. When tread separation occurs, especially when the vehicle is at high speed, the driver is likely to lose control of the car and crash. Tread separation can happen to any tire. When the tires have a manufacturing or design defect, the treads can separate from the new tires. This defect can also occur on old tires that are poorly maintained or repaired.
Old and Weak Rubber
Tires are supposed to be regularly replaced. This is because as the vehicle moves, the rubber wears out. With time the tires will be unfit to be on the roads. Other tires sit on the shelves for a long time, thus reaching their expiry dates before use. When they are sold, they pass as new but are not in good condition. The rubber may weaken and cause a blowout when the vehicle is traveling at high speed, or excessive pressure is applied. If you can prove the cause of soft tires, you can get the liable party and sue them for damages.
Underfilled and Overfilled Tires
Even when the tire is in good condition, an underfilled or overfilled tire can pose a threat of accidents on the road. Underinflated tires are one of the leading causes of tire malfunction. When the pressure is too low, most parts of the tire surface will touch the road causing excessive friction. An increase in resistance will cause the rubber to wear out, which can lead to blowouts and tread separation.
Overly inflated tires have a weak grip on the road and improper traction. The roads are slippery. This problem can get worse, and the vehicle will roll over. Also, too much pressure on the tires will cause accelerated wear of the center area of the tire and to increase the risk of a blowout. If you get injured in an accident caused by overfilled or underfilled tires, it will be vital to determine who was responsible for the overfilled or underfilled tires. This could be the manufacturers of the tires or a car repair facility. This will aid in determining the liable party in the detective tire accident.
Each part of the vehicle needs to be installed and functioning correctly to ensure road safety. Inadequate installation of tires, including improper lubrication can cause malfunction of the tires and result in an accident. Installation problems could either happen when purchasing the vehicle or when the car is taken for repairs. You will have the burden of proving the liable party in your accident so that you can get compensation in your lawsuit.
A blowout is a rupture of the tire, which often occurs when the vehicle is moving at high speed. This is always a result of the rubber material of the tire using its bond with internal reinforcement. Tire blowouts can be caused by the manufacturer or design defects. Also, the rupture can be caused by operator error or owner negligence. Vehicle tires should be replaced regularly. If a tire bursts, the driver is likely to lose control over the car.
Liability in Tire Defect Accidents
Several parties can be held liable for any accidents resulting from defective tires. If you are injured in such an accident, you can file a compensation lawsuit against the responsible party. However, you will be required to show how they contributed to the accident. If the tire was in good condition at the time of purchase, you have to prove liability by showing the following elements of negligence:
- Duty of care - The burden of care is a legal obligation. Each person has to ensure they do not cause harm to others. Before you get compensation in the personal jury lawsuit, you need to show that the defendant owed you a duty of care.
- Reach of duty - A person breaches the duty of care by acting in a way that poses a danger to other people. It is not enough that a person owes you a duty of care. It should be clear that they breached that duty. Some of how a duty of care is reached in a defective tire accident include the manufacture of low tires, poor maintenance, and repair.
- Causation - Your attorney should prove that the breach of duty was a significant contributor to your injuries for you, even when the defendant’s negligence was not the only factor in the accident. It should be the main factor that caused tire defects.
Some of the individuals who could be held liable for a tire defect and your injuries include:
The Driver of the Vehicle
A driver has a legal responsibility not to drive a car with any potential tire defect or risk. Also, they are required to check the car tires and replace them when worn out routinely. Some drivers will ignore tires that need replacement and maintenance. When an accident results from poorly maintained or old worn-out tires, the driver will be held liable for the accident. By filing a personal injury claim against the driver, you can recover compensation for the injuries you suffered. However, it is crucial to understand that the driver may not be held responsible if the accident was caused by unavoidable debris on the road.
Manufacturer of the Tires
Tire manufacturer will be held liable if the blowout or explosion was caused by:
- Design Defect - Tire defects are considered a design defect if the ire did not perform its function correctly, even when used in the right way. Also, if the risk of danger produced by the tire outweighs its benefits, you can claim that there was a design defect. In this case, the tire manufacturer will be held liable for the accident.
- Manufacturing Defects - A manufacturing defect is a problem which occurs when the production of the tires differ from the design specifications. In your lawsuit, the defective tire will be compared with others of the same lie to identify a manufacturing defect. If there is a difference in the product, you can use this as evidence in tire defect claims. For a manufacturer to be held liable, it should be clear that they manufactured the defective product, and you suffered an injury as a result.
- Warning Defects - If the manufacturer, seller, or distributor of the tires did not provide the right indications and safety instructions for the product, the tire would be considered defective. However, you will be required to show that the defendant produced and sold the tire. Also, it should be clear that the tire had a potential risk of danger, which was not indicated. If an ordinary person could not spot the chance, you can file a claim against the manufacturer of the tire. Proving manufacturer liability through warning defects can be difficult. Therefore, it is essential to seek guidance from a competent personal injury attorney when filing the lawsuit.
If the tire that caused the accident had a manufactured defect, all injured persons have a right to seek monetary compensation from the manufacturer. Also, if your loved one died in the accident, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Liability of the Retailer
A retailer of the tires can be held liable for tire defect accidents if the tire was damaged at their stores. Tires, like other products, have expiry dates upon which the product poses a danger to consumers. When tires stay for a long time on the shelves, they begin to deteriorate. Most retailers will sell these products as new, whereas they are expired. The following factors have to be proven before holding the retailer liable for your injuries:
- You were injured as a result of the defective tires
- The tire was in poor condition at the time of sale
- The seller knew about the defects and did not intend to make any changes. Also, it should be clear that the tires did not have a fault when they came from the manufacturer. This will help rule out a manufacturing defect
When automotive specialists and mechanics install the wrong tires or fail to correct a defect, they can be held liable for an accident resulting from tire defects. An unsafe tire situation could also occur when the mechanic does not understand the installation procedure of the specific tire. Although the driver has a responsibility to ensure all vehicle parts are in good condition, the mechanic can also be held liable for your injuries. California has comparative liability. Hence there can be several responsible parties in your lawsuit.
Compensation benefits Available in a Tire Defect Lawsuit
Tire defects often produce fatal accidents. If you are injured in an accident, you are entitled to compensation by the party liable for the accident. A successful personal injury claim can see you get the following compensation benefits:
In California, lost wages are all the amount you would have earned if you did not suffer injuries. Lost wages can be in the form of:
- Overtime pay
- Vacation and sick day
- Regular pay
- Income obtained from self-employment
After the tire accident, you have two years to claim lost wages. After two years, you will not be able to recover the damages. In California, you are required to prove the lost wages in your lawsuit before receiving compensation. Some of the most common ways to show the lost wages in which you can prove lost wages are:
- Obtaining a lost wage letter from your employer. It is easier to get a lost wage letter if you have a regular job. The letter is supposed to set forth the nature of your employment, the number of hours you work per day, and your monthly pay rate.
- You are using past tax return documents. When you don’t have regular employment, it will be challenging to obtain a lost wage letter. In this case, you can use your past pay stubs and tax return documents to prove lost wages.
- Self-employment income. You are required to prove the amount you would be earning from self-employment so you can recover the lost wages. By use of past tax returns and billing statements, you can determine the amount of self-employment income you lost.
- Unemployment income. If you suffer injuries in a defective tire injury, you can recover lost wages even when you are unemployed. You are eligible for unemployment benefits if you are physically fit to work and were looking for a job before the accident.
Compensation for Medical Bills
Tire defects result in head-on collisions and rollover accidents, which produce the most severe injuries. Some of the common injuries you are likely to suffer include:
- Head and brain injuries
- Scrapes and cuts
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
Depending on the severity of the accident, some of the damages will take a long time to resolve. Also, you are likely to incur the cost of treatment. If you are successful in the lawsuit, you can get compensation for the medical expenses you incurred.
After the accident, the liable party does not immediately accept responsibility for the accident. For this reason, you will be required to pay for your bills until the case is resolved. There are different ways in which you can settle your medical bills. However, it would be wise to pay using a medical insurance cover. If you do not have a medical cover, the law requires that medical providers give you a discount on the bills.
Also, you can pay the medical provider on a lien basis. It is essential to understand that after getting treatment on a lien, you will pay the practitioner with the proceeds of the claim. If your medical bills exceed the compensation you receive, you may be required to settle the balance from your pocket. Whichever method you use to get treatment, it is crucial to ensure proper documentation.
In the personal injury claim, you will be required to submit copies of your diagnosis and treatment. The insurance providers of the liable party may also want to look at those documents. Sometimes, you will have to provide medical records dated five years. This is to ensure that the injuries resulted from the accident in question. However, if the accident aggravated your pre-existing injuries, you are entitled to recover some compensation.
Lost Future Earning Capacity
Some injuries incurred in tire defect accidents will leave you with temporary or permanent disabilities. This may affect your job and your future earning capacity. Lost future earning capacity is the loss of your ability to earn money after the accident. Since the losses have not occurred yet, it can be challenging to prove the lost earning capacity. You will receive compensation for lost earning capacity if your injuries are severe. The damages don’t need to be permanent for you to receive compensation. As long as your wounds have not healed by the date of settlement.
Lost earning capacity is calculated by finding the difference between what you make with the injuries and what you would have earned if you did not get into the accident. The following are some other factors that will be considered when calculating future lost earning capacity in California:
- Your expectation and ability to return to your job
- Your age and life expectancy
- The period within which your injuries are expected to resolve
- The state of your health before the accident
With testimony from your employer, a vocational or rehabilitation expert, or your doctor, you can prove your lost future earning capacity. If you want to recover maximum compensation for your lost future earning capacity, it would be wise to enlist the help of a competent personal injury attorney.
Wrongful Death Compensation
Some tire defects are fatal, and some may succumb to the injuries. If your loved one dies in a defective tire accident, you can file a wrongful death claim. However, only close family members like the spouse or children of the deceased will be allowed to recover compensation. A successful wrongful death claim can get you compensation for burial and funeral expenses. Also, you can be compensated for lost consortium and partnership.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Tires are an integral part of the vehicle ignored by most people. Poorly manufactured and maintained tires can cause head-on collisions, rear-end collisions, and rollover accidents. If you are injured in a defective tire car accident, you can file a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation. Also, if your loved one dies from such an accident, you can claim wrongful death benefits. Before you get compensation, you need to prove liability for the accident. Proving liability in a defective tire accident can be sensitive. Because of this, you want to act fast and get in touch with an attorney from The LA Personal Injury Law Firm. Contact us today at 310-935-0089 from any location in Los Angeles, CA, to discuss more details about your lawsuit.