Does it seem like every time you travel on the highway you see bits of tire and rubber beside the road? Sometimes even on the road? Besides being an eyesore, tire debris on the road is the result of a much more serious problem – tire blowouts. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 738 traffic fatalities in 2017 were the result of tire-related crashes. When a vehicle suddenly loses a tire, the driver can lose control and impact other vehicles, or flying debris can cause other vehicles to lose control. When the vehicle and its tires are as large as a Truck, the damage can be catastrophic.
What causes blowouts?
Unlike a wheel separation where both the tire and the wheel are separated from the axle, a tire blowout happens when a tire suddenly deflates when traveling at speed. The tire may disintegrate and shred, throwing debris over the road, or peel away from the wheel in a hazardous strip of rubber. Many blowouts are preventable. The common causes are:
- Low Pressure/Under Inflation – If the tire is under-inflated it will flex and overheat the tire until it weakens and fails.
- Overloading – Loading a vehicle with more weight than a tire is rated for can lead to a blowout in much the same way as under-inflation
- Bald Tires – When the tread on a tire is worn away, friction is increased which heats the tire and can cause it to overheat and fail.
- Tread Separation – When the metal and rubber inside a tire become separated from each other, the tire can break apart and scatter.
- External Damage – Hitting curbs, potholes, or sharp objects such as nails can damage a tire instantly (as in the case of punctures) or weaken it over time.
Who is Liable for Damage or Injury Caused by a Truck Tire Blowout?
If you have been injured in an accident that was the result of a tire blowout or truck tire debris on the road, here are several things to consider:
- When truck tire debris is laying on the road, it is considered a road hazard and any damage your vehicle suffers as a result of hitting it should be covered by your own insurance policy (if you have comprehensive coverage).
- If another vehicle hits debris and causes it to fly into your vehicle, they are not liable for those damages.
- If you are hit by debris from a truck that experiences a blowout when you are traveling next to it, you may be able to hold the trucking company liable. You will have to prove, however, that the tire that hit you is from the truck you are suing. If the truck simply “kicked up” debris from another tire, then they are not liable.
- If a truck tire blowout causes the driver to lose control and hit you, then the truck owner may be liable if the blowout is shown to be caused by maintenance neglect.
Contact a Knowledgable Truck Accident Lawyer
Because there can be many factors that contribute to an accident caused from Truck Tire Blowouts or Truck Wheel Separation, it is extremely important to speak with an attorney promptly. At our firm, we work quickly to investigate the site of the incident as well as the vehicles involved. We have the knowledge and resources to determine whether the accident occurred due to a road hazard or a maintenance issue. And we will work diligently to hold negligent parties accountable for any losses suffered by you due to a truck tire blowout.