Tire Separation Defect
The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration reports that there are approximately 11,000 tire-related crashes in the US every year. Sadly, this results in approximately 200 yearly fatalities. There are many types of tire defects, including tire separation defects.
Tire manufacturers, tire stores and others involved in the tire industry have a legal duty to manufacture and distribute tires that are safe for consumers.
What is a Tire Separation Defect?
Tread belt separation on steel belted radial tires is extremely dangerous. When the tread separates from the belt, the lower belt takes on the load of the tire. Each tire that separates takes on approximately one fourth the weight of the vehicle. The vehicle is now driving on this lower belt – an extremely dangerous and sometimes deadly situation.
The vehicle suddenly shifts to one side or the other. The driver suddenly has little or no control over the vehicle. Trying to compensate for the weight shift and imbalance often leads to rollovers, particularly in vehicles with higher centers of gravity. Tire separation accidents can occur at all speeds but are particularly dangerous at highway and turnpike speeds. The sudden shift might resemble a “regular” blowout at first, but the driver quickly becomes aware that the vehicle is uncontrollable and unmanageable.
Injuries, Death and Property Damage From Vehicles with Tire Separation Defects
Accidents from tire separation defects often result in severe injuries or fatalities to the following:
- Driver and passengers in the vehicle with the defective tire
- Driver and passengers in other vehicles struck by the vehicle with the defective tire
- Driver and passengers in other vehicles swerving to avoid being struck by any of these vehicles
- Pedestrians, joggers, cyclists, and passers-by struck by any vehicles in this chain of events
Additionally, property damage is often extensive:
- Vehicles with tire separation defects are often totaled and must be replaced
- Vehicles struck are often totaled or severely damaged and must be replaced or repaired
- Damage to buildings, homes, property, fences, trees, parked cars, etc.
Injuries Commonly Sustained in Crashes from Tire Separation Defects
Unfortunately, once a tire separates and the driver loses control of the vehicle, injuries are common, including the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries – whether a vehicle is struck, rolls over, or strikes another vehicle or object, head injuries are common. They often result in long term disability and may require a lifetime of care.
- Spinal injuries – injuries to the spine can result in paralysis, limitation in movement and more
- Fractures – multiple fractures are common, especially to the extremities
- Disfigurement – facial disfigurement and bodily disfigurement from severe crashes are common
- Neck injuries – may range from whiplash to brain damage and more
Causes of Tire Separation Defects and Other Tire Defects
Defective tires may have numerous causes, including one or more of the following:
- Defect in design and/or manufacture
- Use of inferior materials
- Inadequate adhesion and defective adhesion materials. Inadequate adhesion from a lack of bonding during the manufacturing process. Steel belt, rubber and other tire parts did not adequately bond, thus leading to separation.
- Sudden loss of air pressure due to defect in material or workmanship
- Aged tires that have deteriorated and are no longer safe, but the consumer does not realize this because they look like new or in good condition. These are often sold by tire stores.
- Tires that are older than six years are generally considered unsafe
- Unused spare tires deteriorate over time but look brand new
- Incorrectly installed tires and/or defective rims, wheels and parts that come in contact with the tire
- Temperature – heat and cold affect tire and can cause separation if material is inferior
Millions of tires have been recalled but it is estimated that only 20% of consumers are properly notified of recalls. Thus, consumers may be driving on defective tires. Major tire manufacturers sell their tires to other tire companies – in some instances more than 50 different companies - who in turn sell them under different brand names. Thus, the consumer may be totally unaware that they are driving on defective, recalled tires.
In some instances tire sellers or resellers knowingly resell defective tires. In other instances resellers are not aware. In both instances they may be held accountable for selling defective tires.
You can reach Miami Personal Injury Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email J.P. directly at [email protected].