Truck tire blowouts can cause serious accidents, resulting in permanent injuries or fatalities. If you or someone you love have been involved in this type of accident, you may be entitled to compensation. However, you must act quickly to protect your legal rights.
About Truck Tire Blowouts
A tire “blowout” refers to a bursting tire followed by a rapid loss of air pressure. When a big rig truck has a blowout, the truck is unexpectedly pushed toward an adjoining lane. The remains of the exploded tire may leave long, heavy strips of debris in the roadway. Even when the truck driver manages to get his vehicle safely off the road, the debris creates a safety hazard for other motorists.
Blowouts can happen for several reasons:
- Improper or inadequate maintenance: Tires have to be maintained to work correctly. Some maintenance errors that can cause blowouts include mixing bias and radial tires on the same axle, pairing tires with significantly different levels of wear, or using tires that don’t meet Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements for tread depth.
- Failure to perform pre-trip inspections: By law, commercial drivers should perform a pre-trip inspection to ensure their vehicle is safe for the road. A driver who skips this crucial step might not notice poor tire pressure, sidewall damage, air leakage, or tread wear until an accident occurs.
- Defective tires: Just as passenger cars sometimes have defective tires, a semi truck may have tires that don’t meet the necessary safety standards. Defective tires are normally recalled, but it’s possible that a trucking company might not hear of the recall in time to take action.
Some examples of the types of accidents caused by truck tire blowouts include:
- The driver of the 18-wheeler loses control and crashes into another vehicle.
- The driver of the semi losses control and the truck rolls over. A second vehicle comes around the corner and crashes into the semi because the driver doesn’t have enough time to stop.
- Debris from a semi truck tire blowout strikes the windshield of the driver behind the truck, causing him to lose control.
- Debris from a semi truck tire blowout causes the driver of the second vehicle to lose control and collide with a third vehicle.
When you’re involved in a truck tire blowout accident caused by a commercial driver, there are three main possibilities for who might be considered the negligent party.
- Driver: Drivers who don’t complete the necessary pre-trip inspections or fail to follow other rules of the road can be held liable for the injuries they cause.
- Trucking company: A trucking company has an obligation to employ correctly trained drivers and to maintain the vehicles in its fleet. Knowingly allowing an unqualified driver to operate a commercial vehicle or failing to fix tire problems promptly would be signs of negligence.
- Tire company: When the blowout occurs due to manufacturing defects, the tire company is considered negligent.
In some circumstances, more than one party might be considered negligent. It’s possible to name multiple defendants in a personal injury or wrongful death suit, if the circumstances warrant.
In a personal injury suit, the injured party is entitled to compensation for medical bills, future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning potential, and pain and suffering.
In a wrongful death suit, the family of the deceased person can seek reimbursement for medical costs up to the time of death, funeral or burial costs, loss of the deceased’s income to support the family, and the pain and suffering associated with the loss of their loved one.
Protecting Your Legal Rights
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for personal injury suits is two years. For a wrongful death case, the statute of limitations is two years with a five-year toll if the estate is not probated. You must take action before the statute of limitations expires to protect your right to compensation.
Rechtman & Spevak is committed to helping accident victims pursue fair and timely reimbursement for the damages they’ve suffered. Please call 404-355-2688 or fill out our online contact form to get started with a free, no-obligation consultation.