Tire Defects Lawyer: Tread Separation and Tire Blowout

pile of tires

Legal Representation For Victims Injured By Tire Defects

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Tire defects are the cause of a significant number of car accidents every year. If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident caused by a defective tire, The Carlson Law Firm can help.

Tire defects are a common cause of car accidents. Tire manufacturers are responsible for ensuring their products are safe and durable, but sometimes they fail in this duty. Even if there is a tire recall, it can come too late – every major tire manufacturer has had to recall tires at some time. But tire manufacturers will usually only recall their tires after a series of devastating accidents.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 8,000+ car accidents every year can be attributed to tire blowouts. A tire blowout refers to a situation in which a tire loses air rapidly and explosively, resulting in a loss of control over the vehicle. The tire can quickly deflate as it loses air, placing the vehicle at an increased risk for a rollover. When a vehicle has a defective tire, this may significantly compromise a driver’s ability to maneuver the vehicle. This may lead to a single-vehicle or multi-vehicle collision that leaves drivers, passengers and anyone else involved seriously injured.

Tire defects can come in all shapes and sizes, but they usually result in tire failure such as blowouts or tread separation. There are many reasons for a tire blow out, such as:

  • Poor tire construction
  • Manufacturing defects in the tire itself
  • De-beading
  • Tire shredding
  • De-treading
  • Adhesion failures.

What Causes Tire Blowouts?

One major cause of tire blowouts is low air pressure in tires. Every driver has the responsibility to monitor tire pressure to avoid these types of accidents. Some cars have automatic warning lights to notify the driver when the tire pressure dips below a safe level. If for some reason this warning light fails on a vehicle, the vehicle manufacturer may be liable to some extent for the damage and injuries caused by the tire blowout.

While some of these accidents can be traced to driver error, faulty design of the tire has also been found to be a major cause of tire blowouts. If a manufacturer sells tires made from a substandard material or a mechanic installs tires not designed to be used for a specific vehicle type, it could put the driver at risk. Even incorrect installation could create conditions for a dangerous tire blowout and accident.

Over the past decade, millions of tires have been recalled in the United States, all of them manufactured by some of the country’s most reputed companies. These recalls have been linked to defective design that causes tread separation, which is the major reason for a tire blow out.

Tires are manufactured by integrating several plies or layers. When the design to make these layers stick to one another is defective, it causes the tread to separate while the vehicle is running. Tread separation can also be the result of using weak adhesives. Tires that are manufactured in an unsafe facility and exposed to moisture during the production process may also have improperly adhered treads.

Understanding Tread Separation

When a tire is made, the base part of the tire is built first and then through various chemical and heating processes, steel belts are embedded in the tire, and finally, the tread is applied. Steel-belted radial tires are especially prone to tread separation. When the tread separates the driver may lose control of the vehicle, even when the tire does not lose pressure. Tread separation is usually due to some problem in the manufacturing process. The tire may be designed defectively or constructive carelessly. The manufacturer may use rubber that is too old and dry, miss warning signs during final inspection, use petroleum solvent before vulcanization, and cure moisture into the tire. Although tread separation usually occurs with a tire several years old being driven at a fairly fast speed, there have also been cases of brand new tires separating while being driven at slower speeds, such as 15 or 20 mph. Of course, the faster you are driving when you experience a tire failure due to tread separation or blowout, the more likely the chances that you will be seriously hurt or even killed.

A report from the National Highway Safety Administration revealed that tread separations reduced the ability of drivers to control their vehicles, especially when the tire failure occurs on a rear tire at a high speed. The report also found that there is a much higher likelihood of death, injury, and crashes when the tread separation occurs on an SUV than on a pickup truck.

Common Injuries Caused By Tire Blowouts, Tread Separation

Tire blowout accidents can occur anywhere and at any time. If you are on the highway and driving at speeds in excess of 50 miles per hour, a tire blowout could cause a devastating crash.

Below are some of the injuries you could suffer in a tire blowout accident:

Neck injuries: A tire blowout accident could cause you to swerve and hit another vehicle or a fixed object. The moment the tire bursts, your body may tense up, causing you to sustain a neck injury if your vehicle stops suddenly.

Catastrophic injuries: Tire blowout accidents can cause catastrophic injuries because you could lose control of your vehicle and crash into other drivers, or another driver having a blowout can crash into you.

Back injuries: Since a tire blowout accident occurs suddenly and without warning, back injuries are common.

Lacerations: Lacerations to your face, hands and torso may occur if a tire blowout accident causes a vehicle to roll overor collide with other vehicles or a fixed object.

Firestone Tire Recall of 2000: The Second Largest Tire Recall in the U.S.

The infamous Firestone tire recall of 2000 may have taken place years ago, but its memory continues to thrive as Bridgestone Corp., the manufacturer of Firestone tires is taking some heat from Congress. Millions of the tires, many used on Ford vehicles, were recalled in August 2000 when complaints, some fatal, poured into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Frustrated consumers, injury-inducing blowouts and thousands of complaints resulted in class action lawsuits against the tire manufacturers. The poorly designed and manufactured Firestone tires resulted in as many as 63 fatalities that were reported by the NHTSA. By the end of August, Ford reported that it was aware of problems with the tires as early as two years prior to the recall.

Though Firestone, Bridgestone, and Ford continue to face criticism regarding the massive tire recall of 2000, other companies have shared similar complaints throughout their own tire tread failure and subsequent recalls. Cooper Tire and Rubber Company is another tire manufacturer that has experienced the plague of defective design and corner-cutting manufacturing that often results in injuries and recalls.

According to AAA, advanced or unusual tread wear is just one sign that your tires may not be able to experience proper traction, especially during more dangerous weather and road conditions.

Recent Tire Recalls

Our Carlson Law Firm Tire Defects Experts

Brantley White 

Brantley White

Brantley White is an “AV” rated lawyer in the Martindale-Hubbell legal directory. He focuses his practice on defective tire litigation, automotive product liability, commercial truck wrecks,  and general negligence cases including workplace accidents and premises liability cases. Brantley’s trial experience spans two decades and includes numerous seven and eight figure verdicts in both general negligence cases and product liability cases.

Brantley has successfully resolved many cases against Ford Motor Company, General Motors and Chrysler by meticulously gathering evidence to prove the availability of  safer alternative designs including the following: stronger roofs (reinforced roof pillars), improving vehicle stability (by managing vehicle height to width ratios to prevent rollovers), preventing post-collision fuel fed fires (fuel line cut-off valves and safer fuel tank placement) and the inclusion of safer vehicle restraint systems (improved seat belt design and airbag sensors). Brantley’s success in multiple areas of automotive and tire product liability cases has resulted in his “AV” rating and national reputation and many lawyers associate him on their cases to maximize case value. Brantley has successfully recovered in excess of $250,000,000 in settlements and verdicts for his clients from lawsuits alleging defects in automobiles, tires, and vehicle child restraints.

His representative experience includes one of the largest personal injury verdicts in Waco Federal Court history on behalf of a motorcyclist who was severely injured after being struck by a tractor-trailer; a substantial verdict for the family of a Laredo man killed by a Burlington Motor Carriers tractor-trailer as well as the largest single injury tire product liability verdict in Texas for an individual injured by a defective BF Goodrich tire.

Mr. White’s knowledge in litigating and trying cases involving dangerous premises defects and activities has resulted in settlements exceeding $50,000,000 and the following 7-figure premises liability jury trial verdicts: Samaniego v. Garrett Paving, Nueces County TX (negligent supervision of work site; Weiss v. Rough Creek Lodge, Dallas County TX (dangerous condition on property); Hines v. Railserve Inc., Fulton County GA (negligent supervision of employees).

What To Do If You Experience A Tire Defect Such As A Blowout

  • Instead of slamming on the brakes, slowly take your foot off the gas pedal.
  • Coast to the shoulder or other area way from traffic.
  • Stay calm, try not to panic so that you don’t make the situation for dangerous.
  • Turn on your emergency flashers, especially if there is low light.
  • When waiting for help, stand as far away from your vehicle as possible.
  • Wait to change your tire unless there is sufficient room to do so away from traffic.

Contact The Carlson Law Firm Today For A Free Case Evaluation

At The Carlson Law Firm, we can provide a level of representation that has been given recognition with awards and accolades that can be used to your advantage.  With the number of attorneys at our firm, we have the ability to provide the comprehensive representation you need for your case.  For The Carlson Law Firm, each client is unique and each case should be handled uniquely.  For personalized service with quality you can trust, contact our firm today!