Why Tire Accident Blowout Lawsuits Are More Complicated Than Other Types Of Auto Accidents
As an Orlando car accident attorney, I follow accident news in Central Florida. If any Orlando accident case presents a common problem, then I try to write an article explaining what happened, and the potential legal issues involved.
Van Tire Blowout Accident In Orlando Leaves One Person With Serious Injuries
This week, there was a serious Orlando van accident caused by a tire blowout, which left one person in serious condition. The crash happened in I-4 west in Deltona. In that case, according to Florida Highway Patrol, the van was driving down the road, when one of it’s tires suddenly exploded. The driver then lost control of the van, hit a guardrail, and the vehicle flipped. Tragically, one occupant was ejected from the van, and ended up lying on the interstate, in the eastbound lanes. That person was taken to a hospital with serious injuries. Also, as many as five other people might have been injured in this Orlando accident. You can learn more here:
Is The Van Driver Automatically Responsible For The Tire Blowout?
Tire blowouts cause many car, van and truck accidents each year. If you were the victim of an auto accident involving a tire blowout, you might be curious about whether the tire blowout means the driver is responsible for your injuries. The answer is that sometimes the driver is responsible, and sometimes they aren’t. Only speaking with an experienced Orlando car accident attorney will lead to reliable answers, because each case is very fact specific. In other words, we will need to know exactly what happened in your accident, to determine whether the driver might be liable.
Driver Responsibilities Regarding Tire Blowouts
Everyone on the road is required to drive like a reasonably prudent person. A “reasonably prudent person” is a legal standard for a hypothetical person, who must act how society would expect, under the same or similar circumstances. That is a fuzzy factual & legal standard, which ultimately juries must decide.
Tire Blowouts Caused By Debris In The Road
If someone was driving safely down the road, and had a tire blowout caused by unexpected and unavoidable debris in the road, then they wouldn’t likely be found responsible.
Driver Might Still Be Responsible, If They Did Anything Else Wrong
Whether debris in the road was unexpected, or unavoidable, might be debatable. For instance, if the road was straight, and the lighting clear, then a driver arguably should have seen debris in the road some distance before hitting it. So, here’s where facts matter. Let’s say a piece of debris fell from a nearby truck one second before it fell on the road, and the driver ran over the debris, and had a blowout. In that situation, it might be difficult to find driver liability. But, if the piece was large, and visible from a long distance, then making an argument about driver liability would be easier. (Nothing is ever guaranteed when predicting juror opinion. We Orlando car accident attorneys just make our best educated & experienced guess regarding what a jury might decide.)
The driver might have also responded unreasonably to getting a flat tire, like swerving all over the road, or slamming on his brakes. If that happened, even though the blow out wasn’t his fault, he could still have some share of the blame, for reacting in an unreasonable way. Also, if he had been speeding, and the speed contributed to the seriousness of the accident, or injuries, that would be another way to find possible liability against the driver.
Additional Driver Duties Regarding Tire Safety & Blow Outs
In addition to driving like a reasonable person, drivers also need to inspect their tires, properly inflate them, and not drive with defective tires. Drivers are not required to have the knowledge of a mechanic. They just need to inspect and find problems that are reasonably obvious. For example, driving with thread bare tires, or using tires that have some other obvious defect (like a large nail with the head of the nail plainly visible) is not okay. Drivers must find those types of noticeable tire defects, and stop driving until they are fixed. Even if a driver didn’t actually know there was any problem with their tire, the law basically holds them accountable in some situations because they should have known. Once again, these are very fact intensive questions.
The Injuries Must Be Serious Enough To Justify Careful Investigation
Orlando car accident lawyers generally will not spend a lot of time or money investigating these intricate details unless the injuries are serious enough to justify the investigation and usually expert analysis needed. Still, generally speaking, a jury could consider whether a driver followed any and all reasonable tire safety precautions. Also, there may be some easier way to establish liability (in minor injury cases), or the seriousness of the injuries may not be known until later (such as a back injury that later requires surgery). So you should always call an Orlando accident attorney, after an accident involving any injuries.
Tire Manufacturer, Tires Sales Or Tire Installer Potential Liability
Even an injured driver, from a tire blowout accident, definitely could have a good case against a tire manufacturer, tire installation company, or tire sales company The same would be true for any of his passengers, or anyone in any other vehicles involved in the tire blowout accident.
For example, a mechanic or car repair specialist may be responsible for not discovering any tire defect. Also, whoever installed the tire may have done something wrong, including not installing the right kind of tire. The tire manufacturer also might have some blame if the tire blowout was caused by defective manufacturing, or design. The tire sales company might also have some blame, if they damaged the tire, or sold a tire that had deteriorated due to age.
Drivers In Tire Blowout Cases May Recover Even If They Were Partly To Blame For The Orlando Car Accident
If a driver was seriously injured, they may or may not have some percentage of fault. The good news is that Florida has something called “comparative negligence.” That means that juries can hear the facts, and decide what percentage of fault to assign to anyone who might have contributed to an accident. In other words, a driver can sometimes recover money for his own injuries, even if the jury finds that they had some responsibility for the tire blowout accident. Also, passengers, or occupants of other vehicles, may be able to recover from everyone who has some blame for the accident.
Tire Blowout Liability Might Be Highly Debatable
Some tire blowout cases might involve extremely close calls, in terms of liability. For example, a tire that blows out shortly after purchase would be different than one that had been driven more than, let’s say, 30,000 miles. Or, if a nail was stuck in the tire days or weeks before the tire blew out. Sometimes, your mechanic may share some responsibility, if the defect could have been discovered the last time they worked on your car. But NONE of these potential liability arguments are easy, or automatic. And there are no hard and fast rules (for example, if the tire was driven more than 30K miles, the manufacturer still might be responsible). Again, tire accident blowout cases always depend highly on ALL facts of the case, which, in moderate to serious injuries cases, an Orlando car accident attorney would need to carefully investigate, and understand.
If the case has enough potential value to justify a lawsuit, then, ultimately, a jury may decide who shares what blame. In the meantime, your lawyer can only listen to the facts, then make his or her best educated guess regarding what a jury would likely think about who caused the accident.
Most Important Evidence In Tire Blowout Cases
Again, these cases are very fact specific. If you own the vehicle, try to get the tire and wheel. Also, take numerous photos of the tire, all vehicles involved in the accident, visible injuries, and accident scene, including close-up and wide shots of everything. Additionally, if there were any witnesses, try to get their names & contact information. If you don’t own the vehicle, call me right away so that we can begin the process of trying to get the tire & wheel. The tire & wheel are not always necessary. But having them would be very helpful, so that experts can determine the condition of the tire & wheel, and what caused the blowout. Expert testimony of this nature is useful in tire blowout lawsuits.
As with other accident cases, my top ten ways to get the most money from any car accident case always apply.
Probably the two biggest factual issues in tire blowout cases are the age of the tire, and how many miles the driver logged, using the same tire, before the blowout.
Legal Help For Tire Blowout Accident Cases
I’ve only shared the tip of the iceberg in terms of facts and details Orlando car accident attorneys would consider in moderate to serious injury cases. Experts carefully inspect the tires, if that expense is justified by the seriousness of the injuries, to determine what caused the blowout, and whether the accident or blowout could have been prevented. The best move if you were involved in a serious tire blowout accident is to call me. The issues can become quite complex, and will need careful evaluation from the beginning. Regardless of the severity of your injuries, you should always first try to get a lawyer, before speaking with any insurance company (including your own; although there are SHORT deadlines for contacting your insurance company, so call me quickly). Dealing with insurance companies without a lawyer is never a good idea, unless no lawyer will take your case, due to the lack of any significant injuries.
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