How To Know If A Tire Defect Caused Your Accident
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UPDATED: Feb 7, 2020
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We’ve all heard the saying ‘Accidents Happen’. However, finding out what caused that accident to happen in the first place is often difficult. In the case of many recreational vehicle (RV) accidents, experts are beginning to see a trend in the cause – the Goodyear 275/70 tire.
We asked Rick Morrison, a product liability attorney and a member of the Advocate Law Group network how the average consumer would know whether their accident was caused by a tire defect. According to Morrison, “Well, the lay person probably wouldn’t know – especially with the Goodyear 275/70. You are basically going to be riding on the road and you’re going have what most people would call a blowout. Essentially what happens is the tread comes apart and you’ll hear the slapping of the tread on the wheelbase so to speak, so that’s the only way you can really tell it’s a defective tire.”
Will the defect be reported in the police report?
The police report that is filed in a typical accident may list the cause of the accident if it is known. However, tire failure is often a symptom in an accident – not the cause. Morrison says that police reports are often too generic in this sense. “I’ve seen in actual reports that there is a tire failure. However, will the police officer get specific and say this is a de-tread or a side tire blowout? No. Sometimes you do see accident reports that do note that there was a tire failure. In fact, in a case I’ve got right now, the accident report did note that there was a tire failure. However, they won’t go any further. They’ll be very general, but there may be a note that there is a tire failure.”
Save the tire
If you’ve been in an accident, you normally wouldn’t think of immediately collecting the evidence from the road. However, that’s what Morrison advises – and with good reason. “I would make sure that you preserve the tire. Make sure you not only get all of what you have left, but also the pieces of rubber that will be all over the highway. You’ll want to preserve the tire and then also seek out consultants, like attorneys, who specialize and talk with them to see if you can’t determine whether your accident was caused by a defect with the tire.”
Product liability vs. negligence
Tire defect cases are a different animal than auto accidents. Tire defects will be product liability lawsuits, whereas auto accidents are generally negligence claims unless there was something wrong with the car itself. Morrison explained, “An auto accident case is usually where you have someone not operating their car appropriately, where they’re speeding, where they fail to yield the right of way, etc. They run into you and cause the accident. In a tire defect case, you’re operating a vehicle, oftentimes at highway speeds of 70, 75, 80 miles per hour. If your tire fails due to a de-tread, it can cause you to lose control. In most of your auto accident cases, you have another party who’s responsible for causing the accident. Here, you have a product that’s defective and causes the accident.”