South Carolina Defective Tire Attorneys
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), faulty tires cause approximately 8,000 accidents each year in the United States. After these accidents, drivers and passengers face medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. Some accidents can even result in death. Victims and their families face physical and emotional pain. These accidents can give rise to a South Carolina wrongful death claim.
Who is at Fault
Determining who is to blame when a tire malfunctions can depend on whether the malfunction occurred as the result of a faulty design, a mistake during the manufacturing process, problems during mounting and installation of the tires, or the tires being improperly maintained.
Types of Tire Defects
Tread separation occurs when the treads of the tire actually begin to separate from the rim. Although steel rims provide a strong base for the tire, they are problematic because the rubber treading will not adhere to the steel. If the tire is not designed and manufactured using technology that will overcome that problem, the treading can separate from the rim. This design or manufacturing defect can cause the tire to suddenly fail.
Installing Tires That are not Proper for the Vehicle
When tires are installed, it is important to make sure that the new tires are the proper size to fit the car’s rims. Failure to do so may cause the tires to malfunction. Also, tires are rated by the maximum speed at which they can safely operate. When installing tires, it is best to make sure that their speed rating is higher than the maximum speed of the car. Oversized tires have become popular on SUVs. This can be dangerous, as it raises the vehicle’s center of gravity and makes it more prone to rollover accidents.
Defects Arising During Mounting and Inflation
- Debeading or Tire Bead Failure: The beads of a tire are a bundle of wires that are key to maintaining inflation. If a tire is improperly designed or manufactured, or is installed on a mismatched rim, tire bead failure can occur. This leads to an immediate loss of pressure which can often cause a violent explosion that can result in serious bodily harm.
- Multi-Piece Rims and Wheels: Some configurations of wheels and rims are multi-piece and can explode, causing injury or death to tire mounters. The danger is so grave that OSHA requires repair shops that work on multi-piece rims and wheels to provide special safety cages for their employees.
- Zipper Failures: These failures occur when the sidewall of the tire bursts during inflation, which can injure a technician working on the tire.
Proper Tire Safety
By safely maintaining your tires, not only can you avoid car breakdowns and accidents, you can improve your car’s handling and get better fuel economy. According to the NHTSA, drivers should inspect their tires once a month and:
- Check tire pressure and make sure it matches the tire pressure in your car’s owner’s manual
- Check while driving to see if there is evidence of tire vibration or misalignment
- Inspect the tires for cracked or bulging sidewalls, uneven or excess tread wear, or other signs of trouble
- Check the treads for foreign objects and remove anything you find
- Make sure all the valves have caps
It is also important to make sure that you do not overload tires. Your owner’s manual should tell you how much weight your car can safely bear. Keep in mind that when pulling a trailer, part of the weight of the load is carried by the car. While driving, it is important to slow down at pot holes, speed bumps and railroad tracks. Avoid running over curbs or hitting against them while parking.
The Transportation Reporting Enhancement Accountability and Documentation Act of 2000 (TREAD) requires tire manufacturers to notify the NHTSA about reported defects. You can check if a recall has been issued on your tires by visiting safercar.org.
What if you are Injured as a Result of a Tire Defect
All tire manufacturers are required to comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, which means that they must manufacture tires to meet reasonable safety standards. However, tire companies often fail to do so.
In 2000 and 2001, Bridgestone/Firestone recalled millions of tires after it was discovered that hundreds of accidents that occurred due to defects in tires the company manufactured. These accidents frequently resulted in injury and death. The next year, a similar recall was issued by Continental Tires. Tire companies often try to blame accident victims by claiming that these victims improperly maintained the tires or did not properly respond when the tire failed. An attorney who has experienced in lawsuits involving car accidents can help victims get compensation for their injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a tire failure, call the South Carolina car accident attorneys at Strom Law Firm, LLC, at 803-252-4800.
By: South Carolina Accident and Personal Injury Attorney Pete Strom