In a split second, everything can change on the road for a truck driver. Truck tires may blow out without warning, causing a sudden emergency. At that point, chances are more likely than not that the truck will cause a catastrophic accident as it veers and tries to stop.
If an out-of-control truck collides with you in a tire blowout accident, you can be left with serious injuries. If someone else was to blame for the accident, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation. Reach out to the Columbia truck accident attorneys at Rikard & Protopapas to discuss your case during a free initial consultation.
Why Truck Tire Blowouts Are So Dangerous
Truck tire blowouts are one of the most dangerous occurrences on the road.
Even under the best of circumstances, it immediately becomes difficult for the truck driver to control the truck. The tires provide balance and a center of gravity for the truck. Even if one of the tires blew out, it would throw the truck off balance and increase the odds of the driver losing control of the truck or ending up in a rollover.
Dangers in a truck tire blowout include:
- The truck could drift out of its lane and into the path of other drivers.
- Tire debris could fly across the road, and other drivers can run over it.
- When the truck loses balance, cargo could fly from the truck and strike other cars or fall on the roadway.
- Other drivers may panic when they see a truck moving out of its lane.
Truck tire blowout accidents will almost always cause considerable injury.
These crashes occur at high speed, with few ways to avoid them. Neither the truck driver nor other drivers on the road can anticipate the accident. However, many tire blowouts are preventable.
Reasons for Truck Tire Blowouts
Generally, the main reason for truck tire blowouts is a lack of maintenance.
Under federal regulations, the trucking company can only put a truck on the road if it is roadworthy. They need to conduct periodic inspections and perform maintenance on the truck if necessary. In addition, the driver must visually inspect the truck before every shift. The two most common areas of required maintenance are the tires and brakes.
However, trucking companies have been known to cut corners wherever possible to boost their profits. Maintenance is an expense. Even if the trucking company can keep the truck on the road, tires are extremely expensive.
Semi truck tires can cost $300–$1,200. With 18 wheels on a truck, the trucking company must pay a lot of money to keep tires fresh and maintained.
Trucking companies may need to change tires every 25,000 to 75,000 miles.
They may try to squeeze more life out of the tires that are already on the truck.
Besides lack of maintenance, here are additional causes of truck tire blowouts:
- Improper cargo loading affects the center of gravity on the truck
- Loading too much weight onto the truck — while trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds fully loaded, they should not often be loaded that much
- Damage to the roadway
- Excessive heat wearing down the tires
- Underinflated tires
- Damaged treads on the tires
- Operator inexperience causes them to drive improperly on the tires, resulting in excessive wear and tear
Even the most experienced truck drivers may struggle to bring their trucks under control after a tire blowout. The truck driver has to execute a difficult set of maneuvers on a second’s notice without jamming on the brakes. They must have the presence of mind to execute these steps. Even then, it is still extremely hard to control an 80,000-pound truck without one of its 18 wheels.
Potential Defendants in a Truck Tire Blowout
Your attorney can help you find potential defendants in a tire blowout case.
The most obvious defendant in any truck accident lawsuit is the trucking company. They are the ones who are ultimately responsible for anything that goes wrong with the truck, whether it is driver error or a failure to properly maintain the truck.
The trucking company is legally responsible for the acts of its drivers that were committed within the scope of their employment. They are the ones who have the deepest pockets and the insurance coverage to pay for your damages.
The tire itself may have been the cause of the accident. While requiring significant evidence, you could sue the company that manufactured the tire, or the truck, in a product liability lawsuit. You would need to prove that the tire had one of the following types of defects:
You would likely need access to the tire to perform tests on it. Your attorney would work with a scientific expert to determine whether the tire was defective. You could lose evidence helpful to your case if you delay acting.
You may be able to sue a third party that was hired to inspect and maintain the truck. The trucking company also outsources cargo loading. The trucking company may still not be able to escape responsibility for what happened because they outsourced the function. They could be responsible for negligent hiring and retention.
Finally, you may be able to sue the government for the condition of the roadway when a poorly maintained highway caused the accident. However, there are damage limits on your case when you sue the government.
You need to cast a wide net to find all possible defendants in a truck blowout case to maximize your compensation.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney in Columbia, SC Today
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident involving a tire blowout, you may not have much time to begin your investigation. The sooner you hire an attorney, the more you can get to the bottom of the case while there is still evidence available. The attorneys at Rikard & Protopapas will learn the cause of the accident and help you take action against the responsible party. You can schedule a free initial consultation today by calling us at 803-978-6111 or by sending us a message online.