Since the massive recall of Bridgestone Firestone tires in the early 2000s, public awareness has been heightened with respect to the dangers posed by defective tires. Tire failure claims most often arise out of accidents that result from tread separations when the vehicle’s tread actually separates or peels off of the underlying carcass or body of the tire. When this occurs it can have dramatic effects on how a vehicle will react when the driver makes steering corrections to try to maintain control and can lead to lose of control and rollover accidents.
Studies show maintaining tire pressure, observing tire and vehicle load limits, avoiding road hazards and regular inspections are keys to avoiding tire failures.
Similarly, if properly maintained and inflated tires fail within their useful life, design or manufacturing defects may exist. As in most product cases, the first hours and days after an accident can make or break your ability to prove the facts in a tire failure case. By taking immediate action, you can protect your case. The following information details the critical first steps upon intake of a potential tire case:
Preserve the Scene and Evidence. Documentation is crucial for your expert in these types of cases, so it is vital you take the steps needed to fully document the evidence that will support your claim. Hire an investigator to photograph the scene as soon as possible after an accident involving a tire failure. Photographs should include yaw marks, gouge marks, and indentations on the ground. It is equally critical in these cases that steps are taken to find all of the pieces of tread that may have separated and to accurately document where they were found. Have a surveyor or engineer conduct a scene survey. This survey will be critical down the road for your accident reconstruction expert, as well as the design or manufacturing defect experts, to use in forming their opinions. It is also important to save all of the other tires on the vehicle at the time as they may provide valuable information.
Locate, Preserve and Move the Vehicle. The vehicle or vehicles involved will also be critical in proving the facts of your case, thus locate it and issue preservation letters to the possessor of the vehicle (e.g. a tow yard or property insurer) as soon as possible. Once the vehicle has been obtained for preservation, it must be moved to a covered, secure facility. Before taking possession and moving the vehicle, have your investigator take detailed photographs. It is important to transport any vehicle involved in an auto accident under investigation on a car carrier. Evidence vehicles should be kept at a safe storage facility or warehouse that is secure.
Interview The Witnesses. Eyewitness testimony can be key to proving the facts of your case. Interview the eyewitnesses as soon as possible after the crash. Videotaping the statements will provide the added benefit of testimony to be used during future depositions or at trial.
Hire an Experienced Tire Expert. Hire a skilled and reputable tire expert to conduct a forensic examination of the tire and other evidence gathered as part of your investigation. After examining the tire and facts, your expert should be able to tell you whether or not you have a case and the potential defenses that will likely arise.
Collaborate with an Experienced Tire Attorney. Finally, consult with a products liability attorney to who has experience in litigating tire cases, as such consultation or collaboration can often prove invaluable in navigating the unique obstacles in these cases.
As Tire Failure attorneys we can help
If you suspect tire failure to be the cause of a serious injury or death,contact Didier Law Firm today for a free evaluation of your case. As tire failure lawyers we have extensive experience in litigating car accidents involving tire failures, and stand ready to bring our knowledge and expertise to bear for consumers injured by a tire failure.
References: NHTSA Tire Safety: Everything Rides On It, DOT HS 361 809