A tire blowout occurs when a tire on a vehicle explodes or detaches from the vehicle. This occurrence presents many dangers and risks for the driver of the vehicle as well as other drivers on the road.
Tire blowout injuries can occur when one or more of the following situations happens:
- Tire or tire debris scattering and causing direct injuries from contact with the tire or debris;
- Automobile crashes which result from running over the tire debris;
- Crashes resulting from an attempt to swerve away from and avoid the tire; and
- Accidents where the driver of the vehicle with the tire blowout loses control.
Because of this, tire blowout occurrences can be very dangerous, especially when they occur at high speeds, in heavy traffic, or in dangerous driving conditions, which may include:
- Rain and snow;
- Downhill roads;
- Icy roads; and
- Other dangerous driving situations.
A tire blowout is a common cause of accidents that involve tractor trailer crashes. Injuries that result from a tire blowout crash may be serious. These types of accidents may cause:
- Head and neck injuries;
- Spine injuries; and
- Other types of injuries.
Who can be Held Liable for a Tire Blowout?
In many cases, a tire blowout is accidental. However, in some cases, there are parties that can be held liable for injuries or property damage that were caused by the tire blowout.
For example, if the owner of a vehicle is aware that their tires need repair or replacing, but they still continue to drive with the tires in that condition, they may be held liable for a resulting accident.
Similarly, if a commercial truck driver knew or should have known that their vehicle’s tires were in need of replacing and they continued to drive on those tires, they may be held liable for negligence. In certain cases, the trucking company may also be held liable if it fails to train company drivers property regarding replacements and repairs on tires.
Some tire blowouts may also be caused by a defect in the tire. For example, if the manufacturer used materials which were defective when making the tire, which caused it to be weaker than it should be, the manufacturer may be held liable for injuries that result from a tire blowout due to the defect.
What are the Legal Remedies for a Tire Blowout Claim?
Tire blowout cases may involve major property damage and serious injury, which may result in legal action. Legal remedies in these types of cases typically involve a monetary damages award, which is given to the party who is not liable for the property damages or injuries.
The monetary damages award may cover expenses, including:
- Medical costs;
- Hospital bills;
- Property repairs;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of future income; and
- Other costs related to the accident.
In certain cases, there may be multiple plaintiffs who may be involved if several parties were injured in the same accident.
What Types of Damages Can I Recover in an Auto Accident Lawsuit?
There are two major categories of damages which an individual can recover in an auto accident lawsuit, compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are damages awarded in the form of money which is paid by the negligent driver to the individuals in the other vehicle in order to compensate them for their losses.
Compensatory damages are intended to cover the losses from an auto accident which can be proven, including:
- The cost to repair or replace the damaged vehicle. The damages to repair or replace a vehicle may include the cost of renting a replacement vehicle while repair work is being completed;
- An individual who is injured by a negligent driver can expect to get damages to pay the costs of medical care, which may include costs for:
- hospital stays; and
- If an individual injured in an auto accident cannot do their job as a result of the accident, they can be compensated for their lost wages; and
- An injured driver or passenger may also claim compensation for their pain and suffering.
In some cases, it may also be possible to collect compensation for losses which would be expected in the future. For example, in severe cases, an individual may not be able to work in the same type of employment that they were working in prior to the accident. The individual would then be able to collect compensation for financial losses resulting from this issue.
An injured driver may also require long-term care in a nursing facility. A negligent driver can expect to pay for the cost of this long term care. In order to provide a reliable estimate regarding the amount of expected future losses, it may be necessary to consult with an expert.
Can I Recover Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages is additional compensation in the form of money that a negligent driver may be required to pay if they acted with intentional misconduct or extreme recklessness. Extreme recklessness may include conduct such as driving with excessive speed.
The majority of automobile accidents involve simple negligence. Negligence includes conduct such as not stopping fast enough to avoid hitting the vehicle in front of an individual’s vehicle at a red light. If a driver who caused an automobile accident engaged in conduct which was simple negligence, the injured parties will likely not collect punitive damages.
Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, however, may be awarded if the negligent driver engaged in conduct such as:
- Gross violations of road rules and traffic laws;
- Driving while intoxicated, DUI or DWI;
- Incompetence, especially if a driver is unlicensed; and
- Driving while being aware that the vehicle was in poor condition.
The intent of punitive damages is to punish a negligent driver for their gross misconduct. These damages are awarded in addition to compensatory damages. Therefore, if an injured driver’s vehicle was not damaged or the driver was not injured, the driver would not be awarded punitive damages.
Additionally, some states impose a limit on the amount of punitive damages which can be awarded. Typically, these limits require that the punitive damages award amount be relatively proportionate to the compensatory damages.
In other words, the punitive damages are required to be reasonable when compared to compensatory damages. For example, if a driver is awarded $5,000 in compensatory damages, they may expect punitive damages in the amount of $500,000, but not likely $5 million. An award of millions would likely not be considered proportionate to the compensatory damages award.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Tire Blowout Lawsuit?
It is essential to have the assistance of a car accident lawyer for help with a tire blowout lawsuit. A car accident lawsuit can be complex and extremely difficult to navigate without the assistance of an attorney.
Your attorney can ensure that the negligent driver’s insurance company pays you the full amount of damages to which you are entitled. They will also know when it is necessary to consult with an expert regarding fault or the amount of damages.
Your attorney can assist you throughout the lawsuit process, assist you in presenting the best case possible for your recovery, and negotiate with the liable party for a settlement, if one is offered. Having an attorney on your case gives you the best chance at recovery for your losses.