Arkansas Court of Appeals Upholds Ruling Against Hankook Tire
The issue in this lawsuit was quality control. In 2016, Hankook Tire lost a verdict to a plaintiff who was severely injured after a tire blowout caused him to be ejected through the windshield of a dump truck. Hankook appealed the decision, but the verdict was upheld with prejudice, meaning they will not be able to refile.
The jury held Hankook Tires and Hankook Tires America separately liable for the man’s death. The court also ordered an inspection of Hankook Tires parent factory in South Korea. The appellate court also upheld sanctions and award of attorney’s fees to the plaintiff for “unnecessary abuse of the discovery process”. Hankook will be required to pay $1.2 million to the plaintiff for injuries related to the accident.
Tires and Dump Trucks
Dump trucks, as in most commercial and industrial vehicles, are required to be able to haul tons at a time. The pressure on the tires is enormous. In the case mentioned above, the tread failed, separating from the tire casing. This caused the vehicle to come to an abrupt halt and the driver (who was unlikely to be wearing his seatbelt at the time) to be ejected through the windshield.
This is a matter that some who are filing lawsuits against others don’t understand well. There are thousands of lawsuits each year that could have been filed but weren’t because prospective plaintiffs don’t understand that they can be partly to blame for an accident and still recover damages.
In this case, the defense would raise the fact that the plaintiff was not wearing a seatbelt to reduce their own liability. However, they cannot remove it completely.
Each state has its own rules when it comes to how much liability a plaintiff can contribute before their lawsuit is voided. In most states, it’s 50%. In a few states, the law deviates from the 50% rule. In some cases, a plaintiff can contribute no liability at all, while in other places, a plaintiff must contribute less than some other percentage of liability. But in pure comparative fault states like California and Florida, a plaintiff can contribute 99% of the liability and still recover damages. But their damages are decreased by the defendant’s percentage of liability.
Since the defendant was likely not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident, and that’s why he was ejected through the dump truck windshield, his damages were likely reduced by whatever percentage of blame the jury awarded to the defendant because the plaintiff was not wearing his seatbelt. However, that doesn’t absolve Hankook of their liability. They produced a defective tire and then failed to inspect it on its way out the door and into the stream of commerce. This resulted in a man becoming permanently injured.
Talk to a Defective Tire Attorney Today
If you believe that tire failure played a role in your car accident, contact the Coral Gables tire defect attorneys at Halpern, Santos & Pinkert today for a free consultation. We’ll investigate the tire and the likely cause of the blowout, and if we believe the tire company is to blame, we’ll take your case. Call today to learn more.