Continental Tire Loses Motion to Disclose Beer Drinking in Tire Lawsuit
Recently, a judge announced that Continental Tire will not be able to introduce evidence that the driver drank 9 to 12 beers the night before the fatal accident occurred. Toxicology reported that there was no evidence of alcohol in his bloodstream at the time of his death. The ruling means that the court believes that the fact that the driver had a good time the night before his death is irrelevant to the accident that took his life.
The plaintiff is alleging that the tire itself was defective and this is what led to the accident that took the driver’s life. However, as a personal injury plaintiff, you should be prepared for the defense to find any reason to blame you for the accident. Below, we’ll discuss why.
Blaming the Victim: A Tried and True Strategy
In civil court, liability is decided not in black and white, but in shades of gray. A plaintiff can be partly responsible for their own injury and still collect damages on the defendant’s percentage of the negligence. However, their total damages are reduced by the plaintiff’s own percentage of liability. So if a jury decides that the two parties are equally liable, the defendant would only have to pay 50% of the total damages.
So let’s say that Continental’s tire was defective and did lead to the accident. Let’s also assume that the man who was driving the vehicle drank 12 beers the night before. Let’s say those beers left him slightly impaired. That evidence could be used to reduce Continental’s liability and lay some of the blame for the accident on the defendant. If a jury agreed, the defendant would reduce their liability by whatever percentage of the blame was laid on the plaintiff.
In this case, the judge won’t allow the evidence into the trial. Why not? Well, in this case, the plaintiff’s toxicology report did not show any signs of alcohol in his system. This means that he either didn’t drink any alcohol the night before, or it had passed through his system completely when the tox screen was performed. This is significant because alcohol is detectable in your system for about 80 hours with advanced urine testing, but will only stay in the blood for about six hours.
Without corroborating evidence that the driver was impaired by alcohol, the evidence that the tire malfunctioned resulting in his death is the most likely significant cause of his death. If the defendant were able to produce valid evidence that the driver was inebriated at the time that he was driving, that could be used to diminish the defendant’s liability. But the defendant must be specific. What did the driver do specifically that caused the crash? Did he run a red light? Did he make an unsafe lane change? Was he driving too fast? No, his tire blew out and he died.
Talk to a Florida Defective Tire Lawyer Today
If you believe tire failure contributed to your accident, call the Coral Gables tire defect attorneys at Halpern, Santos & Pinkert today to request a free case evaluation.