Expert Witnesses in Tire Failure Lawsuits
A recently-dismissed lawsuit shows the importance of expert witnesses in a tire failure case. A couple had their lawsuit tossed when a judge ruled that their expert witness had no scientific basis for claiming that the rear tire in a motorcycle accident caused the accident to occur. The couple alleged that the rear tire was leaking air which caused the tire to unseat from the rim. Goodyear argued that the tire unseated from the rim during the accident as opposed to causing it. In the end, the couple lost the case because they could not prove otherwise.
So how exactly does a good expert witness provide credible testimony in a tire failure lawsuit? We’ll answer that question below.
Tire Failure Lawsuits are Notoriously Complex
The tire, for obvious reasons, is the single most important piece of evidence in a tire failure lawsuit. Defects to the tire or a credible theory on why it failed remain important to the case alleging negligence. Typically, a tire manufacturer will blame the victim. They will claim that the tire was underinflated, overinflated, or, when that doesn’t work, imply that a road condition was responsible.
Victims seldom have access to the shredded tire because they are being placed onto stretchers to get life-saving treatment. So that alone complicates the matter and tire manufacturers fully exploit that to their own advantage.
Proving a tire-failure lawsuit can include any of the following:
- Evidence that manufacturing quotas impacted the quality of the production process. In one instance, Goodyear was hit with a $33 million verdict after the plaintiff’s attorney showed that manufacturing quotas impacted safety initiatives at one plant in Virginia.
- Evidence that the tire failure with a particular model had happened before. In the case of the Goodyear G159, the tire had been implicated in numerous blowouts related to recreational vehicles. That evidence could be presented at trial to sway a jury.
In both of these situations, having a solid theory as to why the failure occurred requires the testimony of an expert witness. Expert witnesses are often those with expertise in the area of automotive accidents and ensure that jurors have a basis for understanding why it was the manufacturer’s fault that the tire failed.
In the case of the G159, which has seen several lawsuits, the history of the tire is important and establishing the fact that it has resulted in several, often fatal, tire failures is important as well. But without a scientific explanation, that alone isn’t enough to prove the case. The expert witness will describe why the tire fails so often. In this case, it’s related to heat generated at highway speeds causing the rubber to harden and crack leading to tire failure. Expert witnesses are often the key to successful tire failure litigation.
Tire Failure Attorneys with a History of Success
You don’t want just any personal injury attorney to litigate your tire failure claim. You want attorneys with a track record of success. Talk to the Coral Gables tire defect attorneys at Halpern, Santos & Pinkert today for more information on filing a tire failure claim.