The Case of the Exploding Snowblower Tires
While we may not get a lot of snow down here in Florida, our neighbors to the north have special concerns when it comes to tires. Not only do they need tires suited to snowy and icy conditions, but they also need snowblowers. While it may not be readily apparent for us, snowblowers do indeed have tires. They’re small tires but they’re still tires. Well, a while back the tires associated with the MTD brand of snowblowers had a serious problem: They exploded.
This spawned a class action lawsuit that made international headlines in 2005 and 2006. While some cases of tire litigation involve defective tire failure happening on the roads and during travel, other cases involve the production of defective tires that explode while being inflated. If you’re wondering how a snowblower tire can spawn a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit, it’s not because the tires went flat during the act of snow blowing, it’s because they exploded while they were being fitted to the snowblower.
Those who drive in colder climates now that their tire pressure will go down in the winter months. The colder it is, the less air pressure the tire has. Maintaining tire pressure is key to driving in colder climates. The same holds true for snowblowers. The cold air causes the rubber on the tires to constrict which makes it more brittle over time. When your snowblower tires go flat, what do you do? You try to inflate them. And that’s where the problem came into play.
The MTD brand of snowblowers had a fatal flaw. In this case, the manufacturers used a plastic that has come under fire for its capacity to fracture and send shrapnel in the faces of victims.
Bead Failures and Tires
Tire bead failures can happen for any of a number of reasons. In some cases, the tire does seat properly and when pressure is applied during installation, the tire can explode causing serious injury or even death.
When the tire manufacturer can be held responsible it’s because a plaintiff’s attorney has sufficiently demonstrated that the tire had a propensity for bead failure. In some cases, the bead fails while the car is in motion. Typically, this is caused by severe underinflation. When this happens, the tire can completely separate from the wheel.
In cases like these, it’s more difficult to prove that the tire installer (who is generally the primary victim) didn’t contribute to the circumstances involving their own injury. Since tire installers are expected to have some level of expertise in tire inflation, installation, and replacement, attorneys for the plaintiffs need to show that bead failure was the primary cause of the accident.
In the case of snowblowers, however, the individuals working on the tires are not tire experts. They rely on their own know-how and whatever information is provided by the snowblower manufacturer. This allows plaintiff’s attorneys more options on how to make their claim. In other words, they can allege that the snowblower manufacturer failed to warn or adequately explain the process of correctly inflating the tire.
Talk to a Defective Tire Attorney Today
The Coral Gables tire defect attorneys at the office of Halpern, Santos & Pinkert have litigated claims related to injuries sustained during tire beading. Talk to us today to set up a free consultation.