Tire Defect Lawsuits: Is it the Manufacturer’s Fault?
In 2016, The Safety Institute sponsored a study that showed that accidents related to tire defects were on the rise. The study found that, between 2013 and 2014, fatalities related to defective tires rose over 10% while fatalities related to other forms of vehicle accident rose only three-tenths of a percent. This is a fairly startling number given that the technology for fabricating tires should ostensibly be improving.
The numbers gleaned by The Safety Institute are much higher than those collected by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). The NHTSA, however, is an underfunded government agency that lacks the resources to investigate major tire companies like Goodyear.
How The Safety Institute Collects Data vs. the NHTSA
According to The Safety Institute, the disparity in numbers can be traced to how the NHTSA collects data. The Safety Institute bases its analysis on data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) which is a database maintained by the NHTSA, but not used for reporting fatalities in tire-defect accidents. The FARS database counts deaths of those in other vehicles and pedestrians. Instead, the NHTSA uses the Crashworthiness Data System that surveys a small sample of traffic accidents and extrapolates based on that sample.
In other words, the NHTSA may be underreporting the number of accidents in which defective tires played a significant role. That being said, determining whether or not the tire was at fault for an accident requires a thorough investigation. In some cases, the tire may be old, no longer warrantied, or poorly maintained by the driver. In other cases, there could be a manufacturing or design defect that caused the accident. When the latter is true, the tire manufacturer is liable for any injuries to the driver.
Is the Tire Blowout the Manufacturer’s Fault?
In product liability lawsuits, a plaintiff does not have to prove negligence. This is known as strict liability. If the plaintiff was using the product within its intended parameters and it caused their injury, they can sue the manufacturer for damages and likely win.
There are three subtypes of product liability lawsuits. Those are:
- Those that allege that the product was defectively designed. In this case, there is something intrinsically wrong with the design of a product that makes it dangerous to those who purchase it.
- Those that allege that there was a manufacturing defect. In this case, the design of a product is sound but something went wrong during manufacturing that made the product dangerous.
- Those that allege that the manufacturer failed to warn a consumer about the dangers of a product. In this case, the manufacturer neglected to warn the consumer about a potentially dangerous use of the product.
Contact Halpern, Santos, & Pinkert: The Tire Defect Attorneys
The legal team at Halpern, Santos & Pinkert, P.A. in Florida sues tire companies when their products cause preventable injuries to consumers. If you believe your tires are to blame for a traffic accident, give us a call or contact us online for a free case evaluation.