Trial Begins Over Allegedly Defective Michelin Tire
Michelin is facing a lawsuit after a motorcyclist was left paralyzed in a tire blowout accident. He and his wife were riding on the husband’s motorcycle when the motorcycle suffered a tire blowout. Both were thrown from the motorcycle and the husband was paralyzed in the accident. The accident report indicates that rear tire failure caused the driver to lose control of his bike. The plaintiffs contend that a manufacturing defect caused the tire to blowout for no reason. Michelin has responded by offering the same defense tire companies always offer in these situations: The maintenance of the tire is the responsibility of the owner and their failure to maintain the tire and ensure it was inflated properly resulted in the crash.
Analyzing the lawsuit
The plaintiff’s theory of the case rests on a manufacturing defect known as an open inner liner splice that allowed air to leak. Essentially, they contend that the tire was not properly fused together. Tires are inspected prior to being entered into the stream of commerce. Tires that don’t pass inspection should never enter the stream of commerce. In this case, the plaintiffs accuse Michelin of having poor quality control at their plant in Thailand which allegedly has had quality control issues in the past.
Michelin has countered by saying that the tire was not properly maintained. The defense does not need to present evidence of this in order to make the argument at trial. They just need to maintain that theory of what happened and snipe the prosecution’s arguments and theory of the case. The jury will be asked to determine whose accounting of events is the most likely.
How do lawyers win lawsuits like this?
It helps when you can establish that there is a known potential defect like an “open inner liner splice” that accounts for the tire failure. While underinflated tires have a propensity to weaken over time, the mere fact that a tire is underinflated is not a complete argument for the defense. To explain, underinflated tires should not blow out randomly. They should be strong enough to withstand mere underinflation. If the tire has been driven on for hundreds of miles while simultaneously being underinflated, the defense would have a stronger argument.
As it stands, this tends to be the only argument that tire companies offer in civil defense lawsuits. They will either blame the defendant for failing to maintain the tire or they will blame an extraneous third party who may or may not have contributed liability or even exist.
Talk to a Florida Tire Defect Attorney Today
Defective tire lawsuits are filed under a theory of product liability. If you’ve been injured due to a tire blowout accident, it may be possible to hold multiple parties accountable. If your injury is related to a tire on your own vehicle, you can file suit against the tire company. If your injury is related to a tire on a commercial truck, the company has a responsibility to maintain those tires. Call the Coral Gables tire defect attorneys at Halpern, Santos & Pinkert today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.