Woman, 39, Killed in Tire Blowout Accident
A 39-year-old Mississippi woman lost her life after her vehicle left the road and struck a number of trees. Highway Patrol said that the culprit was a blown tire. According to the report, the woman was not wearing her seatbelt at the time of the accident. Does that mean that her family wouldn’t be able to sue the tire company if they produced a defective tire? Not at all. In this article, we’ll discuss why contributing negligence to an accident is not a bar for recovery.
Committing Negligence Means Liability
The headline works both ways. Let’s assume that the tire manufacturer produced a defective tire. Further, the woman had only been driving on the tire for two months before the blowout occurred. The tires were properly inflated and installed correctly.
While any tire manufacturer named in a lawsuit would bring up the woman’s failure to wear a seatbelt as a factor that made her death much more likely, the seatbelt doesn’t tell the whole story. Further, it doesn’t absolve the tire manufacturer of its duty of care to produce a safe product for America’s drivers.
On the same token, the lack of a seatbelt exacerbated the accident and likely produced the fatal outcome. That means that while the tire manufacturer did contribute negligence, the plaintiff also contributed negligence. The plaintiffs in this case would be the victim’s estate and her close family members. But we don’t know. Had the woman been wearing her seatbelt, she may or may not have survived the accident.
How does a jury resolve this problem?
The court issues instructions to the jury to determine the liability of each party to the lawsuit. In other words, some of the liability is assigned to the plaintiff and some of the liability is assigned to the defendant. Let’s say that the plaintiffs do their job and show that the tire was manufactured defectively and this tire defect led to the accident that took the woman’s life. The jury determines that the tire manufacturer contributed 80% of the liability and assigned 20% of the liability to the driver who was not wearing her seatbelt.
The plaintiff would then be entitled to recover 80% of what the jury calculated as her total damages. In a wrongful death case, that would be medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages in the form of compensation to children and spouses of the deceased. Since the woman was only 39, she had 26 years of work left in her. Her wages would be prorated over the course of her 26 years of work and then paid to her dependents and her spouse. On top of wages, her spouse would be able to recover pain and suffering damages for loss of companionship and consortium. Her children would be entitled to recover damages for loss of moral guidance and love.
Talk to a Defective Tire Attorney in Florida
Did a tire blowout contribute to your accident? Allow the Coral Gables tire defect attorneys at Halpern, Santos & Pinkert to investigate the matter for you and determine if you have a case against the manufacturer.