If you or your loved one is involved in an accident due to defective tires, you may file a personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor, or the tire seller. You do not have to prove or show who was responsible for the defect. You only have to show that the tire was defective and that it caused the accident. There are several causes of faulty tires, including design defects, manufacturing defects, and the failure to warn users of the problems with the tire. By filing a personal injury lawsuit, you will hold the tire manufacturer responsible for his/her negligence. Orange County Personal Injury Attorney assists victims who may have suffered injuries due to defective tires to seek compensation.

 Understanding Personal Injury Law in California

Many personal injury lawsuits in California revolve around car accidents. While operating vehicles on the road, drivers have to exercise reasonable care. If a driver violates this care and leads to the injury of another person, personal injury law allows the victim to recoup his or her losses. California is a tort or fault state for car accidents. If an accident happens and the car driver is not at fault, the person or the party responsible for the accident has to compensate the victims. If a car accident occurs due to a defective tire, the driver may not be at fault because he/she does not influence the design of the tire. In this case, you would need an experienced attorney to help you prove the case and seek compensation.

In California, when a person suffers injuries due to the negligence of another person, the law allows the person to take legal action and sue the individual or party responsible for his/her damages. Filing a personal injury lawsuit allows the injured person to get monetary compensation for losses incurred. It is essential to seek guidance while filing a personal injury lawsuit. An attorney will help you to understand the basics of California personal injury law.

The attorney also helps you understand how to apply the law to your injury lawsuit. You have to file the lawsuit within the applicable statutes of limitations.  Statutes of limitations refer to the deadline within which an injured party must file a lawsuit against the party at fault. If you fail to file the lawsuit within the set statute of limitations, you may miss the compensation. In California, you have to file a personal injury lawsuit within two years from the time of the injury. Some injuries may be hard to discover, and you may only learn later on that you had suffered specific injuries in an accident. In this case, you would have up to twelve months from the time you discovered the damage to file a lawsuit.

Compensation for Car Accidents in California

Car accidents are prevalent in California, given that the state is busy and always bustling with activity. Due to the prevalence of car accidents, the state has put in place some strict measures and car accident compensation laws. The laws help protect t drivers and other motorists who suffer injuries due to the negligence of other parties. When handling car accidents, the state uses either "at fault" or the pure comparative negligence.

Like many other states in the United States, California uses the "at fault" system. This system also goes by the name tort system and is common while filing insurance claims. While you are seeking compensation for injuries suffered in a car accident, you have to show proof of the party at fault to get compensation. California is also a pure comparative negligence state. Therefore, if you feel that your case extends beyond filing a personal injury claim, you may as well file a legal complaint against the party at fault. The court will consider all the parties at fault and apportion the fault accordingly.

Defective Tires and Car Accidents

For you to be able to understand how defective tires lead to vehicle accidents, you have to know how a tire works. You also have to understand the different parts of the tire. A tire consists of several parts, including the body ply. This is the main body of the tire, and it consists of layers of plies made from polyester cord. The plies lay perpendicular to the tread. The plies are responsible for giving the tire its strength. Tires also consist of the tread, which encounters the road. The tread has a grooved pattern, which allows water to escape from the surface of the tire. In challenging road conditions, layers of tread help to improve traction.

 The layers between the plies and the treads are the tire belts and are often consisting of thin steel or other hard material coated with rubber. The belts help to position the plies and help to keep the treads flat, allowing for better road contact. In case of a puncture, the belts prevent the tire from immediate damage. The tire has inner plies often marked with details about the tire manufacturer and the size of the tire. The sidewall helps to protect the inner plies. 

Tires also consist of a bead, which is a reinforced loop mainly consisting of rubber-coated steel. The bead helps to keep the tire in position on the rim of the car. The most interior layer of the tire is the inner liner. The liner helps to seal out air.

A design defect may occur on any part of the tire. However, many defects often occur in parts of the tire, which are not properly bonded, and this makes the parts separate when the tire is in use. One of the leading reasons for tire recall is the separation of the tread from the belt. This separation often occurs when the plies beneath begin to separate. A tire blowout usually occurs if the tread separates from the rest of the tire. This blowout may lead to vehicle damage or accidents, which may lead to severe, permanent injuries even when you are driving at low speeds. 

The bead is also a vulnerable part of the tire. The bead plays a crucial role because it holds the tire to the rim. If the bead fails, the tire deflates abruptly and may even come off the rim. This may make a vehicle driver lose control of the vehicle. 

Understanding Manufacturing Defects

A manufacturing defect refers to an error that may occur during the production of the tire. The error then causes the tire to differ from the manufacturer's specifications and design.  The defect may also make the product to differ from the other units of the same product line.

You can tell that a tire has a manufacturing defect if you compare the tire with other types of a similar type made by the same manufacturer.  If there is a difference between the tire and the other tires, it may be an indication of the presence of a defect. For a tire-manufacturing defect, the victim can prove liability by proving that the defendant is responsible for manufacturing, distributing, or selling the tire. The victim may also show that the tire contained a manufacturing defect when it was leaving the manufacturer's possession. The plaintiff must have suffered an injury. The tire's defect must have substantially contributed to the damage to the plaintiff. 

Design Defect

Just like in the case of a manufacturing defect, a design defect may also make a tire malfunction and lead to an accident. A tire defect might qualify as a design defect if the tire did not perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would expect upon using the tire in a reasonably foreseeable manner. A tire may also have a design defect if the benefits of the tire's design do not outweigh the risk of danger posed by design. 

To be liable for defective tires, it must be evident that the defendant was responsible for manufacturing, distributing, and selling the tires. It must also be apparent that the tire failed to perform safely as an ordinary consumer would expect. The plaintiff must have suffered injuries, and the tire's failure must have substantially contributed to the damage to the victim.  In a case of strict liability, the victim may not even have to sue the tire designing and manufacturing company because the company may be automatically liable. 

Warning Defect

A tire manufacturer, distributor, or seller may be liable for failing to provide adequate warnings or safety instructions to the consumers of the tires. For the defendant to face charges, it must be evident that an ordinary consumer would not have recognized the risks. It must also be clear that the defendant did not adequately warn the consumers of the potential risks. The plaintiff must have suffered harm due to inadequate warnings. 

Specific Causes Accidents Resulting from Defective Tires

Tires play a significant role in a vehicle. The tire plays a crucial role as it transfers the weight of the car to the ground via the axle. The tire is also responsible for providing steering and traction. While a vehicle is at high speeds, tires help drivers to control the vehicle and move away from obstacles. If a tire fails, it often causes the driver to be unable to control the car. This loss of control may lead to an accident making the driver, the passengers, and other road users suffer injuries. Tire failures like tread separation often result from manufacturing defects and design defects. Tire failure may also result from using sub-standard products while making or repairing tires. 

Tread Separation

This is a hazardous form of tire failure. It occurs when the tire's tread separates from its body or casing. Once the tread starts to disintegrate from the other parts of the tire, the process is known as delamination and may make the driver lose control of the vehicle. Tread separation may take place in newly purchased tires, mainly due to manufacturing defects or design problems.  Tread separation is also common in retreaded tires, especially if faulty materials were used for retreading the tires. Tread separation may also occur due to improper repair of a flat tire.

Other causes of tread separation include excessive wear. Your tires may have exceeded the recommended number of miles, and this would call for a replacement. If you keep overworking the tire, the excess wear on the already worn-out tires may raise the risk of tread separation leading to a tire blowout. Your careless driving habits may also lead to tread separation. Careless driving habits may include driving at high speeds and constantly hitting on potholes. The judge is able to point out the parties at fault in a defective tire accident.

Tire Explosions and Blowouts

A tire blowout may occur when you are driving at high speed. The blowout may occur due to tread separation, manufacturing defects, and design defects. A blowout mainly occurs if the rubber loses its bond with other components like the internal steel belting. The rubber may also lose its bond with fabric reinforcement, and this may result in a rapid release of trapped air leading to an explosion. 

A tire blowout may also occur due to the negligence of the vehicle owner or negligence. Negligent conduct includes overloading vehicles or using a bad tire. If you are driving at great speed, a tire explosion may make you unable to control the car. You may then get off the road and crash into another vehicle or a barrier. 

Tire Sidewall Collapse

A tire sidewall collapse is also a common form of tire failure. Several factors may lead to a tire sidewall collapse. The factors include under-inflation. Under-inflation may result from tire damage to the negligence of the driver. The condition occurs if the tire loses air below the normal range. All tires lose air over time; however, old and poorly maintained tires may lose air faster than tires in good condition. A tire with little air will not have the strength to support the weight of the vehicle and its occupants.  This will lead to heat buildup making the tire dissipate. A sidewall collapse is common in warmer months, and if it occurs on a highway, it may lead to an accident. In this case, both the driver and the tire manufacturing company would be at fault.

A sidewall collapse may also occur due to the overloading of the vehicle. The tires can overheat and explode if a car carries more than its capacity. An overloaded vehicle is too unstable, and the driver may have a hard time controlling the car, especially on the highway, after a sidewall collapse. If a tire defect occurs due to the overloading of the vehicle, liability will fall on the driver or the vehicle operator. 

A tire sidewall collapse may occur due to uneven tire wear. When a tire wears out, a driver may be able to notice the wear and proceed to replace the tire. However, the situation may be different in the case of uneven tire wear because it is not easy to notice. The driver may be thinking that a tire is in good condition, yet it is not. Uneven tire wear may lead to exposure of the cord while the rest of the tire's tread is in good condition. If it is evident that the uneven tire wear is resulting from the use of inferior or defective materials, the tire manufacturer may be at fault for the accident. 

The Party to Blame for a Defective Tire

If the vehicle tire was faulty when purchased by the consumer, the victim does not have to prove who is liable for the tire defect.  According to the California "product liability" laws, it would be evident that the party to blame is the manufacturer or the designer of the tires. The party responsible for selling the defective product may also be to blame for the faulty tires.

Strict liability is applicable in cases involving tire defects.  According to the strict liability law, the end customer may not know the cause of a tire defect. A defect may result from several factors, including a flaw in product design or a problem in manufacturing. The defect may also have occurred at some point depending on the handling of the tire before it reached an innocent buyer. Product liability cases in California allow the victim or the plaintiff to claim without proving that a particular party was at fault.

In cases involving product defects, strict liability laws may apply. The law may apply in cases involving manufacturing defects, warning defects, and design defects. Manufacturing defects are one of the first mistakes that lead to car accidents. The manufacturer has a duty to test the tires before releasing the tires to the market. Tires with a low-speed rating are prone to damage, which mainly occur due to overheating. Other manufacturing defects that may lead to tire explosions include wrong designing and inadequate rubber components. This defect may make the tire debead at the rim and result in full deflation.

If the tire manufacturer uses imbalanced components or if there is a presence of impurities or moisture in the tire at the time of manufacturing, it may lead to safety hazards. The impurities may lead to a radial tear of the tire from the bead to the tread. This tear often appears as a tire sidewall and may cause an accident. 

Negligence on Handling the Tire after Sale

The tire may have been fine at the time the user bought it. If this is the case, another party but not the manufacturer may be liable for the accident resulting from defective tires.  Some of the potentially responsible parties include the mechanic, the used tire seller, the tire repair shop, or the vehicle owner.  According to the California negligence law, the negligent/at-fault party is responsible for compensating the victims for the damages and losses suffered during the accident.  During the personal injury lawsuit involving negligence, the plaintiff has to prove that the defendant acted negligently and that the negligence caused the accident. This is different from a case a strict liability where the plaintiff does not have to show that the defendant was negligent.

There are several elements of negligence. The plaintiff has to prove that the defendant owed him or her duty of care. It must also be evident that the defendant did not honor or breached the duty of care that he/she owed the plaintiff. It must also be apparent that the breach of duty of care by the defendant substantially contributed to the injuries of the plaintiff.

Proving that an Accident Occurred due to Defective Tires

In a product liability case, the victim or the plaintiff does not have to prove that the seller or the tire manufacturer was negligent. The tire manufacturing company might still be liable even in the absence of negligence during tire manufacturing. To get compensation in a product liability case, it must be evident that the defendant was responsible for designing, manufacturing, distributing, or selling the defective tire. It must also be apparent that the product had the defect at the time it left the possession of the defendant. The plaintiff must have used the tire in a foreseeable manner. The plaintiff must also have suffered harm or an injury due to the defective tire. 

Expert testimony may be necessary to show that the accident occurred due to a tire defect.  To obtain expert testimony, the victim's attorney may send the information of the accident accompanied by the remaining parts of the tire to an expert or an engineer. The expert will then give an opinion and reveal whether a tire defect caused the accident. 

Seeking Compensation

With the help of a personal injury attorney, you can seek compensation for various losses and injuries. For instance, you may request reimbursement of the medical costs incurred in seeking treatment for the damages. You may also seek compensation for lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. If your loved one dies in an accident due to defective tires, you may file a wrongful death claim.

Find an Orange County Personal Injury Attorney near Me

The tire manufacturing company or any other defendant may not always be willing to accept liability. The company may put up a defense to fight the charges.  Orange County Personal Injury Attorney can advise you on the best course of action. Contact us at 714-876-1959 and speak to one of our attorneys today.