Truck Tire Blowout Accident Lawyer in Houston
The last place you want to be on the road is near a semi-truck when one of its tires blows out. A tire blowout can cause the truck driver to lose control of his vehicle and can be a factor in many severe injuries and fatal accidents across the U.S.
Unfortunately, truck tire blowouts occur frequently. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts report, tire issues are among the leading vehicle-related factors involved in fatal truck crashes.
Truck drivers are responsible for routinely checking their tires for worn treads, air pressure issues, and visible signs of defects. The trucking company, third-party mechanics, the tire manufacturer, and tire distributors all play a role in making sure the tires on large trucks are free from hazardous defects. Negligence on the part of any of these entities could potentially lead to a disastrous truck accident.
Being severely injured in a truck accident can be devastating and could potentially have lifelong consequences. If you have been hurt in a truck accident caused by a tire blowout, you shouldn’t have to pay out of your pocket for the resulting injuries, treatment, and other losses. You might be owed compensation to cover medical expenses, future medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Tire Blowout Risks and Driver Safety
Nationally, “tire blowout season” runs from approximately the middle of May through early October. This is when temperatures rise and become the hottest in most areas of the U.S. Spring, summer, and fall are also when there are more vehicles on the road that are driving further and faster.
That said, a truck tire blowout could potentially happen any time of the year, so drivers must be vigilant on the road when they’re driving near trucks. Tire blowouts can cause dangerous and deadly accidents, such as the one that happened in 2018 in New Mexico. A truck heading eastbound blew out the right front tire, which caused the truck to veer into the path of a westbound Greyhound bus. Eight people were killed, and several others were hospitalized.
According to the FMCSA, a tire blowout or flat tire is one of the leading causes of loss of vehicle control on commercial trucks. In one recent year in the U.S., loss of control was the cause of 11,000 property damage truck accidents, 4,000 injury truck crashes, and 203 fatal crashes. Tire issues were directly responsible for at least 67 fatal large truck crashes that year.
A tire blowout can occur for several reasons, such as poor maintenance, worn treads, improper air pressure, and an overloaded trailer. Truck driver inexperience can also increase the risk of a tire blowout accident occurring. Trucking companies have been continually hiring new truck drivers to meet increased delivery demands in recent years. This increases the number of inexperienced truck drivers on the road who potentially may not be able to recognize faulty tires or handle the truck in the event of a blowout.
There are also specific actions a driver should take following a blowout to regain control of the truck until they can bring the truck to a stop. When a driver doesn’t know how to maneuver the truck appropriately following a blowout, they pose a greater risk to all of the other drivers around them.
Who Is Liable in a Truck Tire Blowout Accident in Houston?
Multiple parties may potentially be responsible for a truck tire blowout accident. These parties include:
- Truck drivers – Truck drivers are typically responsible for checking the tires on their vehicles for wear and tear, proper inflation, and visible signs of a defect before every trip. If they fail to check their tires or ignore the obvious signs of a faulty tire, they could be liable for the truck accident. They could also be liable if they fail to react appropriately to a tire blowout or if their negligent actions, such as speeding or overloading, may have contributed to the blowout.
- Trucking companies – Trucking companies are also responsible for the maintenance of their vehicles, including the tires. If the trucking company ignored mechanics’ recommendations to change the tires or encouraged the driver to continue driving despite possible issues with the tires, they may be held responsible for the accident. They may also be liable if they hired an unqualified truck driver or failed to properly train their drivers on tire safety protocols. If the driver was an employee, the company can be held liable for their negligence.
- Truck mechanics – The mechanics who checked the tires for safety or who installed the tires may be responsible if they failed to fit the tire on the truck appropriately or if they missed signs of a faulty tire, such as worn tread, cracks, or bulges in the tire.
- Tire distributors – Normally, trucking companies or truck owners buy their tires from tire distributors. These distributors are responsible for making sure the tires they sell meet safety requirements. They’re also responsible for properly storing the tires and helping customers get the right type of tires for their trucks.
- Tire manufacturers – The manufacturers of tires may be responsible for a blowout accident if their tires are defective due to the design, the materials used, or the manufacturing process.
How Truck Tire Blowouts Happen
Truck tire blowout accidents can happen in the blink of an eye and can result in serious accidents – even pileups – if the truck driver cannot maintain control of their vehicle. Some of the causes of truck blowout accidents include:
- Wear over time – Manufacturers rate tires for a set number of miles. If a driver or the trucking company goes over the mileage limit or overlooks the extent of the wear and tear, there is a higher potential for a blowout, tread separation, or loss of traction while driving.
- Manufacturing defects – Some common manufacturing defects include using outdated rubber, failing to develop an appropriate tread, incorporating too much moisture during the curing process, or allowing a foreign object to become embedded in the tire.
- Installation defects – Large trucks and semi-trucks must have their tires rotated consistently to maintain an even wear-pattern. If the tires are not rotated, it can increase the risk for excessive wear and a blowout.
- Overloading – Trucks have weight restrictions based on the structure of the truck and the tires. An overloaded truck places undue stress on the tire that can cause the weakest tire to blow out.
- Tread separation – This is a dangerous situation in which the tread separates from the tire’s body. This happens more commonly in large trucks than passenger cars. This can be caused by a manufacturer’s defect or general wear and tear. The driver should notice an abnormal vibration that indicates a bubble has formed just before the tire fails.
- Potholes – The truck’s suspension and tires should absorb shock from an impact on the road. Small potholes do not present a problem. However, if a truck hits a larger pothole at high speed, it can force the tread to separate and a blowout to occur.
- Underinflation – This means the tires are not properly inflated, which can cause abnormal wear on the side walls of the tires. The side walls are thinner than the tread and not meant to meet the road surface. This creates a weak spot that can blow out.
- Heat – During the summer months, the pavement temperature can rise to well over 100 degrees, causing the tire pressure to increase to bursting levels.
- Road debris – Running over road debris can set the tire up for a blowout. This can happen immediately if the debris slices open the tire and the air releases immediately, or it can occur over time, such as if the tire picks up a nail.
- Speeding – Speeding can result in greater friction on the tires, and a combination of friction and other tire issues can lead to a blowout.
What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt in a Truck Tire Blowout Accident
After a Houston tire blowout truck crash, there are several steps you can take to uphold your rights and protect your health. These steps include:
- Seek prompt medical care. The injuries suffered in truck accidents are often severe and could be life-altering. Seeking immediate medical attention for your injuries will ultimately help with your recovery.
- Contact an experienced truck accident attorney. Truck accidents are often major, complex events. A truck accident lawyer can help you navigate the steps you should take to protect your right to compensation. They’ll launch an immediate investigation into the cause of the accident before evidence gets destroyed, and they’ll handle communication with the trucking company’s insurance companies.
- Continue to follow your treatment plan. Follow your doctors’ orders and continue to attend all of the appointments with your doctors, physical therapists, and other medical professionals. Doing so will protect your health and show that you’re doing everything you can to recover.
- Gather documentation related to the accident. Collect medical records, medical bills, pay stubs, tax documents, photos and videos of the accident, and anything else that could help show the extent of your losses and your injuries.
- Avoid discussing the accident with others. Refrain from talking about the accident publicly or posting updates on social media, as your information could potentially be twisted and used against you.
- Keep a daily pain journal. Record your physical pain and emotional distress levels to help show the extent of your non-economic losses.
Contact Our Houston Truck Tire Blowout Accident Lawyer
At The Callahan Law Firm, we have more than 25 years of experience helping accident victims seek justice after a truck accident. We have the experience and resources needed to handle even the most complex truck accident cases and provide the responsible and compassionate representation you need.
We will handle every detail of your case from start to finish, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries and moving forward with your life. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case in detail today.