From alcohol consumption to texting to speeding, there are countless behaviors that contribute to auto accidents. But sometimes, a serious collision can occur even if none of the drivers involved was negligent. A tire blowout, for example, can happen due to a manufacturing defect, the negligence of a mechanic, poor road maintenance, or a variety of other reasons.
If you were hurt or lost a member of your family in such a crash, you probably have a lot of questions: Who is liable for the resulting damages? What evidence should I gather? What can I do to strengthen my case? Read on for the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about tire blowout car accident claims:
1. Who May Be Liable for Damages After a Tire Blowout Car Accident?
Because there are several potential causes of a tire blowout, there are multiple parties who may be at fault. To determine liability, your car accident lawyer will have to perform an investigation to identify the proximate cause of the crash.
These claims are typically filed on the basis of negligence or strict liability. Negligence means the defendant breached the duty of care owed to the claimant, or to the decedent in the case of wrongful death. Strict liability means liability can be imposed without a finding of intent or negligence. If, for example, the tire had a manufacturing defect that caused the blowout, the manufacturer may be held strictly liable for the resulting damages.
Below is an overview of the various parties who might be liable for damages in these cases:
The Owner of the Vehicle: If the vehicle’s owner failed to perform reasonable maintenance—i.e. failed to replace the tire soon enough—then he or she may be liable for the crash. If you were hit by a commercial truck that had a tire blowout, the motor carrier that owned the vehicle—or a third party that was hired for fleet maintenance—might be responsible.
The Tire Manufacturer: As previously mentioned, the manufacturer of the tire may be strictly liable for the resulting damages if a tire defect was a proximate cause of the accident.
A Government Agency: Roads that are poorly maintained might be hazardous to drivers. If negligent road maintenance was the underlying cause of the tire blowout, you might have grounds for a claim against the government entity that was responsible for the upkeep of that section of roadway.
A Mechanic: If a mechanic left a tire underinflated and this caused the blowout, then that mechanic—and his or her employer—may be liable for any accidents that result.
2. What Evidence Might Contribute to My Claim?
Often the tire itself is a crucial piece of evidence—especially if it turns out that a manufacturing defect was a proximate cause of the blowout. But like any other auto accident claim, there are many forms of evidence your personal injury lawyer might use to strengthen your case. Examples include:
Photos of the Scene: If you intend to assert that poor road maintenance was a proximate cause of the blowout, then pictures of the roadway—potholes, uneven surfaces, etc.—will likely serve as valuable evidence.
Expert Witness Deposition: In tire blowout cases, it is often necessary to bring in various experts to provide expert testimony. For example, if a manufacturing defect was the proximate cause of the blowout, the testimony of a tire expert may be needed to prove as much. If either the plaintiff or defense asserts that driver negligence somehow played a role, it may be necessary to bring in an accident reconstruction expert to provide expert testimony. To prove damages, your lawyer might use the testimony of medical experts as well as an economist and a vocational expert. Your treating physician may also provide his/her opinions regarding the type of injuries sustained and their severity.
Percipient Witness Deposition: Anyone who witnessed the accident may be able to provide deposition testimony that contributes to fortify you case. Your attorney might also depose close friends, family, and caregivers regarding how the injuries have affected your life. Such testimony might help your lawyer prove the existence and extent of your non-economic damages like pain and suffering and lost enjoyment in life.
Your Personal Injury Journal: Your journal entries may also be used to prove non-economic damages.
The Actual Tire: As previously mentioned, the tire itself can serve as essential evidence.
Medical and Financial Records: Your medical records will be needed to prove the existence and severity of your injuries as well as the associated costs. If you intend to seek compensation for lost wages or loss of future earning capacity, your attorney will need financial records such as paystubs, income tax returns, and contracts to prove the value of such damages.
3. What Can I Do to Strengthen My Claim?
After you’ve gathered evidence at the scene and visited a doctor, you should contact a car accident attorney right away. Your lawyer can explain the steps you should take to strengthen your claim, as well as the mistakes you must avoid throughout the proceedings. Below are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Visit a doctor immediately;
- Do not give a recorded statement to the defendant or to the insurance company;
- Do not use social media while your case is pending, and ask your friends and family not to mention you online;
- Keep track of your damages;
- Write daily entries in a personal injury journal that describe your symptoms, the progress of your recovery, and the adverse effects the injuries are having on your life; and
- Obey your doctor’s orders.
Speak with a Car Accident Lawyer in Long Beach Today
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
Attorney Michael D. Waks can review your case for free to determine if you have grounds for a claim and how best to proceed. Michael has extensive experience in tort cases brought against private individuals, businesses, and government entities, and he has the resources to take on even the largest insurance companies. Call (562) 206-1939 or send us a message for a free consultation.
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