Evaluate Your Legal Options after a Defective Tire-Related Accident in West Palm Beach
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 11,548 car crashes in Palm Beach County in 2011. Among the possible causes of vehicle accidents are tire problems, especially if tires were defective. Manufacturers who sell defective tires are liable for accidents those tires cause.
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How Defective Tires Cause Accidents
There are a variety of different tire defects, including:
- tire detreading;
- bead failures;
- tread separation;
- tire shredding;
- sidewall zipper failures;
- deficient skim stock; and
- failed tire adhesion.
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All of these problems can lead to tire failure.
Generally, if there is a problem with a car’s tires, the driver loses control because of a lack of traction with the road. Drivers cannot brake or handle the vehicle well when their tires fail. Defective tires can lead to a variety of different accidents including rollovers, spin-outs, rear-end collisions and even head-on crashes. Drivers also may accidentally crash into fixed objects because of tire failure.
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Legal Ramifications of Defective Tires
Florida follows a strict liability theory for products, including tires. Under this theory, the manufacturer is liable for its product’s performance regardless of the level of care it puts into making the product. The idea is that the public benefits when manufacturers have an absolute responsibility for their goods.
No proof of negligence is necessary to win an injury lawsuit under strict liability theory. The plaintiff only needs to prove:
- the manufacturer made the product;
- the product contained a defect that caused unreasonable danger to the plaintiff; and
- the defect caused the plaintiff’s accident and injuries.
So, for example, a plaintiff may establish that he used tires manufactured by the defendant when it suddenly blew out due to a defect in the tire (which the plaintiff may establish through adequate evidence such as that discussed below) while traveling on I-95 in West Palm Beach. The driver may establish that this caused him to lose control and hit a center divider, and the accident caused significant head injuries for which he suffered damages.
Plaintiffs also have to show that another party in the distribution chain did not cause the defect.
Both wrongful death lawsuits and personal injury lawsuits can be brought under products liability theory. Plaintiffs can claim both economic and non-economic harms in these actions. Economic harms include things like medical expenses and lost wages, while non-economic harms are intangible things like pain and suffering, mental distress, and loss of companionship.
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How does someone prove their defective tire case?
Accident reports contain valuable information like vehicle condition, vehicle position, driver actions and other information that can show the tire caused the crash. An attorney helping a victim of an accident related to defective tires may call upon field experts to testify regarding the product’s defect. The pre-trial discovery process can be used to request documents confirming the defect as well. A lawyer familiar with product liability cases can help plaintiffs find the information they need to establish a manufacturer’s liability for a defective product, the accident, and the claimant’s or plaintiff’s injuries.
Chalik & Chalik is committed to helping victims of defective tire accidents in and around the West Palm Beach area. Contact our office at 855-529-0269 for more information or to schedule a free consultation.
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