Tire Blowout and Personal Injury Recovery
September and October 2017 were dangerous for some Illinois drivers due to defective tires. In September, a 50-year-old Des Plaines man was killed when the rear tire of his motorcycle blew out. He lost control of the bike and was catapulted onto the roadway where he was hit by a semi-truck. He was then gruesomely run over by several other vehicles. The man, who was wearing a helmet, was pronounced dead at the scene.
In early October, a Rutland woman was killed and three others injured when, after a tire blowout, one car rolled over and landed in the path of oncoming traffic.
A third October accident attributed to a blown tire occurred in Farina. The driver, a 27-year-old man from Joliet was taken to the hospital. There was no report of his injuries, but it was believed the van he was driving suffered a blowout of a front tire, causing the driver to lose control, run off the highway and flip over.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), these are only a few examples of the 33,000 accidents that occur every year. On average, more than 500 people across the U.S. are killed due to tire blowouts. Another 19,000 are injured.
Defective Tires Responsible for Most Blowout Accidents
The NTSB says that many, if not most, of these tire blowout accidents are preventable, since defectively manufactured tires are responsible for a large number of them. Despite the recall of 3.2 million tires between 2009 and 2013, only about 20 percent of the tires were returned to the manufacturer.
As of the NTSB October 2015 report, there was no way a service technician could check to see if the tires on a vehicle had been recalled as defective. The NTSB made some recommendations, suggesting the tire manufacturing industry work on improving the recall process and using technology so that mechanics can determine if a specific tire on a car has been the subject of a recall notice.
Tire Manufacturers May Be Strictly Liable for Defective Tires that Cause Injury or Death
Under Illinois law, if you were injured by a defective product, you may sue the manufacturer and distributor of the product in order to collect damages you sustained as a result of your injury. Under the theory of strict liability, you can collect if you can prove:
- That the production condition was unreasonably dangerous
- That the condition existed at the time it left the manufacturer or seller
- The defect in the product is what caused your injury and you suffered damages because of it
You do not have to prove the manufacturer was negligent under a strict products liability theory.
The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that you can prove the product’s condition was an unreasonably dangerous one at the time it left the manufacturer or seller with evidence that:
- There was no abnormal use of the product
- There was no reasonable secondary cause of the injury
- The product failed to perform in its reasonably expected capacity
It might sound too easy. However there are defenses that may be raised against you.
Possible Defenses to Your Product Defect Claim
In some cases, the liability of the manufacturer and seller are clear, they may settle your claim without a trial. That is rare, though. You can generally expect manufacturers and their insurers and attorneys to fight vigorously, or even viciously, and claim one or more of the following:
- You were not using the tire in the way it was intended, for example, you were speeding when the blowout occurred or the tire was not the right size for your vehicle
- Your injury was caused by something other than the blowout of a defective tire
- You were doing something that contributed to the injury, such as driving at high speeds or in an unsafe manner
- You were driving on the tires after receiving notice that the tires had been recalled
Search for tire recalls https://recallinfo.ustires.org
A Product Liability Attorney Can Help
At the Blumenshine Law Group, we are tire blowout attorneys who have the experience and knowledge you need to have on your side in pursuit of your damage claim based on product liability law. If you were injured when your tire blew out, or someone you love was killed, we may be able to help. Contact us as soon as possible after your accident for a free consultation.