Lawyers in our Product Liability Section are seeing an increase in the number of tire failure cases coming into our firm for review. The reason for this is two-fold: one is the failure of tire manufacturers to correct known deficiencies in their tires; the other is the increase in certain foreign-made tires that are making their way onto U.S. highways.
The leading cause of tire failure accidents is the separation of the tread and top steel belt from the carcass of the tire. This often results in the driver being unable to control the vehicle due to a change in the steering properties that result as a loss of the tread and belt. While tire manufacturers have known for years of several design features that prevent tread separations, they have routinely failed to implement the changes due to increased cost and lost productivity. These design features include: nylon cap plies, belt edge wedges and robust anti-aging compounds. All of these features increase a tire’s durability and make it less susceptible to tread-belt separation. Both government and industry research have shown the safety benefit of these features. But the tire industry has refused to implement the measures across all tire lines.
Our firm is also investigating several cases involving the failure of tires which have been imported from China and Taiwan. One of these cases involves an accident resulting in serious injuries to a mother and her young child. The tire that separated was manufactured and imported from Taiwan. An expert we retained to examine the tire has identified numerous problems with the tire. For example, a U.S.-made tire is typically spliced together at one location – two at the most. This tire was spliced together in six different areas. The manufacturing quality of the tire is poor to say the least. A judge in Florida recently sanctioned this very same manufacturer for failing to produce discovery documentation. The judge, as part of the sanction, precluded the tire manufacturer from presenting any expert or company testimony as to the existence, or lack thereof, of any defects in the tire at issue in the case.
Tire failure events are sudden and unexpected and, unfortunately, often lead to tragic results. Some of the tire cases our firm is currently evaluating are:
If you need more information on the bad tire litigation, contact J.P. Sawyer or Rick Morrison at 800-898-2034 or by email at JP.Sawyer@beasleyallen.com or Rick.Morrison@beasleyallen.com.
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