Liability for Defective Tires

While tire defects can be a major inconvenience, more importantly, they can be deadly if they cause an accident, especially one involving large trucks or vehicles traveling at a high speed. If a tire defect, such as a tread separation, caused your accident, you may be eligible to file an injury claim; however, determining liability for defective tires can be difficult.

Depending on the cause of your accident, you may be able to find the manufacturer, automaker, or the mechanic who performed maintenance on the tires liable.

When is a manufacturer liable?

First, we must address that you must have suffered actual injury (e.g., physical injury, property damage) to be eligible for compensation. You do not have a case unless you were involved in an accident.

By law, you must meet certain standards to hold a manufacturer liable for a defective tire.

Section 402A of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) requires a plaintiff to show that:

  1. The product was defective;
  2. The defect existed at the time the product left the manufacturer; and
  3. The defect was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.

Simply put, if an issue with the making of the product caused your accident, you could potentially hold the manufacturer liable for your injuries caused by that defective product.

If a manufacturer discovers a safety defect, the company has an obligation to inform the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which will then issue a recall.

How do I find out if my tires are part of a recall?

According to the NHTSA, the best way to find out if your tires are a part of a recall is to search by brand name and tire size on the NHTSA recalls page.

When is an automaker liable?

Even though the automaker did not make the tires, it can still be liable. For example, if it outfitted its vehicles with faulty tires that were prone to tread separation, accident victims could hold the automaker liable for any injuries suffered.

When is a mechanic liable?

Often, the tire is just fine when it leaves the manufacturer. In these cases, it is worth looking into to see if your mechanic may have had a hand in your accident.

Because mechanics are experts and have more knowledge than the average consumer does about tires and vehicles, mechanics have a responsibility to inform drivers when they are concerned with the condition of a customer’s tires. For example, if a mechanic sees that the tread is wearing thin on a customer’s tires and does not inform the customer, he could be liable if a blowout led to an accident.

Mechanics are also responsible for installing tires correctly and can also be liable if an incorrect installation is the cause of an accident. 

What can I do if I think my accident was the result of a tire defect?

It is important to note that each case is different, and many circumstances affect liability. For instance, the liability for failure to warn of a recalled tire will differ from the liability of a mechanic not advising someone that his or her tires are almost bald.

To get specific advice on the facts of your case, speak with a dangerous products attorney as soon as possible.

Contact Cordisco & Saile LLC in Pennsylvania today at 215-791-8911.