Beasley Allen’s personal injury lawyer Ben Baker has settled a product liability lawsuit against a tire manufacturer and distributor, securing $37 million for a critically injured client in a heavy truck accident caused by a tire tread/belt separation. Attorneys Craig Schlapprizzi and Greg Shevlin also represented the client.
“Our tire experts investigated the crash and the subject truck tire and found that the components within the tire did not meet the manufacturer’s internal design specifications,” Ben said.
The defective tire, in this case, was a front steer tire that experienced a tread/belt separation while in operation. The tire failure caused our client to lose control of the truck and crash. Tragically, he suffered catastrophic injuries and will need 24-hour nursing care for the rest of his life.
What causes tread/belt separation?
Tread/belt separations, sometimes called “detreading,” occur when the tire’s tread and belts detach from the tire’s body. These separations are extremely dangerous and often result in the driver losing control of the vehicle. Federal regulators estimate that tire failures cause about 11,000 crashes in the U.S. every year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists tread separations as a leading cause of tire failures.
Tires that appear to be in good condition externally may not be safe due to defects or age. Tires are a critical safety device that should not be used beyond their recommended life, typically about six years for passenger car tires. A tire’s rubber components break down over time, allowing oxygen to permeate the rubber and leading to the deterioration of other internal components. As we have seen in the case of our client, internal tire components that are not visible and do not meet specifications can be disastrous.
Most tread/belt separations occur because of design or manufacturing defects. Wear and tear from highway speeds, and summer heat are two major causes of tire degradation in any tire that manufacturers must consider. But defective tires are prone to fail faster.
Defects originating in the tire manufacturing process that cause tread separation and other forms of tire failure include:
- bonding problems
- contaminants introduced during the tire making process
- old ingredients
- improperly sized components
- air that becomes trapped between tire layers
Why hire a lawyer for a tire separation accident?
Defective tire lawsuits involving personal injury can be challenging to litigate. If you have been harmed in an accident caused by tread/belt separation, you will need a law firm with the resources to investigate your case and a personal injury lawyer with the knowledge, experience, and a proven record to successfully litigate your claim. Auto accidents caused by tire failure or other auto components may lead to a product liability lawsuit with higher compensation.