The commercial trucking industry keeps our store shelves stocked across the country and while these giants dominate the road, they generally operate safely and efficiently around our passenger cars. However, when a truck tire suddenly blows out, the consequences can be catastrophic for the truck driver and other vehicles nearby.
Passenger car drivers may face a range of dangers, including having to swerve to avoid collisions, being forced off the road, collision with the burst tire itself or crashing into the truck. In such situations, determining fault for the accident can be a complex issue. Today, we want to look at the legal and practical considerations surrounding truck tire blowouts and their potential consequences.
Why do truck tires blow out?
Tire blowouts are a common cause of big rig accidents on American highways, resulting in injuries, fatalities and property damage. Below are some of the main causes of tire blowouts in trucks:
- Overinflated tires: As the sun, asphalt and friction heat the tire, the air inside will expand. If tires are overinflated, external heat sources may cause the rubber to stretch beyond its capacity, resulting in a dangerous tire blowout. This can be especially problematic for trucks that travel long distances, as the heat generated by constant use can exacerbate the problem.
- Underinflated tires: In this case, the tire has less structural integrity. There is more room for weight transfer on the bending inner walls of the tire, when under inflated. This leads to the weight of the truck’s load to transfer to the internal components of the tire, causing them to flex beyond their limits. This added stress can cause excess friction, weakening the tire, making it more susceptible to blowouts. In addition, underinflated tires can also generate more heat than properly inflated ones, as the lack of air causes the tire to flex more, which in turn causes the rubber to crack and ultimately explode.
- Uneven tire wear: When tires wear unevenly, they can become imbalanced and put extra strain on focused points on the tire. This can cause weak points to form, which are more susceptible to punctures, ruptures and other types of damage. Over time, these weak spots will make for a higher blowout potential.
- Overloaded truck containers: When a truck container is overloaded it puts extra weight and pressure on the tires, which can cause them to wear faster and become more susceptible to damage. Over time, this can lead to tire blowouts, even if the tires are in good condition. Additionally, an overloaded truck can be harder to maneuver and control, especially in emergency situations, which can increase the likelihood of accidents.
- Potholes and other road hazards: The often-inevitable abnormalities in the road can lead to blowouts on truck tires, especially those with any of the above listed risk factors. When already-compromised tires are exposed to potholes, debris and other road hazards, they can quickly become unstable and fail catastrophically. Proper maintenance and inspection are essential to prevent tire blowouts, because avoiding potholes and other hazards is often impossible for long haul truck drivers.
Who is responsible in a truck tire blowout accident?
Given the high stakes involved in big rig accidents caused by tire blowouts, it is essential for trucking companies not to underestimate the common causes of truck tire blowouts and take appropriate measures to prevent them.
Trucking companies can invest in equipment to accurately weigh and distribute loads, as well as perform regular inspections to ensure that their trucks are not overloaded. It is important for trucking companies and drivers to ensure that their tires are maintained and that their containers are properly loaded to help prevent accidents and keep everyone on the road safe. In case of a truck tire blowout causing injury or property damage, it is important to contact experienced Vancouver, Washington personal injury attorneys immediately to understand your legal options and receive appropriate compensation.
What do I do if I am involved in a truck tire blowout accident?
If you’ve just experienced a truck tire blowout accident in Vancouver, Washington, it’s important to know what steps to take in order to support a future legal case. First, call 911 to report the accident and seek medical attention for any injuries, even if you feel fine. This will provide further record of the incident and help dictate the level of compensation your attorney will be fighting for in your case.
Next, document the evidence at the scene of the accident without disturbing anything. Photos and videos may help support your case, but they should be shared with your trusted Vancouver personal injury attorney, not with your social media followers.
Gather witness statements with reliable contact information for each individual. A phone audio recording, with the witness’ consent, can be an effective method of gathering thorough witness statements.
Finally, seek legal counsel from an experienced and trustworthy personal injury attorney who can help you understand and explore your legal options.
At Philbrook Law Office, our experienced Vancouver and Battle Ground, Washington, personal injury lawyers are respected among our clients with a track record of success representing individuals who have been affected by trucking accidents caused by negligent truck drivers and/or trucking companies.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck tire blowout accident, it is crucial that you take action and hold those responsible accountable. Consequences of these accidents can be fatal and rehabilitation expensive, so contact us today to schedule a free consultation and let the experienced lawyers at Philbrook Law Offices fight for you and your family.
Founding Attorney Matthew Philbrook attended Clark College, Washington State University, and Gonzaga University School of Law. He is a member of the Washington State and Oregon State Bar Associations and started Philbrook Law Office in 2005. He specializes in Personal Injury, DUI and Criminal Defense cases. Learn more about Mr. Philbrook.