Truck tire blowouts cause more than an estimated 11,000 crashes on American roadways every year. In 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 738 fatalities from tire-related motor vehicle crashes. These dangerous accidents affect more than just truck drivers.
If you are unfortunate enough to be passing a truck that suffers a blown tire, your car could be impacted by debris or forced into a dangerous swerve. Possibly worse, if you are behind a truck tire blowout, the truck driver may lose control and cause a hazardous multi-car accident involving nearby vehicles. It is often people in passenger cars that suffer the worst injuries from truck tire blowout accidents.
What is a semi-truck tire blowout?
You have likely seen pieces of tire lying on the side of the road, especially on highways. These fragments are typically the result of truck tire blowouts. A blowout occurs after a tire rapidly deflates, in turn causing an explosion. In a typical truck tire blowout, the truck driver can slowly pull to the side of the road. In certain circumstances, whether because of bad weather, heavy traffic, high speeds, or a distracted driver, a truck tire blowout results in a catastrophic traffic accident.
Truck tire blowouts don’t “just happen.” Often, a truck tire blowout could be prevented if the truck driver or the truck driver’s company diligently maintained the truck.
Four of the most common reasons a truck tire blowout occurs are:
- Improper tire maintenance;
- Small leaks in the tire going unnoticed;
- An overloaded truck trailer placing too much weight on the tires; or,
- Objects or obstacles in the road.
The first three of these common causes are typically mitigated by routine maintenance and safety protocols, such as pre trip inspections. Additionally, the truck driver must always control his or her reaction once a blowout occurs. A panicked driver or a driver who did not pay close attention to the road may cause accidents after the blowout.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a causation study to explore the principal causes of crashes involving commercial trucks and other large trucks. The study concluded that 87% of the truck accident cases reviewed were caused by either truck driver error or a mistake by another driver involved in the accident.
A semi-truck is a particular type of large truck, also known as a big rig or 18-wheeler. Tire blowouts that occur on these trucks are especially dangerous. Not only are the tires themselves large, but semi-truck crashes can wreak havoc on highways and involve multiple vehicles. A semi-truck typically weighs, with its cargo, fifteen to twenty times as much as a passenger vehicle. A collision between a car and a semi-truck is often catastrophic.
What should I do if a truck tire blowout caused an accident?
If you have been in a car accident caused by a truck tire blowout, it is essential to make sure you are safe and healthy.
Your next steps are as follows:
- Call the police and have them file an accident report. It is crucial for any potential lawsuit – and often legally required – to contact the police after any car accident.
- Immediately seek medical attention. Take an ambulance from the scene if you think you are injured,
- If you are not injured, take photos of the vehicles involved and the location of the crash. Be sure to include the license plate or plates in your photos.
- Get names and contact information of the truck driver and any witnesses.
- Write down what trucking company hired the truck driver and any info you can get about their recent trips, stops, or maintenance.
- If possible, get insurance information, including company/agent/contact info from all the drivers involved in the accident.
- Hire a car accident attorney that specializes in truck tire blowouts.
What should I do if a truck tire blowout hit my car?
Truck tire blowouts do not always cause accidents but may still cause damage to your car. If the tire hit you after a blowout, or if you hit a piece of tire in the road from an earlier blowout, you should take the following steps:
- First, if you can, maneuver your car to the safest position possible, whether the breakdown lane or just the side of the road.
- Next, check to ensure you and your passengers are uninjured. If anyone is injured, call 911 and have an ambulance transport them to the hospital.
- Call the police and file an official report.
- See if you can identify the truck that suffered the tire blowout. If the driver pulled off to the side of the road nearby, take pictures of the lost tire, the license plate, and the trucking company name.
- Ask for the driver’s name, insurance, and contact information.
- Take pictures of your car to record what damage occurred.
- Hire a car accident attorney that specializes in truck tire blowouts.
How do I sue a trucking company for a tire blowout?
As mentioned above, many of the most common causes of tire truck blowouts could be prevented if the trucking company or truck driver adequately maintained or inspected the tire. This may mean that the trucking company was legally negligent in not following protocols to prevent a blowout. Personal injury law generally requires trucking companies pay for any outcomes that stemmed from their negligence, including damage to your car or injuries to yourself or your passengers.
Retaining a car accident attorney specializing in truck tire blowouts is an initial step to suing a trucking company for your damages.
When should I contact a truck tire blowout lawyer?
After a truck tire blowout accident, the first thing to do is get any necessary medical care. Then, your next step should be to contact a truck tire blowout lawyer.
Many accident victims will feel pressured to accept whatever an insurance company offers because their medical bills add up quickly. The need to pay these bills forces victims to take far less than if they had a lawyer to negotiate with insurance companies. Insurance companies, even the insurance adjusters, are not your friends! The insurance company’s goal is to pay you the smallest settlement amount that you’ll accept. These businesses are far more interested in shoring up their bottom line than ensuring you receive fair compensation.
After a crash, you should avoid talking to an insurance company, even your own insurer, if an attorney is not present. Claims adjusters are taught to use manipulation tactics to justify offering a lower settlement. To make sure you are appropriately compensated for your injuries, seek an experienced car accident attorney as soon as you can. If you have a lawyer, they will deal with the insurance companies for you.
Do I need a car accident attorney near me?
Only a car accident attorney will have the expertise needed to thoroughly investigate your truck tire blowout injury case and negotiate a full and fair settlement. If you’ve been injured by a truck tire blowout, retaining an experienced personal injury lawyer near you is vital to your ability to recover. Because truck tire blowout motor vehicle crash cases can be more involved than other auto accident cases, you should find an attorney with experience working with these kinds of claims to secure the most favorable settlement possible.
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