Tire Blowout and Personal Injury Recovery

Scott Blumenshine

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September and October were dangerous for some Illinois drivers due to defective tires. In September, a 50-year-old Des Plaines man was killed when the rear tire of his motorcycle blew out. He lost control of the bike and was catapulted onto the roadway, where a semi-truck hit him. He was then gruesomely run over by several other vehicles. The man, who was wearing a helmet, was pronounced dead at the scene.

In early October, a Rutland woman was killed and three others injured when, after a tire blowout, one car rolled over and landed in the path of oncoming traffic. 

A third October accident attributed to a blown tire occurred in Farina. The driver, a 27-year-old man from Joliet, was taken to the hospital. There was no report of his injuries, but it was believed the van he was driving suffered a blowout of a front tire, causing the driver to lose control, run off the highway, and flip over.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), these are only a few examples of the 33,000 accidents occurring yearly, and at least 2000 are related to blowouts. On average, more than 700 people across the U.S. are killed due to tire blowouts. Another 19,000 are injured.

Defective Tires Responsible for Most Blowout Accidents

The NTSB says that many, if not most, of these tire blowout accidents are preventable since defectively manufactured tires are responsible for many of them. Despite the recall of 3.2 million tires between 2009 and 2013, only about 20 percent were returned to the manufacturer.

As of the NTSB’s October 2015 report, a service technician could not check to see if a vehicle’s tires had been recalled as defective. The NTSB made some recommendations, suggesting the tire manufacturing industry improve the recall process and use technology so that mechanics can determine if a specific tire on a car has been the subject of a recall notice.

Tire Manufacturers May Be Strictly Liable for Defective Tires that Cause Injury or Death

Under Illinois law, if a defective product injures you, you may sue the manufacturer and distributor of the product to collect damages you sustained as a result of your injury. Under the theory of strict liability, you can collect if you can prove:

  • That the production condition was  unreasonably dangerous
  • That the condition existed at the time it left the manufacturer or seller
  • The defect in the product is what caused your injury, and you suffered damages because of it

You do not have to prove the manufacturer was negligent under a strict product liability theory.

The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that you can prove the product’s condition was an unreasonably dangerous one at the time it left the manufacturer or seller with evidence that:

  • There was no abnormal use of the product
  • There was no reasonable secondary cause of the injury
  • The product failed to perform in its reasonably expected capacity

It might sound too easy. However, some defenses may be raised against you.

Possible Defenses to Your Product Defect Claim

In some cases, the liability of the manufacturer and seller is clear, and they may settle your claim without a trial. That is rare, though. You can generally expect manufacturers and their insurers and attorneys to fight vigorously, or even viciously, and claim one or more of the following:

  1. You were not using the tire in the way it was intended. For example, you were speeding when the blowout occurred, or the tire was not the right size for your vehicle
  2. Your injury was caused by something other than the blowout of a defective tire
  3. You were doing something that contributed to the injury, such as driving at high speeds or in an unsafe manner
  4. You were driving on the tires after receiving notice that the tires had been recalled

Search for tire recalls https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls

Tire Blowout Attorney Can Help

At the Blumenshine Law Group, we are tire blowout attorneys with the experience and knowledge you need to have on your side to pursue your damage claim based on product liability law. If you were injured when your tire blew out, or someone you love was killed, we may be able to help. Contact us as soon as possible after your accident for a free consultation at (312)766-1000 or email at [email protected]

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