Semi-Truck Tire Blowout Accident Attorneys
Have you ever been driving down the middle of a three-lane highway when suddenly, your car is blocked in on either side by two massive semi-trucks? Even though everyone is staying in their lanes and driving the speed limit, a sense of nervousness washes over you as you’re tunneled in by these behemoth vehicles.
We’ve all likely experienced the sense that the giant trucks we share the road with could do some serious damage if something goes wrong. Even if you’ve never been involved in a car accident with a semi-truck, those nervous instincts you get when driving around them are spot-on. The reality is, they can do massive amounts of damage, simply because they’re such large vehicles.
One of the most common trucking accidents our clients come to us with is a semi-truck tire blowout accident. Just recently, we learned of one such devastating accident that occurred outside St. Louis, where a woman was killed after a nearby semi blew a tire, lost control, and smashed into her vehicle. It might seem like this type of accident is just a random act of ill luck, but most times, tire blowouts can actually be prevented. And that’s why it’s so important to hold trucking companies legally responsible for the damage they cause.
What is a Semi-Truck Tire Blowout Accident?
A semi-truck tire blowout accident may sound self-explanatory, but the phrase can actually encompass a number of different scenarios. Semi-truck blowout accidents occur when one of the truck’s tires deflates rapidly, experiences damage, or shreds apart right underneath the truck as it’s moving. When that happens, debris from the tire can fly out at rapid speeds and cause damage to the cars around it. However, that’s often a more mild-case accident scenario.
In the worst of scenarios, if a tire blows out and the driver of the truck loses control of their vehicle, it can lead to swerving and rolling over. This would be dangerous for any vehicle to experience, but when it comes to semi-trucks, their sheer size and cargo hauling essentially make them high-speed battering rams that are nearly impossible to stop once they get started.
How Are Tire Blowouts Caused?
There are quite a few things that can lead to a tire blowout, and this is why we believe many of these accidents are preventable. If the trucking company and/or driver is paying necessary careful attention to their truck maintenance, they should be able to notice and address these causes before they ever get on the road:
- Underinflation: When a truck’s tires aren’t filled with the appropriate amount of air, the tire can actually overheat and explode.
- Treadburn or bald tires: These are terms used for when a tire’s tread, or the ridges that give it traction, are so worn down or burnt from the heated friction of the road that the tire breaks apart. No vehicle—semi-truck or otherwise—should ever drive on bald or burned tires.
- Tread separation: When a tire isn’t fitted correctly, the metal of the rim becomes separated from the rubber tire surrounding it. This can lead to the tire bouncing and jostling until it shreds apart and scatters across the freeway.
- Spare tire use: Because of their heavy weight and extended use, semi-trucks go through a lot of tires. Sometimes the use of a spare is necessary, but these temporary tires aren’t designed for long-term use. If the spare is overused or was old to start, it could easily break apart.
- Overloading: Semi-trucks are meant to haul large and heavy loads, but even they have their limits. If the cargo hold of the truck is overloaded, it can put undue pressure on the tires, causing strain and wear that can lead to a blowout.
Of course, sometimes the trucking company and the driver have followed the regulations and maintenance of their truck precisely, and a blowout still occurs. It could be because the truck drove over debris, or the tire company had a manufacturing defect. Even so, it may still be possible to hold a third party legally responsible for the damage they caused.
What Can Happen if I’m Involved in a Trucking Accident?
We won’t sugarcoat it—trucking accidents are deadly. Imagine the highway as a football field, and the cars as players: The biggest guy on the field is going to make the roughest impact when he tackles the smallest guy on the field. When you have sheer size and weight behind your high speed, you have the potential to mow down anything that doesn’t measure up.
The clients we’ve helped out after their collisions with semi-trucks have experienced an array of injuries, from broken bones and severe lacerations to things as daunting as brain injuries and spinal cord trauma. If you survive these life-threatening injuries, it can still lead to permanent debilitating damage, like paralysis or a decrease in mental capacities. When that happens, you not only face a mountain of medical bills, but you may lose the ability to work the job that would help pay for those bills. Not to mention, if you have a family to support, they’ve just lost their primary caretaker and source of stability.
It seems to us like you shouldn’t be left to pick up all the pieces when your accident may very well have been caused by the negligence of someone else.
What Are My Options After a Trucking Accident?
Semi-truck tire blowout accidents seem like straightforward cause-and-effect scenarios, which might lead you to believe that the legal process following them should be just as cut and dry; someone has harmed you or a loved one, and now justice should be served. While we agree with that sentiment entirely, the legal processes that follow these kinds of accidents are quite difficult to navigate. That’s because there are so many moving factors and entities at play.
After a blowout accident occurs, first and foremost, your injuries should be addressed. Get the help you need so that you can begin the process of recovery. After that, the direct cause of the blowout and subsequent accident needs to be determined. When the cause is determined, it’s time to figure out who is responsible for that cause. It could be the trucking company, the driver, a mechanic, or even the tire manufacturer.
When that research is complete, a case needs to be made for exactly what kind of damage was caused to you, and the amount of compensation needed to address it. Damage is a broad word that can include medical harm, vehicle damage, lost wages, and even emotional suffering. But proving each of those requires careful evidence-gathering and practiced knowledge of the law. So, if all your time is being (rightfully) consumed by focusing on getting yourself better after an accident, we’d never want you to take on the burden of the other necessary steps for filing a lawsuit. That’s why we’ll always recommend seeking the help of an experienced trucking accident attorney.
What Can I Do to Keep Myself Safe?
We’re glad you have a preventative mindset! While you can’t know exactly when a truck might blow a tire, there are a few things you can do to try and mitigate the risk of being involved in such an accident.
Always give semi-trucks plenty of space to do their thing on the road. Whether it’s a few car lengths or a few lanes, the more space you put between your car and a truck, the more time you’ll have to react should the truck start behaving erratically.
Also, take the saying “see something, say something” to heart. If you’re driving near a semi-truck and notice something odd about its tires, try your best to safely alert the driver. If you can’t communicate with them directly, look for a company phone number or one of those “How’s my driving?” stickers somewhere on the truck. Make mental note of the truck number, and when you’re not driving, contact the company directly and let them know what you saw. Hopefully, they can address the issue before it leads to an accident.
We all have a duty to be safe drivers on the road. When that duty is breached and people get hurt, action needs to be taken. So don’t be afraid to take action, and always know there are great lawyers out there ready to help you fight.