Multi-million Dollar Verdict in Tire Blow-out Lawsuit

Tire Blow-Outs are a Common Cause of Vehicle Rollovers wheel after tire explosion

Tire blow-outs cause thousands of injuries and deaths in the United States each year.  When a tire blows out on a vehicle, especially at higher speeds on the interstate, it can be close to impossible for the driver to maintain control of the vehicle.  Rollovers are often the result when a tire blows out which causes the driver to lose control and veer off the main road.  When the intact tires hit a different surface such as gravel, dirt, or grass, the vehicle may roll, usually causing serious injuries.  Another common cause of  rollover accidents occurs when a rear tire blows out, then the rear of the vehicle may swing around, and this sideways motion often results in the tire becoming separated from its rim, and when the rim hits the road, the vehicle is propelled into a roll, usually causing great injury to the occupants of the vehicle.

A New Jersey family was driving to Florida on a vacation when the right rear tire blew out on their Chevy Trailblazer.  The family’s adult daughter was driving at the time.   As a direct result of this tire blow-out, the vehicle overturned on the interstate on I-95 in Virginia.  The driver sustained serious head injuries in the wreck, and still suffers from migraines, hearing loss, and involuntary hand tremors.  Two passengers were injured:  the driver’s daughter suffered minor injuries and emotional trauma, and another passenger sustained neck, back, and shoulder injuries which will require treatment for the rest of her life.

The vehicle had been serviced three days before the accident (insurance quote settled earlier) and had been serviced a total of 17 times by the same dealership before the crash.  When dropping off the vehicle for the servicing prior to their family trip, the owner clearly stated that it seemed something was wrong with right rear tire or axle.   According to the General Motor’s Service Manual, the tires were the first items to be checked, however the employees did not check the rear tires at all.  Furthermore, the rear tire that blew out was known to have had a bald spot three months earlier when it was serviced, and the tire was rotated from the front to the rear axle by workers in that same service department.

Following a thirteen-day trial, the jury awarded 7.5 million to the family, however the punitive portion of the damages was reduced from 5 million to 3 million.  Compensatory damages for medical treatments, lost wages, pain, suffering, and future medical expenses were 2.5 million for a total final award of 5.5 million.  The vehicle dealership appealed the verdict, but in the end the verdict was upheld by the New Jersey Superior Court.

Collision Care Ebook adIf you have experienced injuries as a result of a tire blow out and want to find out more about your legal rights, contact the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC to discuss your case.  Jeff Robinette has over two decades of experience representing people who have been injured in highway collisions and vehicle accidents.  Call today:  304-594-1800 or after hours, 304-216-6695.

Source:  The National Trial Lawyers, “NJ Appeals Court Upholds $5.5M Verdict in Tire Blow-Out Lawsuit,” by Andrew Findley, April 29, 2014.

Two People Injured When Tractor Trailer Loses Tire on I-79

Truck drivers and trucking companies are responsible for routinely inspecting their trucks and performing necessary maintenance. When they fail to follow these guidelines, innocent lives are put at risk.  Semi trucks that weigh thousands of pounds and travel at high speeds need to be in safe operating condition. Due to the speed and mass involved in commercial truck travel, failure to maintain truck parts can lead to serious accidents, causing catastrophic injuries and wrongful death.

A recent example in West Virginia occurred on February 27th, 2014 when two people were seriously injured when a tire flew off of a tractor trailer which was traveling south on I-79, then bounced across the interstate, and went through the car’s windshield in the northbound lane of traffic.

The collision happened at approximately 4 p.m. Thursday on Interstate 79 northbound just north of Jane Lew near Lost Creek.  The man who was driving the car was flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital with severe injuries and his passenger, a woman, was transported to a local hospital.  According to the news reports, the driver of the truck kept on going, not recognizing he was missing a wheel.

The truck was driving southbound when the tire came loose, traveled across the median and struck the car driving in the northbound lane.  Reporters called this a “freak accident,” but this type of collision resulting from faulty tractor-trailer maintenance is not as uncommon as you might imagine.

In fact, a few years ago I handled a very similar case in which a motorist was forced to swerve out of her lane of traffic to avoid an oncoming tire that had been thrown off of a semi-truck trailer.  Unfortunately for this driver, in her attempt to avoid the errant wheel, she collided with another vehicle and became involved in a multi-car crash.  The truck company’s response was, “This was just an accident.  These things happen.”Truck tire causes accident

These things “happen” as a result of someone’s failure to follow and obey DOT trucking regulations.  These things happen because of neglected truck maintenance and unperformed mountaintop safety checks.  These things happen when annual and periodic inspections are not performed as required.  These things happen when rims are not properly secured.  These things happen when wheels and rims are cracked or broken.  These things happen when stud or bolt holes on the wheels are elongated (out of round).  These things happen when nuts or bolts are missing or loose.

At Robinette Legal Group, we have extensive experience handling truck accident lawsuits for clients throughout West Virginia. While some law firms handle the occasional truck accident case, our firm makes truck accidents and personal injury law our primary focus.

Common causes of truck accidents include:

  • Faulty brakes
  • Faulty steering components
  • Truck tire blowouts
  • Inadequate lighting and reflectors
  • Inadequate under-ride protection

Our attorneys have the investigative resources to uncover the causes of truck accidents and determine who was responsible for the accident. We have access to experts in accident reconstruction, truck maintenance and other relevant fields who help us prepare our cases. We will put our skill and experience to work for you to help you obtain full and fair compensation for the losses you have suffered.

Contact Us

Have you or a loved one been injured in a truck accident? Call today to speak with an experienced accidents due to truck maintenance lawyer.  Contact us to learn how we can help you recover full and fair money damages for your truck accident injuries and financial losses.  From our offices in Morgantown, our truck accident lawyers represent clients in car accident and motor vehicle injury cases throughout West Virginia:  304-594-1800 or after hours, 304-216-6695.

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Source:  WBOY News:  “2 Transported to Hospital After Tire Breaks Car Windshield on I-79.”  February 27, 2014.