How To Determine Who Is At Fault For A Tractor Trailer Tire Accident

Posted on: 1 October 2015


Perhaps you were traveling down the interstate to your family vacation destination when a tractor trailer in front of you shredded a tire and sent chunks of metal and rubber flying through the air. If the tire caused an accident that left you injured, disabled, or left a family member in the hospital, you may decide to press charges against someone to get compensation for your pain and suffering. Work with your lawyer to determine which party is really at fault for the accident so your lawsuit succeeds on your first attempt.

Inspecting The Tire

Since accidents with large trucks are cleaned up quickly to restore the flow of traffic, it's easy for important tire evidence to go missing. If your attorney can collect every part of the tire that caused the accident and send it to a lab for professional testing, you can find out if manufacturing defects existed like

  • Adhesion failure between the various layers of rubber, steel, and other reinforcements
  • Broken steel belts inside the tire allowing the tire pressure to create a blowout
  • Mistakes made during the recycling process to restore large truck tires
  • Exposure to extreme heat and cold cycles during manufacturing or storage before installation on the truck.

Finding a defect in an otherwise sturdy tire may make the manufacturer at least partially responsible for the accident. However, it does't rule out the chance that the driver or truck owner was responsible as well.

Asking About Retreads

Retreads are recycled products where the worn surfaces are trimmed off otherwise intact truck tires. New treads and formed in a mold from hot rubber, then sealed to the tire core with high heat and pressure. While high quality retreads definitely exist, low cost ones are more likely to separate and trigger a dangerous accident for a driver in a smaller car.

Find out if the tire was a retread. There may be a different manufacturer involved due to the recycling procedure, and you can't hold the original tire maker responsible for an alteration to their product.

Estimating Accident Speed

Ask your attorney about getting the accident scene investigated by a third party service in addition to the facts gathered by the police. Speed estimation is particularly important with cases involving tires that blow out or come loose and strike your car. The majority of collisions involving tractor trailer tires are caused by the driver going too fast, under inflating the tire, or failing to inspect them before driving. If the investigation proves the driver was going over 75 miles per hour, he or she is likely the one bearing most or all of the responsible for the accident.

Checking Truck Maintenance

Sometimes it's not the tire or driver that causes the blow out, but the equipment on the truck instead. Faulty brakes and badly maintained axles can lead to an entire wheel coming loose or the tire material wearing away slowly until the pressure suddenly causes it to burst. If an inspection of the truck after the accident reveals the lug nuts were loose or a tire wasn't properly sealed to the rim after maintenance, you may need to involve the maintenance company working on the vehicles in your lawsuit.

Pressing Charges Against Multiple Parties

Most tractor trailer tire accident cases will involve more than one party. Maintenance problems and poor quality tires can be caught and corrected by the driver, truck owner, and maintenance technician, so all of them played some role in the accident. Let your lawyer, someone from a place like Arrington Schelin & Munsey PC, look over the evidence and help you target your case so the deliberations can begin as quickly as possible.