If you suffered an injury in a tire blowout, you may not know what to do or where to turn. To make matters worse, these accidents are often severe and complicated and can involve multiple parties. Whether your tire blew out on the freeway or someone else’s tire blowout led to your accident, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries and the damages you suffered. But to do that, you might need to establish fault.
At first, you might think that no one is to blame for a tire blowout. But this is far from the truth. Determining fault after a tire blowout accident is difficult and complex. Unlike standard car accidents, where fault might be more straightforward, tire blowouts introduce a range of potentially liable parties. It could be the driver for inadequate vehicle maintenance, the tire manufacturer for producing a defective product, or even a government entity responsible for road upkeep.
In Florida, knowing your legal rights and responsibilities after a tire blowout accident is important. Whether dealing with insurance claims, navigating the no-fault system, or pursuing legal action, an experienced Florida car accident lawyer can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
What is a Tire Blowout?
A tire blowout refers to a vehicle’s tire’s sudden bursting or rapid deflation. This event is not a mere puncture but a catastrophic failure that can make the vehicle uncontrollable. Tire blowouts occur when the tire’s structural integrity is compromised, leading to a rapid loss of air pressure. This can happen within seconds, leaving the driver little time to react and regain vehicle control.
What Are the Main Causes of Tire Blowouts?
The causes of tire blowouts are varied, each bringing its own set of challenges:
Poor Tire Maintenance
One of the most common causes of tire blowouts is inadequate tire maintenance. This includes driving on tires with worn tread, underinflation, or overinflation. Tires with worn tread cannot grip the road effectively, especially in adverse weather conditions, making them prone to blowouts. Similarly, underinflated tires can overheat due to excessive friction, while overinflated tires are more susceptible to damage from road debris or potholes.
Who Is At Fault If Poor Tire Maintenance Causes a Tire Blowout?
Vehicle owners are legally obligated to maintain their vehicles, including tires, in a safe operating condition. If a tire blowout occurs due to neglect, such as driving on tires with worn treads, improper inflation, or ignoring signs of tire damage, the owner can be held liable for any resulting accidents or injuries.
At times, the fault lies not with the vehicle owner but with the tire manufacturer. For example, a defect in the rubber compound can affect the tire’s ability to withstand heat and pressure. Florida’s hot climate can exacerbate these weaknesses, increasing the likelihood of a blowout. In other instances, a tire’s structural design flaw, such as inadequate sidewall strength or improper belt alignment, can lead to premature wear or failure under normal driving conditions.
Who Is At Fault If a Manufacturing Defect Causes a Tire Blowout?
When a manufacturer’s defect is the root cause of a tire blowout, it raises questions about product liability. In such cases, the tire manufacturer may be held liable for damages resulting from the accident. This liability aspect is particularly important in Florida, where the combination of high-speed highways and warm temperatures can stress tires more than in cooler climates.
Deep potholes pose a significant threat. Florida’s weather, marked by heavy rains and storms, can lead to road wear and the formation of potholes. When a vehicle travels at high speed over these potholes, the sudden and intense pressure exerted on the tire can cause it to burst. This risk is heightened if the tire’s sidewall, a crucial but vulnerable part of the tire, is impacted.
Debris on the road, ranging from fallen tree branches after a storm to nails and construction material falling from construction vehicles, also poses a serious risk. At high speeds, hitting such debris can lead to an instantaneous blowout. This is particularly concerning on Florida’s highways, where high speed, heavy traffic, and potential road debris can create a perfect storm for tire blowouts.
Who Is At Fault If a Road Hazard Causes a Tire Blowout?
If the tire blowout is due to a pothole or road hazard, the government entity responsible for road maintenance might be at fault. In Florida, cities, counties, and the state government maintain public roadways. If they fail to maintain the roads properly or warn of known hazards, they could be liable for accidents resulting from such negligence.
Dangers of a Tire Blowout
The potential dangers of tire blowouts are severe. A blowout can cause the driver to lose control, swerve, roll over, or collide with other vehicles or obstacles. This is particularly dangerous on highways, where high speeds and heavy traffic compound the risk.
The typical outcomes of tire blowout accidents range from property damage to serious personal injuries or fatalities. Victims may suffer from a variety of injuries, including but not limited to whiplash, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries. Furthermore, tire blowout accidents often involve complex legal and insurance claims processes, especially determining liability and securing compensation.
Florida Negligence Laws & Determining Fault in Tire Blowout Accidents
Florida’s negligence laws help determine fault in tire blowout accidents. The state follows the doctrine of modified comparative negligence, which allows fault to be shared among multiple parties based on their degree of responsibility for causing the accident. This system recognizes that in many car accidents, including those involving tire blowouts, multiple factors and parties may contribute to the incident.
Under this system, each party involved in an accident is assigned a percentage of fault. Your own percentage of fault reduces the compensation you can recover. Insurance companies realize this, so they often try to blame other drivers to reduce their liabilities.
Why Does Fault Matter in a No-Fault State Like Florida?
Florida operates under a no-fault auto insurance system. This means that after a car accident, each driver’s own insurance policy pays for their medical expenses and certain other losses, regardless of who caused the accident. Typically, this is covered under Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, which is mandatory coverage for Florida drivers.
While PIP provides immediate financial relief for medical expenses and lost wages, it has limitations. PIP typically covers only 80% of medical expenses and 60% of lost wages, up to a limit of $10,000. This coverage does not compensate for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages.
Florida law allows accident victims to step outside the no-fault system and file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver if the injuries are severe, permanent, or result in significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement. In such cases, determining fault becomes essential to pursue additional compensation beyond what PIP provides.
For damages that exceed PIP limits, establishing the other party’s fault is necessary. If the other party is at fault, their liability insurance can be pursued for additional expenses like ongoing medical treatment, full wage loss, and non-economic damages.
Florida’s no-fault insurance system can be complex and confusing. An attorney experienced in Florida’s specific laws can help navigate through the intricacies of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claims and guide clients on when and how to step outside the no-fault system for additional compensation after a tire blowout accident.
Contact Our Florida Car Accident Lawyers After a Tire Blowout Accident
If you or a loved one has been involved in a tire blowout accident in Florida, it’s crucial to understand your rights and options. Navigating the complexities of Florida’s no-fault insurance laws and determining fault can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to face it alone. Our law firm is skilled in handling personal injury cases, particularly those involving tire blowouts and car accidents in Florida. We’re committed to providing you with the legal guidance and support you need to secure the compensation you deserve.
Take the first step towards justice and peace of mind. Let us handle the legal complexities while you focus on your recovery. Contact personal injury lawyer Prosper Shaked today at (305) 694-2676 for a free consultation on your case.