Tires are the essential contact point that provides cars, trucks, and SUVs with a stable weight balance that keep the vehicle safe and secure when moving at any speed on or off the road. When it comes to safety you must be aware of any information about defective tire recalls on your vehicle.
When the tires of a vehicle are not manufactured properly or passed through a shoddy quality control division that doesn’t properly filter out effective products the consequences can be counted in human lives. When a defective tire causes the loss of innocent life, the responsibility for this death falls on the hands of the manufacturers and distributors that allow faulty tires to leave their control and be placed on a vehicle transporting human life.
The Willis Law Firm has many years of experience providing expert legal representation to those victims of auto accidents caused entirely or partially by a defective tire. This could be caused by an important recall that the manufacturer’s failure to issue, poor installation or thread separation. No matter what the reason behind the issue, our Houston injury lawyers will conduct a full case review and see our clients receive their rightful compensation through a competent litigation process.
Table of Contents
What You Need to Know About Tire Recalls
It is not easy to determine the exact number of tires that are affected, brands that have been recalled and how often these recalls will occur. To give an example, figures held by the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association show there were 50 recalls made by three manufacturers for 11 different brands and 16 tire models made in 2017. Since then, tires have been recalled by some of the biggest brands in the tire industry including Sumitomo, Kumho, Continental, and many other big-name tire companies.
In a perfect world, tire manufacturers would conduct their own quality control process and ensure that only the most perfectly designed and manufactured tires ever leave their production facilities. Actually, many defective tires enter the markets each year and the only way tire companies find out about their defective tires is when consumers make a complaint. They can then make an investigation and a recall, but many consumers will not hear about the recall in time to prevent injury and possibly death.
When a car accident occurs and the culprit is defective tires, count on the skill and expertise of auto defect lawyers in Houston, Texas to conduct a proper investigation. After we have established that the tires were defective we will establish liability of the tire service provider that installed the tires or the manufacturers of defective tires. It is important to note that just because a tire has not been recalled, does not mean that it is free of all dangerous defects.
Facts about Defective Tire Recalls
A recall is never done on time and may not even effectively reach every motorist riding on defective tires. In the case of an automobile being recalled, the recall is more effective as the state will work with automobile manufacturers to inform motorists of the recall. But, this is not the case with a tire recall, the only way to contact motorists with defective tires is through the registration cards and this is a method of dubious efficiency.
Most recalls will be made voluntarily. That is the manufacturer issues the recall himself after seeing a product is defective or being alerted to such a problem by a government agency such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). If the manufacturer is notified by a government agency and still refuses to make a recall, the manufacturer may be sued by this government agency and this may result in an involuntary recall.
Tires can be recalled for a wide spectrum of defects in their design, manufacturing or installation. Recent tire recalls have been made for some of these reasons:
- Tire belt separation
- Visible cords are seen through the inner liner
- Fail to meet strength test requirements
- Sudden loss of air
- Incompletely cured vulcanizing compound
- Loss of vehicle control due to tire belt separation
- Missing load rate information
- Missing date code TIN information
- Separation of the tire sidewall
Checking Your Tires for Recalls and Reporting Problems
If you are in the market for some new tires or re concerned about the conditions of your tires, you can check to see if the tires you are concerned with have been recalled or been the subject of numerous complaints. You can also issue a complaint yourself so that others will be warned about any possible issues with a specific tire brand or model.
What Responsibilities Does the Tire Manufacturer Have?
According to estimates by the NHTSA, over 11,000 tire-related accidents occur each year and although not all are caused by defective tires, many of them are. Just like any other consumer product, defective tires should be recalled as soon as their design or manufacturing shows any sign of issues that could affect their performance. This doesn’t always happen.
Tires are constructed of a sturdy combination of steel belting, fabrics, rubber, and other chemical compounds. They are designed to sustain specific weights and can provide different levels of traction suitable to the terrain or roads they will be navigating. Once they have been selected and purchased, tires will be filled with air, mounted onto their vehicles and balanced properly.
When Can Tire Manufacturers Be Held Liable?
Half of the tire-related accidents today are due to under-inflation. Even though manufacturers and installers will try to place the blame on the consumer, there are some situations that can lead to civil liability:
- The installer allows inflated tires to leave their business with bubbles or blisters in sidewalls;
- Tread separation occurs despite proper inflation and use of tire by the consumer;
- The retailer sold tires set aside because of known defects;
- Manufacturer knew of the defect but did not recall in a timely manner;
- Any of the above causes serious injury, or death.
At the Willis Law Firm, we hold those accountable for tire defects responsible for their actions. This includes manufacturers who use faulty processes, retailers for profiting from the sales of dangerously defective products and the installers who knowingly install tires with visible defects.
What Kind of Defects Lead to Tire Recalls?
Today’s huge variety of vehicles operating in many different environments place a huge amount of pressure on tires and even very small flaws can lead to catastrophic accidents. Sidewall blisters may seem like a minor thing in the broad scheme of things, but these air bubbles can burst during operation and cause a sudden drop in air pressure. Other defects include rim or bead failure and tread separation. Any of these flaws can cause a serious accident if they occur at the wrong moment.
The experienced tire defect lawyers at the Willis Law Firm have the grit to pursue rightful compensation for injuries brought about by defective tires. Defective tire lawsuits are unique as are the particulars of your situation. We know what it takes to conduct a proper investigation into the incident. To ensure a speedy resolution we will often work with a private investigator who will aid us in determining liability. During the entire process, we will keep the client informed of all developments regarding their case.
What are the Tire Defect Categories?
Product safety has become an increasing concern since the 1900s. Back then, you could slap a label on just about anything you could find and begin your own racket as a snake oil vendor. One prominent pharmaceutical sold heroin as children’s cough syrup, doctor’s endorsed cigarettes and asbestos was in every house – it was a time to be reckless.
Despite massive progress in this area, the situation is still not perfect. Before a government agency will actually step in and demand that a recall is issued, they must receive thousands of reports mentioning the same problem. This means that by the time action is taken and the recall is issued, the damage to many lives may already be done.
The underlying issues in a tire defect case may include:
To make the most cash for their costs, many companies will use cheaper materials and labor. This means that designs that are completely safe will not perform well when they hit the roads.
The 1970s saw the rise and popularity of the Ford Pinto. Even though manufacturers knew that the design was flawed and the gas tank was dangerously situated, they ignored their data and made millions on the sale of the Pinto. As a result, 180 people met a horrible fiery end in these death traps.
What Type of Compensation Can Be Awarded in a Tire Defect Case?
Defective tire cases tend to be especially serious in nature and there is, therefore, a great deal of compensation available in such a case. This can include compensation for economic damages like the medical costs and lost wages caused by the accident. Jurors often award considerable punitive damages in these cases as well.
In a defective tire case, the only thing that must be established is the cause. It is required of manufacturer companies that their products be safe for use. This is especially true for tires that will be supporting the weight of vehicles moving at high speeds in all types of conditions.
At times, defective tire cases can also involve negligence. These are far easier to explain to a jury, instead of boring them to death with air pressure parameters and industry standards, they’ll get to hear a more exciting tale about a careless company.
Can I Be Confident I’ll Be Notified of a Tire Recall?
78,000 car accidents are caused each by tire blowouts. Sometimes these are caused by consumer error like overloading the vehicle or underinflating the tires, but defective tires are responsible for a good portion of these crashes. Given the vast spectrum of severity in tire-related car accidents, it is important that consumers learn how to protect themselves and their passengers.
Staying Informed About Tire Recalls
It is generally easier to know the risks you face with a set of defective tires than other defective features of your automobile. The market for second-hand tires is very small, so most people are the original owners of their tires. This is not the same as the risk involved with defective airbags for example that could be on their fourth owners and there is no clear picture of what kind of car you are driving or if there are any safety recalls for their ride.
One good way to protect yourself is by registering your tires with the manufacturers. Sure they will be using this information for marketing reasons, but in the event that a recall is issued you can expect to be notified promptly.
You can also record the Tire Identification Number and tire size. You will find this information on the sidewall of the tire. You can the sty connected with the NHTSA through social media. As soon as a recall is issued you will get a notification of the TIN and size of the tire.
A google alert can also be requested. If you have a Google account just use the search term “+ recall” to find out more.
Tire Recalls We Have Handled
- BF Goodrich
- Pep Boys
Defective Tire Issues
One big problem with recalls is that they typically come in too late. The NHTSA must collect a considerable amount of evidence before they will take action and issue a recall. Furthermore, government officials are typically reluctant to second guess other government officials who have already said the tire was safe for use.
For this reason, there are so many defective tires out there causing regular accidents. If such an issue were to happen to your family, there are three types of claims you will be able to make.
“For the want of a nail”, or in many cases a screw, the whole manufacturing process can be flawed. These small errors can go undetected in the manufacturing process and release poorly constructed tires into the market.
Breach of Warranty
There are several implied warranties laid out by the Uniform Commercial Code. Some of the most important ones have to do with a product’s fitness for its intended purpose, proper packaging and consistency. If the tire is designed for off-road use tire may be additional warranties applied.
Some tires are defective from the drawing board and often caused by an alteration made to save time or costs on production that compromises the safety of the product.
Have You Been Injured as a Result of Defective Tires?
The manufacturers of your vehicle may also be at fault for a tire-related accident. Your car should have a pressure monitoring system that indicates when the pressure in a tire has gotten too low. If you have been careful to keep your tires properly inflated and this happens, liability may fall on the manufacturers.
Get Legal Help after a Tire Related Car Accident
If you have been injured in an accident related to tires, you deserve compensation for your damages. Contact the Willis Law Firm at (713) 529-9377 to schedule your free consultation. Our expert car accident lawyers will go over all the details of your case and explain what your best course of legal action should be.