Bad Tires Can Make You the At-Fault Driver in a Car Accident
If a tire blowout or loss of traction due to bald tires causes you to lose control of your car, leading to a car accident with injuries, will you be found at fault and liable for the injuries to others? Or, does this situation qualify as one of those “acts of God” for which you cannot be held responsible? The answer depends largely on whether negligence on your part contributed to the collision. In order to be found at fault for injuries to others, you must have been negligent or careless in some way.
However, some type of negligence on your part does not necessarily mean you will be found 100 percent at fault for a collision. There is always the possibility that the other driver was partially or primarily at fault, perhaps because they disobeyed a traffic signal or committed some other traffic violation.
Here are a few examples to illustrate when a tire failure might result in your being judged at fault or not at fault for a collision.
Your fault. If one or more of your tires were bald or had obvious sidewall cracks or bulges indicating weak spots, and you knew about it or should reasonably have known about it, then you could be found negligent in the event of a collision. Checking the condition of your tires is a basic task that any car owner can do and has a duty to do. The police officer who investigates the crash can easily look at your tires, see their condition, and read the code that shows the age of the tires.
Not your fault. If a tire blowout happened because you ran over a nail or piece of road debris that you could not see or avoid, then the blowout itself is not your fault. However, even when a blowout happens, you are expected to retain control over your vehicle and do your best to guide your vehicle to the shoulder of the road or another safe location out of the mainstream of traffic. Assuming you were not speeding and maintained reasonable control of your vehicle, you should not be found primarily at fault.
Your fault. If your bald tires, possibly combined with driving too fast for conditions, caused your vehicle to hydroplane or spin out on a wet or icy road, then you could be found negligent for a collision.
Not your fault. If the tire failure occurred due to a manufacturing defect in the tire or improper installation by a dealer, then you will probably not be found primarily at fault for the accident. The injured party may instead file a liability claim against the manufacturer or the dealer who installed your tires.
Hundreds of people die each year in tire-related crashes. Stay safe and inspect your tires whenever you get your oil changed or check your tire pressure. Also, rotate your tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles or as directed by your owner’s manual.
Contact an Orland Park Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a member of your family has been seriously injured in a car accident, the at-fault party’s auto insurance policy should pay for all or part of your damages, depending on that person’s policy limits. But how can you be sure that a settlement offered by an insurance company is fair and is going to cover the full extent of your damages, some of which may not be immediately obvious? Before accepting a settlement, you would be wise to consult a knowledgeable Cook County car accident attorney. For a free consultation, call Schwartz Injury Law at 708-226-9000 in Orland Park or 815-723-7300 in Joliet.