Tires are an essential piece of road equipment that many drivers take for granted. It is easy to forget just how much wear and tear is put on tires as they complete thousands of revolutions across uneven road surfaces. But failure to properly maintain tires can result in accidents causing injury or even death.
Such failures can also be deemed negligence, which exposes the tire owner to liability for injuries caused by a tire-related accident. A Cleveland car accident attorney can help tire accident injury victims file claims and find all available sources of compensation for their injuries.
The Scope of the Tire Problem and What Drivers Can Do About It
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 719 traffic fatalities were caused by tire problems in the United States in 2015. Nearly 20,000 additional victims were injured by tires that year. These injuries and deaths resulted in millions of dollars in financial losses. Funeral expenses, lost wages, lost companionship of a family member, medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, pain and suffering, decreased future earning capacity, property damage and many other financial losses are directly attributable to dangerous auto accidents caused by tires.
So what can vehicle owners do to prevent tire-related accidents? Regular maintenance and inspection are critical steps to identifying and correcting tire problems before they cause an accident. As an added advantage, properly inflated tires allow drivers to maximize their fuel efficiency. The United States Department of Energy reports that drivers can improve fuel economy by an average of .6 percent (and in some cases, up to 3 percent) by keeping their tires inflated to the proper pressure.
Make regular inspections of tires before driving. Look for under-inflation, low treads, debris that could puncture the tire, and other problems that could interfere with the effective performance of a tire. It is also important to have a mechanic inspect tires for less obvious problems. An easy way to do this is to ask for a tire inspection any time a vehicle has an oil change or is in an auto shop for other maintenance.
Of course, not all tire-related accidents are caused by negligent maintenance on the part of the vehicle owner. A tire manufacturer can also cause accidents by selling tires that have been negligently designed or manufactured. In such cases, the manufacturer would be liable for accidents caused by defective tires and therefore obligated to compensate victims of such accidents. This is why many tire manufacturers issue recalls of defective tires. It is less expensive to fund a recall and issue thousands of refunds than it is to compensate victims of thousands of car accidents.
An auto accident caused by tire problems can raise many complicated legal issues. Some of these cases also raise complicated technical issues, such as the integrity of the tire design and whether an auto owner performed adequate maintenance on his or her vehicle. These issues can impair a victim’s ability to be compensated for injuries incurred in a tire-related car accident. Accident victims can protect their legal right to compensation by consulting with a Cleveland car accident attorney as soon as possible.