Tire blowouts can happen on any kind of vehicle, causing considerable damage, harm, injuries, and losses. If you or someone you know was hurt in a roadway accident involving a tire blowout, consider contacting a trusted Louisiana auto accident attorney right away. At Wright & Gray, our experienced lawyers represent injury victims and fight for their legal right to recover compensation for their injuries. Call our office at 888-912-4944 or contact us through our website to schedule your free consultation.
What Is a Tire Blowout?
A tire blowout is essentially an explosion that occurs when a vehicle’s tire rapidly loses pressure. A tire blowout is not necessarily the same as a flat tire, because in a blowout, there is typically a loud sound accompanying the sudden air pressure loss, while a flat tire can occur gradually while the tire slowly loses air. Tire blowouts are extremely dangerous because of their sudden onset, and they contribute to a huge proportion of highway accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019, there were 612 fatalities in highway accidents due to tire failures. Blowouts can occur in all types of vehicles with rubber tires, but they are especially common among large vehicles carrying heavy loads.
What Causes a Tire Blowout?
Tire blowouts tend to occur when tires are worn or weak. According to the NHTSA, these are a few of the most common examples of what causes a tire blowout.
When a vehicle carries a lot of weight, it puts a lot of pressure on the tires. It wears down the tread more quickly and more unevenly. This means that the weight can put an uneven amount of pressure on one tire over the others, which can lead to a blowout. Note that all vehicles have weight restrictions, including private passenger vehicles and large commercial vehicles.
In the summer, the road can get extremely hot. In the middle of the day, pavement or asphalt can reach over 140 degrees Fahrenheit, or in some particularly hot regions, temperatures can even reach up to 170 degrees. It is no surprise that blowouts occur most commonly in the summer, and a significant cause of that is simply the heat.
Ensuring that the vehicle has proper tire pressure is one of the best ways to avoid a tire blowout. When tires are underinflated, the tire is pressed more flatly against the road. This sometimes causes the sides of the tires to make contact with the road, as opposed to the thicker, sturdier rubber on the bottom of the tire. The rubber on the sides of the tire is not meant to withstand this much contact on the road, so it is more likely to burst. Most modern vehicles should be equipped with a tire pressure sensor that will alert the driver when the tires need attention. Drivers, both private and commercial, are responsible for maintaining their vehicle to avoid dangers associated with low tire pressure.
Punctures or Impacts
Highways are often covered with debris, like cargo that fell loose from other vehicles, loose nails and screws, and rubble from accidents. Similarly, the road itself may contain dangerous conditions like potholes or uneven lanes that can put a huge strain on the vehicle’s tires. A sudden impact or puncture damage can cause the tires to quickly break and explode. Keep a lookout for debris on the road and take special care to avoid it.
Using Worn Tires
Tires wear out naturally over time. When the rubber wears down, they are less equipped to withstand the friction of the road. They will be more susceptible to heat, dangerous road conditions, or debris that the vehicle may impact while driving. Tires should be regularly rotated and replaced when the tread is worn down below a safe level.
What to Do If You Were Injured in a Tire Blowout
If you were involved in an accident caused by a tire blowout, these steps may help you seek safety and preserve your legal rights.
Seek Medical Attention Right Away
Highway tire blowouts can cause serious injuries across numerous vehicles. The safety of the passengers is the most important priority. If you can, call 9-1-1 to the scene to seek medical attention for yourself or any other passengers who may have been injured in the accident. Another benefit of calling 9-1-1 is that the police should arrive to block off the road and prevent additional cars from adding to a pileup. Whether your symptoms are severe or minor, you should consider seeking medical care immediately following the accident. This helps create a record of your injuries, which can be helpful to support an insurance claim or lawsuit.
Exchange Insurance Information
Make sure you identify all of the people involved in the accident. In tire blowout accidents, it is possible for a number of vehicles and entities to be involved. For instance, if there is a truck involved, you should be sure to learn the name of the trucking company, not just the name of the driver. When filing insurance claims later on, it will be helpful to know all of the potential insurance policies at play.
Take Photos and Notes
If you can safely do so, make some records of the accident. Take photos of the scene and jot down everything you remember, such as the time of day, the weather conditions, and the sequence of events. This will come in handy as you will likely need to make a statement about your side of the story, and your memory can become confused or unclear over time.
Consider Speaking with a Louisiana Lawyer
Tire blowout accidents can quickly become legally complex and complicated. There are often numerous parties and insurance policies at play, and these large insurers may try to minimize the amount of money they pay out to injury victims. Further, it can be difficult to tell what causes a tire blowout, so parties may argue over who is liable for the accident. An experienced Louisiana lawyer may be able to help you navigate these insurance companies’ tactics and seek the compensation you are due. In some cases, you may need to file a lawsuit to preserve your legal rights.
Trust Our Louisiana Personal Injury Lawyers
The trusted Louisiana attorneys at Wright & Gray have been representing personal injury victims for years. We pride ourselves on the attention and care we provide to each of our clients. If you are interested in learning more, call our office at 888-912-4944 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you do not owe us anything unless we win your case.