A fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and requires the support of 18 or more very large, heavy-duty truck tires to carry its load. Each tire generally weighs more than 100 pounds and sustains wear and tear traveling up to 500 miles per day. Although trucking companies are held to a high standard of maintenance to ensure safety, these mammoth truck tires do sometimes blow out on the road.
Not only does a truck tire blowout make an 18-wheeler harder to handle and increase the chances of an accident, but a blowout can also shred a massive truck tire and send large pieces of hard and heavy rubber tread flying all over the road. Sometimes these pieces strike smaller nearby vehicles, or they end up on the road, creating a dangerous obstacle. If a car swerves to avoid a piece of tread, it might strike a vehicle in another lane, causing property damage and injuries to all occupants.
Causes of Truck Tire Blowouts
Truck tire blowouts occur when a worn, damaged, or compromised tire hits an object that is large or sharp enough to burst or puncture the tire, causing a sudden loss of air pressure. Specific causes of such blowouts include:
If the edges of the hole are sharp, they can cut through the tire’s tread and internal fabric, causing it to fray or burst.
All tires on a semi-truck should have proper tread depth and similar wear patterns. They should also be inflated to the correct pressure. Underinflation causes wear and tear to the internal components of the tire and weakens it. Overinflation puts too much air pressure on the inside of the tire. Worn-out tires can fail even when a truck isn’t fully loaded.
In hot weather, high air temperatures cause a truck tire to overinflate, putting excessive stress on its tread and making the tire more prone to fail. The added heat and friction generated by contact with asphalt on the highway further compromise the tire and increase the chances of a blowout.
Tires can vary in terms of quality, and a certain percentage of new tires have defects. Truck drivers and trucking companies should purchase high-quality tires, perform timely maintenance inspections as required by law, pay attention to safety notices, and know which tires are being recalled for safety reasons.
A tractor-trailer has 18 or more wheels because they’re necessary to carry the truck’s immense load. If a truck is loaded beyond its capacity, the wheels will not be sufficient to transport its load. More pressure is put on each tire, which is then more likely to fail and blow out on the highway.
Most causes of blowouts are preventable and occur due to negligence on the part of one or more parties. If you’re injured in a truck tire blowout accident, you’re entitled to file an insurance claim against the negligent parties for your damages: medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering.
Accidents Resulting From Truck Tire Blowouts
The truck accident most often caused by a tire blowout is an un-tripped rollover. This means that the truck does not roll over due to striking an obstacle in the road. Instead, the blowout simply unbalances the truck and its entire load. The trailer can then twist and pull the cab over with it, sometimes rolling the entire rig across adjacent lanes and causing multiple accidents that result in catastrophic injuries or death for the truck driver and the occupants of nearby vehicles.
A flying piece of tread can also break your windshield or block your vision. Running over a piece of shredded tread or trying to avoid one can force you into another lane and increase the chances of a collision. If your car is struck by a piece of tread, don’t slam on your brakes. Try to stay in your lane and slow down gradually until you can safely pull over and stop. You should then call 911 to report the accident, take photos of the scene and vehicles involved (including the blown tire or pieces of tread if possible), exchange information with the at-fault driver, and get contact information from any witnesses to the crash.
Injuries Sustained in Truck Tire Blowout Crashes
Truck tire blowouts can cause major damage to other vehicles and any number of serious injuries to their occupants, including:
- Fractured bones
- Joint sprains
- Muscle strains
- Scars and disfigurement
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
- Psychological trauma
Even if you don’t feel you’re seriously injured after a tire truck blowout wreck in Florence, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. The adrenaline produced by the experience of a crash can sometimes mask symptoms of injury. A doctor’s exam and diagnostic testing can reveal injuries you don’t know you have, allowing you to get immediate treatment for a faster recovery. A doctor’s exam also provides documentation of the injuries you’ve suffered in the accident, which is crucial to your claim for damages.
The Benefits of Consulting an Attorney
Proving the liability of the responsible parties when you’re injured by a truck tire blowout requires a thorough investigation. Your attorney can collaborate with an accident reconstructionist to gather clear evidence of the truck driver’s fault. There might also be other parties responsible for your wreck, including:
If the truck’s tires were worn out or improperly inflated, the driver’s employer bears some responsibility.
Offsite mechanic or repair service.
If a mechanic who services the truck failed to notice a defective tire or installed a tire improperly, the mechanic might be liable.
If you can prove the blown tire was defective when new, you might have a product liability claim against the company that made the tire.
Cargo loading personnel.
If the truck was overweight at the time of your accident, the parties in charge of loading it could bear responsibility for your damages.
Filing multiple insurance claims or lawsuits against the various parties above is a complex and difficult process that an experienced lawyer can handle while you recover from your injuries. You have nothing to lose by consulting a lawyer who can help you seek fair compensation.
Have You Been Injured In A Florence, South Carolina Area Truck Accident?
If you've been injured in a Florence truck accident you should speak with a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Florence, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.7540 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Charleston, Conway, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.