When is a Tire Manufacturer Liable for Accidents Caused by Faulty or Defective Tires?

Drivers in Columbus probably were not surprised when a recent study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute found Columbus to have the worst traffic in Ohio. Because of its central location and multiple interstate highways, drivers in Columbus can expect to spend more than 40 hours per year stopped or stalled in traffic.

With more traffic comes more car accidents. While many accidents can be avoided with careful driving, even the most conscientious motorists are susceptible to accidents caused by faulty tires. If defective tires cause an accident, when is the tire manufacturer to blame?

When can a tire manufacturer be held liable for damage in an accident?

The tire manufacturer is the company that designed, created, assembled or produced the tire. This is not necessarily the same company that actually sold the tire. A tire manufacturer is responsible for damage caused by a defective tire if any of the following situations can be proved:

  1. Defective manufacturing—Was the tire created in an shoddy or deficient manner?
  2. Defective design—Even if it was manufactured correctly, would the tire’s design have caused the damage?
  3. Improper warnings—Did the manufacturer fail to advise buyers of potential risks and hazards associated with the tire?
  4. Failure to perform as advertised—Did the tire fail to perform under the special conditions for which it was designed?

For example, if a tire manufacturer assembles a tire incorrectly and it falls apart while driving, the manufacturer may be liable for that accident. If the tire was created correctly but the design of the tire makes driving risky or more dangerous than it should be, the manufacturer could be liable for damages.

The tire manufacturer must warn the public of any risks or dangers inherent in a product. If a set of snow tires tends to become damaged or wear out in warmer conditions, the manufacturer must include warnings to that effect or risk liability for damages. Finally, if a manufacturer creates and advertises a product as being specially made for certain conditions, like heavy snow, a buyer may be able to sue for damages if the tires do not perform as advertised.

When is a tire manufacturer NOT liable for damages?

The tire manufacturer is generally responsible for damages caused by its products in the situations described above. A manufacturer will not be responsible for damages caused by its tires if the tires were:

  • installed incorrectly;
  • overused or worn out;
  • misused or being used in a purpose not intended by the manufacturer; or
  • damaged through some other, unforeseeable cause.

In these circumstances, other people, such as the driver or the dealership, may be responsible for damages the tires cause.

Not sure if you have a case? Contact us today!

Product liability cases against tire manufacturers can be tricky and often require expert testimony and knowledgeable legal representation. Contact Bressman Law today at (877) 538-1116 to discuss your case, and our products liability attorneys can determine if you are entitled to a settlement from the tire manufacturer.