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Can You Sue the Manufacturer for a Tire Failure in Maryland?

Tire defects and failures are the cause of thousands of accidents each year, many of which cause injuries, and even death in some instances. Many people are familiar with one of the largest tire recalls in history involving Ford and Firestone. At the time of the recall, there had been several hundred accidents involving defective Firestone tires that suffered tread separation, which caused many rollover accidents with Ford Explorers. Over 14 million tires were part of that recall, which spurred highly-publicized litigation, including class-action suits.

Under product liability laws, manufacturers are required to produce a product that is reliable and safe. If a tire has a defect or unexpectedly fails, you may be entitled to pursue reimbursement for your injuries and property damage.

Types of Tire Failures

There are a number of different things that can cause a tire failure. These include:

  • Design Defect: There are several different defects that can lead to a tire failure. This may be anything from a faulty design to a problem during the manufacturing process. There is also the failure to warn when the manufacturer becomes aware of a defect but fails to tell anyone.
  • Tire Inflation Explosion: A number of issues can cause a tire to explode during inflation, which can result in serious injuries.
  • Tread and Belt Separation: There is a potential for tread separation because it is difficult to get steel to adhere to rubber, especially in hot weather and at higher speeds. The use of safety belts as a design modification will help, but some manufacturers do not use them due to higher costs.
  • Sidewall Failure: Sidewall failures, also called zipper failures, often happen during the inflation process. If the sidewall fails, it can often injure the person inflating the tire along with other bystanders. They get the name “zipper failure” because of the way the sidewall looks after it explodes.
  • Bead Failure: The bead wire is the weakest part of the tire, and if it is weak, an explosion may occur.

Warning Signs

While you can not necessarily predict if and when a tire is going to fail, regular inspection of your tires might show warning signs, so you can make a claim before any accident or injury occurs. You should start by checking the tread with a tread depth gauge.

Check your tread wear indicator bars, which are the evenly spaced rubber ribs you see in the tread around the whole tire. As it wears down, the ribs are more prominent. This is a sign of excessive wear, and you should have the tires looked at and replaced immediately.

Also, check your sidewalls for damage. This damage can occur from hitting a curb, for example. You may see a bulge or tear, which can occur from impact damage that allowed air to make a “pocket” in the tire body.

Retaining a Maryland Accident Attorney

In the event you sustained an accident that may be attributed to a defective tire or tire failure, you need to contact a Maryland car accident attorney who has experience with product liability cases. The Law Office of Robert R. Castro has years of experience with handling these types of cases. Contact our office today at 301-870-1200 to schedule an initial consultation.

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