Tire blowouts can come at unexpected times, causing serious injuries to pedestrians and other motorists alike. As a car owner, you are required by law to take care of your tires so as to prevent potential blowouts. If you have been involved in a car accident caused by damage to your tires, read on to learn when a tire blowout may or may not make you liable for injuries to others.
Your duty as a driver
As a driver, you are required to drive responsibly and prudently so as to avoid an accident. If a flat occurred unexpectedly while you were driving as a normally prudent person would, such as observing the speed limit and road signs, you may not be liable for any damages caused by the tire blowout that you couldn't avoid.
For example, if you were driving reasonably, but encounter a flat caused by debris on the road or some other uncontrollable event, you may not be found responsible for any ensuing accident. However, if you reacted unreasonably to the flat -- say by swerving hard or hitting the breaks--resulting in injuries to others, you may be liable even if the tire blowout was out of your control.
Your duty to inspect
Although the law may not require you to be an expert on the mechanics of your car, you are still required to take reasonable care to avoid tire blowouts while on the road. This means that you have the duty to inspect your tires for any notable defects and keep your vehicle off the road until the problems are fixed.
Drivers who drive until their tire threads are nearly worn out may be responsible for an accident caused by a flat on the road. You are also responsible for noticing any damage to the tires. For instance, if there is a nail lodged in a tire that causes a flat, you may not be able to claim that you weren't aware of the issue if an accident occurs.
Others parties that may be liable
In your duty to inspect your tires, you are required to take your car for regular maintenance. If your mechanic failed to notice a defect they should have seen when you last brought your car in for maintenance, they might be found liable for your crash instead of you. Automotive specialists that install your tires improperly or use the wrong type of tire for your car model could also be found liable for accidents caused by a flat.
If you were involved in a traffic accident of any kind, make sure to speak with a lawyer from a firm like Swartz & Swartz P.C. They can help you navigate the tricky waters of auto accident liability.