Many personal injury cases arise from car accidents. Drivers are always expected to exercise reasonable care whenever they are on the road. When that duty is breached, and another person is injured, personal injury laws allow the injured person to recoup their losses. California is a fault or tort state for car accidents, so if the driver is not at fault, then the person responsible for causing the accident must be found. In some instances, car accidents are caused by defective vehicles. If you or your loved one is in such a situation, you need the help of an experienced Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney to help you prove your case and get the compensation you deserve.

Understanding Personal Injury Laws in California

Every state in the country has laws in place regarding personal injuries, among the many offenses that pursue monetary damages. In the state of California, laws on personal injury relate with both intentional torts, which include negligence torts, violent assault, and car accident torts as well as strict liability offenses resulting from defective products and attacks by animals.

When a person is hurt because of another one’s negligence, purposeful conduct or breach of duty, state laws allow that person to take legal action or sue the party responsible for their injuries. This is so that the injured parties can get monetary compensation for the losses incurred, including lost wages, medical bills, rehab expenses, reduced earning ability, and also the suffering and pain.

Before seeking compensation, it is essential to take time to understand the basics of California personal injury laws and how a personal injury attorney can help you recover from your losses. There are statutes of limitations, too, which is the deadline within which the injured person must file a lawsuit against the responsible party for them to get compensated. Once that time runs out, the law will not allow you to file for legal action. An injured person in California is, for instance, allowed two years to file a legal complaint from the time they got hurt. For injuries that are not discovered immediately, the injured person has up to twelve (12) months from the time they found the damage to file for personal injury compensation.

California Car Accident Compensation Laws

California is a bustling state, especially within the major cities. Car accidents are prevalent too, which is the reason why the state has strict car accident compensation laws to protect motorists and drivers who find themselves injured at the fault of other people. Car accidents in California are treated as either:

  • At fault
  • Pure comparative negligence

Like many other states, California has an ‘at fault' system, also called a tort system for filing insurance claims. A person seeking compensation for personal injuries sustained in a car accident must show proof of the person who was at fault in the accident for their application to be successful.

Again, the state is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that if your case goes beyond filing for an insurance claim and you file a legal complaint against the person at fault, the judge will calculate percentages of the people who were at fault and this could reduce the driver’s liability.

When a car accident happens, there are mainly two types of damages that come as a result:

  • Economic costs: these will include car repairs and replacements, lost income, past, and future medical expenses and other out-of-pocket expenses
  • Non-economic damages: these include the pain, disability and disfigurement and the emotional distress that comes with personal injuries

California Tire Defect Accidents

A driver may not always be at fault when a car accident occurs. At times the accident may be caused by negligence on the part of the car or tire manufacturer, resulting in a defective car or tire that causes a severe collision. In such a case, the injured person will be entitled to get compensation for their medical expenses, suffering, and lost wages from the manufacturer and not the driver. Such a case will require the expertise of a team of well-experienced and knowledgeable attorneys as it needs to be well investigated to establish where the fault is. 

When a car accident occurs resulting from a tire defect, commonly called a blowout, one of the following might be the cause:

A Tire Explosion

A tire explosion or a blowout is a hazardous and common cause of vehicle accidents in many parts of the country. When a tire explodes, the driver loses control of the car and could crash into other cars or anything in their way. When this happens, and the driver is on the highway, driving at highway speed, several cars could be involved in the accident. To hold anyone responsible for such an accident, you will need to prove that they were negligent. There must be proof that the tire manufacturer failed his mandate to use proper skills or care in the production of quality tires. If it is established that the manufacturer breached the duty they owed the motorist, they might be held responsible for causing the accident and made to pay accordingly.

The driver of the car with the exploded tire will be investigated too, to find out whether or not they were following all traffic rules and were driving carefully. If the driver was found to be driving carefully before a blowout and there is proof that they did everything they could to minimize the damages and prevent injuries after the blowout, he will not be held responsible for the accident.

The people who will be under investigation in such a case are the driver, the company the driver is working for (if it is a company car or a truck) and the tire manufacturing company. In case the vehicle in the accident was a truck, there are other duties that trucking companies must fulfill as part of their normal operations to ensure they are driving safely on the roads. There are federal trucking regulations, for instance, which must be adhered too. Also, these will be considered during the investigation before the trucking company, and the truck driver is absolved of their responsibility.

If it is established that frequent inspections were carried out and the driver did his part of examination before starting his shift, then the tire manufacturer may be at fault. Tires could be unsafe because of the way they were manufactured, and if that is the case, then the person responsible for the crash will be the manufacturer. A defective tire could wear out too quickly or thin out in certain areas, leading to tire failure.

Tire Sidewall Collapse

Several things can cause a sidewall collapse.

Under-inflation- this could be caused by tire damage or driver negligence and happens when a tire loses air below the normal range, which is over 25%. Every tire loses air, and damaged tires lose more air than tires in good condition. When a tire loses much of its air, there will be not enough pressure to support the load of the vehicle or the passengers in the car. This results in heat buildup, which, together with the existing high temperature of the tire, can cause the tire to dissipate. A sidewall collapse is highly likely to happen in warmer months, and the resulting accident can get even more dangerous on highways.

This could be a driver’s fault or the fault of the manufacturing company if indeed the collapse was caused by under-inflation and the car or truck did not have an installed Tire Pressure Monitoring system.

Overload- sidewall collapse of tires can also be caused by an overloaded vehicle. When a car carries more than its capacity, the tires can overheat and explode, causing a severe accident, especially on a highway. An overloaded vehicle will also be unstable on the road, making it hard to control, mainly if a sidewall blowout has already occurred. An accident may be inevitable if a driver is driving at high speeds while the vehicle is overloaded. When such an accident occurs, the liability will automatically fall on the driver or the trucking company.

Uneven tire wear: worn out tires are likely to heat up faster than brand new ones. Things could even get worse if the cords are showing, as it means that the tires can fall apart so easily and quickly. Bald tires are more susceptible to damage; they lose air very fast and could soon cause a blowout before a driver realizes it. It is easy for a driver to notice tire wear and replace the tire, but a case of irregular wear will be different. It is possible that a tire is wearing out and the driver is not realizing it, to the point that the cord becomes exposed, while the rest of its tread is still in perfect condition. If it is proven that the tire was manufactured with improper or defective materials, then the tire manufacturer will be held responsible for the resulting accident.

Manufacturing defects: one of the first mistakes that could cause a tire sidewall collapse is if the tire has a low-speed rating. If tires are not adequately tested before they are released to the market, some may have a lower speed rating, which may not be enough and could result in overheating. Other manufacturing defects could cause tire blowouts, such as:

  • Imbalance in compounds or presence of moisture or impurities in the tire at the time of manufacturing- These can cause a radical tear from the bead to the tread, appearing as a tire sidewall and causing an accident.
  • When the connection between the belt ply and the tread is broken- this results to a bulge along with the tread, which could, in the end, cause a tear and then a blowout.
  • If the tire is defectively overheating, causing blisters between the tire pliers- chunks of rubber may fall off out the tire's tread, and the cords may get exposed, which is dangerous enough.
  • Wrong designing or inadequate rubber compounds- this causes the tire to de-bead at its rim, resulting in a full deflation.

The driver, the trucking company, or the tire manufacturer could be at fault if the accident resulted from tire sidewall collapse. Drivers and trucking companies have their part to play to promote safe driving, for instance checking to make sure that tire pressure is okay, matching the tire load with the speed ratings provided and not using old and worn-out tires among other things.

Tread Separation

This is a hazardous condition that occurs when the tread of a tire separates from its casing or body. Sometimes a tire may wear out prematurely or unevenly, as a result of a defect in design or defect at its manufacturing point. For a tire to remain safe and to stay put for a long time, there should be a strong bond between all the tire's unique rubber compounds and the piles of fabric cords as well as the metal wires. When the tread gets worn out or separates, there are increased risks of blowouts and accidents. Regularly inspecting your tires may be one way of detecting wear and tear on time for a quicker action.

Tread separation be caused by:

  • Excessive wear- if your tires have exceeded their set number of miles, you might be overworking them, and the excess wear on already worn-out tires could increase their rate of tread separation, resulting to a blowout.
  • Improper flat repair- if the tire was repaired at one point using a plug and patch, there could be errors in that kind of renovation which might result in a separation.
  • Manufacturer defects- problems in the manufacturing of tires could also cause tread separation. Sometimes, there might be an error in portioning chemicals during the manufacturing process, and this could cause the tread not to bond correctly with the steel belting.
  • Careless driving habits: a driver who is not careful enough may bring damage to their tires. Even the best tires in quality and design will be damaged if you continuously hit potholes at high speeds.

Depending on the cause of the problem, the judge can quickly point out who is at fault in case of a road crash for them to repay the injured people of all their losses.

Tire Bead Failure

The tire bead is the part of a tire that rests on the wheel and is kept in place by air pressure. Again, defects during the manufacturing of the bead or the mounting process can cause the entire tire to fail to work as it should or to explode. Low air pressure is also a problem that could cause tire bead failure. The bead needs enough pressure to hold it in place so it could not come out of its position, separating the tire from its wheel.

If it is established that this was the cause of the crash, different parties could be liable depending on the cause of the defect. The tire manufacturer could, for instance, be held responsible if it is proven that there was a manufacturing problem or a problem with the bead design, which caused the bead not to work correctly. A mechanic could also be liable if it is established that they did not install the tire of the wheel properly, which caused the bead failure.

How to Sue for a Personal Injury Claim Caused by Defective Tires

Since California is ‘at fault' state, one can sue for personal injury claims if they got involved in a car accident and the cause was defective tires. You could sue the driver, the trucking company, or the tire manufacturer, depending on who is liable for the accident.

What you need to do is to talk to a personal injury attorney for advice and help in filing your case as soon as possible. Remember that there is a statute of limitations, so you should not take more time if you want to get compensated for the losses incurred. Taking action on time will ensure that your attorney has enough time to gather evidence and have experts analyze the scene of the accident and the tires so that you will have enough evidence in court.

For a personal injury claim, you should be able to claim the right amount of compensation especially if the injury was severe and this will include medical expenses, lost wages during the recovery period and any decreased earning potential you might be facing going forward. The court will also consider the pain, mental anguish, and any other kind of suffering you might be going through and have you compensated for it.

Find a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Near Me

If you or your loved one were involved in a car accident that was caused by defective tires, you should be able to file a personal injury claim and recover all the damages you have sustained. You have several options, and the process could be long and tedious, which is why you need professional help. A Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer will offer the much-needed support, advice, and help you might face during this difficult period in your life. Call us at 424-231-2013 for immediate help!