Automobile Accident Caused by Tire Failure (Tire Tread Separation)

Our firm represented a mother and father who lost their son in an automobile accident.

While the mother and father did not recognize the significance of the accident at the time of the initial meeting, the Stanley Law Firm determined that a defective tire caused the accident. At the time of the initial meeting with the clients, it was thought by the parents that the accident was probably caused by driver error.

On the date of the accident, the client’s son and girlfriend left Coastal Carolina University where they were attending college and began a trip to Charlotte, North Carolina. On interstate I-20, the girlfriend lost control of the vehicle when the tire tread separated from the left rear tire of the vehicle. As a result of the tire tread separation, the vehicle swerved off the travel portion of the road and struck a guardrail and then overturned several times before rolling down the road embankment.

Our clients’ son was ejected from the vehicle and suffered severe and fatal injuries as a result of the tire tread separation. His girlfriend who was driving the vehicle was seriously injured, but did survive the accident.

During the investigation of this case, our firm hired an accident re-constructionist to determine the cause of the accident. As originally thought by the attorneys at our firm at the initial client meeting, the tire had failed because of a tire tread separation.

A tire tread separation is a condition where the belts underneath a tire’s tread come apart and the tread itself begins to come off the rest of the tire. This condition is the most common defect in steel belted radial tires. Obviously, when a vehicle is traveling at a high rate of speed such as on an interstate, then this condition is extremely serious and many times it is deadly.

Based on the findings of our experts, the Stanley Law Firm brought a wrongful death and product liability suit against the manufacturer of the vehicle, the manufacturer of the tire, the dealership that was supposed to maintain the vehicle, and the distributor of the vehicle. As to the manufacturer of the tire, the lawsuit alleged that the tire manufacturer failed to use proper manufacturing techniques when it knew or should have known that the failure to do so would result in a defective tire, failed to test and inspect the tire, and failed to adequately design the tire.

We also brought suit against an automobile dealership and alleged that the dealership had failed to properly inspect the tires on the vehicle for signs of separation or a dangerous condition, failed to warn of the condition of the tire, and failed to train its employees to recognize signs of tread separation and premature aging in the tires. Through the review of the work orders, it was also determined that the dealership failed to perform services to the tires as shown on the work order for the vehicle.

After several attempts at settling this case through mediation, we were able to settle the case for over $6,000,000 prior to the trial date.