A tire blowout can be terrifying in a passenger vehicle, but when a big rig truck tire blows out, the situation becomes even more dangerous. A fully loaded 18-wheeler barreling down a California highway can instantly become an unpredictable 80,000 instrument of death or life-shattering injury.
Big rig tire blowouts are not the same as flat tires. Typically, a flat tire slowly loses pressure, whereas a tire blowout is loud and fast.
Blowouts can be identified by their sound: They are accompanied by a boom or bang as the tire immediately loses pressure. Air will then whoosh or hiss from the tire, followed by a flapping sound as the shredded tire continues to rotate. Simultaneously, the truck may begin to pull to one side, vibrate or swerve, making it difficult for the driver to control.
Have you been involved in an truck accident with a big rig truck due to their tire blowing out?
Premier Truck Accident Lawyers has over 52 years of combined experience working with personal injury cases. Speak with an attorney today for your free case evaluation.
Causes of Big Rig Tire Blowouts
Tire Defects: Tire defects are the cause of up to 30% of fatal semi-truck accidents. Even brand-new tires can be defective.
In some cases, a defective tire may not show signs of irregularity until it begins to wear.
Tire manufacturers are responsible for meeting quality standards and may be liable for damages in a blowout accident caused by a defective tire.
Lack of Truck Maintenance: Trucking companies are responsible for the care and keeping of their fleets, including staying up-to-date on regular tire maintenance, performing inspections, meeting safety requirements, and repairing or replacing tires as needed.
Unfortunately, when maintenance slips, truck and trailer tires can quickly deteriorate and put everyone on the road in danger.
Over inflation or Underinflation of Tires: When a tire is overinflated, pressure inside increases and the thread makes less contact with the road. Because the weight of the truck is not distributed properly, an overinflated tire is at higher risk of damage from potholes, debris, and other irregularities in the road.
On the other hand, an underinflated tire will flex and flatten, putting pressure on the sides of the tire instead of the thread. This creates weak spots that are prone to blow outs. Heat may also fill the empty space inside the tire, causing air to expand and the tire to explode.
Overloading Trucks: Exceeding a big rig’s weight restrictions is a recipe for disaster. When properly inflated, truck and trailer tires are under high amounts of pressure, and additional weight that exceeds capacity puts tires at risk of blowing.
In California, the total weight of a loaded truck may not exceed 80,000 pounds or 20,000 pounds on any one axle.
Roadway Hazards: Sometimes, even if the tire manufacturer, trucking company and driver do their due diligence and meet all safety regulations, a wild card such as uneven pavement, a pothole, nail or other debris in the road can cause a tire blowout.
Big Rig Truck Tire Blowout Injuries
Sadly, no matter the cause of a tire blowout, the consequences can be devastating.
Due to its size and weight, a semi-truck with a blown-out tire puts everyone nearby at risk. The driver may lose control, the truck may swerve, jackknife, or even turn over. An out-of-control truck can cause other drivers to panic and set off a chain reaction or multiple-vehicle accident.
When a semi-truck collides with a passenger vehicle, victims can be seriously injured or killed.
Common injuries caused by collision in a truck accident include fractures, cuts, burns, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, paralysis, amputation, and serious disfigurement.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, large trucks were involved in 4,478 fatal crashes and 114,000 crashes causing injury in the U.S. in 2019. Of the vehicle occupants killed in crashes with large trucks, 36% were in passenger vehicles such as sedans, convertibles, or station wagons, while an additional 35% were occupants of light trucks such as pickups, vans, or sport utility vehicles.
Big Rig Tire Blowout FAQs
Who can be held liable for an accident caused by a truck tire blowout?
In California, Depending on the cause of the blowout, the trucking company, manufacturer or even a state governmental agency may potentially be liable.
Factors like whether maintenance was appropriately conducted, whether the tire was defective, or if the blowout was caused by an irregularity in the road are all taken into consideration when determining liability.
Is it too late to file a lawsuit?
If you have been involved in a trucking accident, act fast because the clock is ticking.
In California, you must file a personal injury lawsuit following a truck accident within two years from the date of the accident. This is deadline is the legal “statute of limitations,” which limits the amount of time you have to file a suit.
Two years may sound like a long time, but that time can fly by, especially if you are dealing with medical care or rehabilitation.
Can I negotiate or file a claim with the other party’s insurance company?
Yes, but it’s best not to do it alone. Be careful, as negotiations do not stop the clock on the statute of limitations, and predatory claims adjusters may drag things out in hopes that you will unknowingly let the statute of limitations run out without filing suit.
It is best to work with an attorney at Premier Truck Accident Lawyers immediately, so we can negotiate with the insurance company, file a lawsuit if need be, and protect your interests as you recuperate.
Who can I ask about my specific truck accident case?
If you or a loved one has been involved in a trucking accident, Premier Truck Accident Lawyers is ready to provide you with a free case evaluation. You can reach us by calling toll free 866-999-9085 or by filling out the free case evaluation form on our website.
About the Author
For over 40 years Steven Peck's dedication to law has been unyielding. His approach to client representation and care is deeply respected by his colleagues and clients alike. Steven has extensive trial experience, with millions of dollars in damages recovered for clients in lawsuits throughout California.