Commercial vehicles haul a lot of products. Sometimes, those trucks have open tops (like some dump trucks) or open sides, which increases the risk of debris spilling from the truck and on the road – or onto your car.
As a driver, you are generally expected to be on the lookout for road debris. Drivers and trucking companies are required to fully inspect and properly load their cargo so it doesn’t spill, but sometimes things go wrong. For example, what happens if a big rig blows a tire while you are driving behind the vehicle, and you cannot safely maneuver out of the way in time to avoid being hit?
Injuries from tires and tire treads
If tread or rubber from a truck strikes a vehicle, it can cause a lot of damage, and lead to some serious injuries. Just a partial blow-out or a partial tear can mean a very large object strikes your car. Even if part of the tire doesn’t strike your car, an accident can still happen as you try to avoid the flying truck debris.
Drivers can be held accountable for your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and property damage if they:
- Failed to inspect their tires before operating their vehicles. Tires should be inspected for tire pressure, tread depth, and many other factors.
- Failed to repair known tire defects.
- Were driving trucks over authorized weight limits.
- They were driving too fast for conditions.
Truck companies may also be liable if the employees were liable, but they an also be held responsible even if the driver was not. It does not happen often, but if a driver was not properly trained, or if the driver is not responsible for checking the tires of his or her rig, then the company alone could be liable for damages.
Of course, not all tire blowouts are caused by poor maintenance or inadequate repair. A tire can blow because of debris in the road, or if the driver hits a pothole. They can also blow out if they have a defect.
Federal inspection regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) does require that commercial trucks, including semis and tractor-trailers, be inspected on a regular basis. Specifically, the FMCSA requires that:
- “Every motor carrier shall systematically inspect, repair, and maintain, or cause to be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained, all motor vehicles subject to its control.
- Parts and accessories must be in safe and proper condition at all times.”
Trucking companies are also required to keep proper inspection and maintenance records. Trucks must pass an annual inspection which includes checking the tires.
The FMCSA also requires that drivers, on a daily basis, prepare a “post-trip inspection report.” If defects are noted, the motor carrier must certify that that defects have been repaired.
Part and parcel of any tire accident is proving that that the tire or rubber that struck your vehicle belonged to the truck in front of you. Our lawyers work with investigators to make every effort possible to find the rubber or tire tread. For this reason, to find the tire part or debris that struck your car, it is essential that the investigation begin as soon as possible – and that the police be called if there is an accident.
At Plattner Verderame, P.C., our Phoenix truck accident lawyers work with investigators who examine the scene of the crash. We speak with every known witness. Our lawyers question drivers and truck companies about the inspection and safety steps they did and didn’t take. To speak with an experienced car or truck accident lawyer in Arizona, call us today at 602-266-2002 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.
I have been active in leadership in the Arizona Association for Justice (lawyers who represent injured folks, and formerly known as the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association) since 1985. I served as President in 1991. I was an active participant in battles to protect the Arizona Constitution from the insurance industry and big business interests in 1986, 1990 and 1994.
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