There are a lot of commercial trucks and 18-wheelers on Houston highways and freeways. The Houston Ship Channel, the oil industry, the Texas Medical Center and much more makes Houston a sprawling, 4th largest city in the United States. Accidents involving large trucks and 18-wheelers cause a lot of damage and serious injuries many times leading to death. For this reason, commercial trucks are governed by a strict set of rules regarding their operation.
Tire Blowouts and the Damage They Cause
At high speeds, a tire blowout can create an accident nightmare. Tires on 18-wheelers and semi-trucks carry a lot of weight, and receive plenty of wear-and-tear. The shrapnel from the large commercial tires can cause damage to other vehicles or seriously injure drivers or passengers. Tire blowouts can also cause drivers to lose control over the vehicle, which then may start a chain reaction accident. At highway speeds, this leads to very serious accidents. In the worst-case scenario, the truck driver could lose control over the commercial vehicle starting the freeway accident. So, it can be the tire shrapnel as well as the commercial truck itself that can cause damage to vehicles, passengers and drivers.
Truck Accident Statistics
Again, at the highway speeds of 70-75 miles per hour, the chances of catastrophic accidents are high. According to the FMCSA, there were over 4,444 fatal crashes and over 100,000 crashes resulting in injuries involving large commercial trucks in 2020. In this same report, it was found that over 40% of the accidents had a contributing factor that related to maintenance of the vehicle. It may have been faulty equipment, bad tires or defective parts that caused these accidents. When it comes to accidents involving large commercial trucks and 18-wheelers, it is a good idea to get an experienced personal injury lawyer that has commercial truck knowledge to help you investigate all aspects of the case. Do not rely on insurance companies to do a thorough investigation and to offer fair compensation.
Who is Responsible in an Accident Involving a Tire Blowout?
It takes an expert investigation to find everyone that may be liable for an accident where the tire blowout was the significant factor in causing the accident.
- The driver may be liable if the vehicle is found to be poorly maintained. The tires may be overinflated or underinflated. Also, the truck itself may be overloaded. For commercial vehicles in Texas, the tires must have a tread depth of 4/32” for safety. If there was no defect in the tire, the owner-operator could be held liable for damages caused by negligence.
- The tire manufacturer or distributor may be held liable if they knowingly sold tires that had a defective design or flaw. This usually gets looked at when the tires appear to be in good shape but still had a blowout.
- Third-Party liability can come into play when outside forces cause the tires to blowout. This could be the result of something such as a sharp object falling from another vehicle that causes the blowout. It may be that the streets were maintained poorly without proper warnings of hazardous road conditions that caused the tire to compress and blowout.
Because of the dangers of high speed accidents, Texas has a whole section of the commercial trucking regulations that deals just with tires. Knowledge and experience in commercial truck accidents are the key to successfully prosecuting a personal injury claim that involves a blown out tire. Personal injury lawyers like Attorney Rick Molina know the laws that govern commercial vehicles and will fight for the maximum compensation for your injuries resulting from poor maintenance of commercial truck tires.