If you were injured in a crash due to low tire pressure, there may be several parties who are liable for your damages. Your legal options for pursuing compensation generally depend on who is financially liable.
Our Fort Worth-area auto collision attorneys may be able to help investigate your claim to establish liability and build a strong case for maximum compensation. We offer a free consultation to discuss the facts of your claim and charge you nothing while we work on your case. There is no financial risk to you.
Below, we discuss the dangers of low tire pressure and what factors into liability when an accident occurs.
How Can Low Tire Pressure Result in a Crash?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, underinflated tires cause about 20 percent of car accidents. Low tire pressure may result in the following:
- Difficulty steering/stopping – underinflated tires do not keep their shape well, causing them to flatten out. This can cause the driver to have trouble steering the vehicle. Underinflated tires also do not grip the pavement well, making it harder to come to a proper stop, especially on slick roads.
- Overheated tires – heat can build up in tires that have low pressure, making them prone to overexpand and explode.
- Tire blowouts – an underinflated tire has more surface contact with the ground, making tires more vulnerable to sharp objects that can puncture the rubber. A rip in a tire could cause it to rapidly lose air, resulting in a blowout.
How Is Liability for a Low Tire Pressure Crash Determined?
Liability for a low tire pressure accident could be difficult to determine. First you must establish whether a party’s negligent actions resulted in the low tire pressure that caused the crash and your injuries.
There are several parties who may be guilty of negligence in a low tire pressure accident, including:
- Owner/driver of the vehicle – The party most likely to be liable for your damages is the driver or owner of the vehicle with the low tire pressure that crashed into you. Drivers owe others a duty to keep their vehicles in proper working order to reduce the risk of causing an accident. Maintaining the correct PSI on their tires, as recommended by the manufacturer, is their responsibility.
- Repair shop – While most people have the right tools to fix a low tire pressure issue at home, sometimes the issue could be a tear or puncture in the rubber that is causing the air to leak out. This is usually when a person would visit a repair shop to have the tire fixed or replaced. The repair shop could be liable for your damages if it failed to properly fix the faulty tire and that negligence led to an accident.
- Manufacturer – Vehicle manufacturers must indicate the proper PSI for each tire somewhere on the vehicle (usually located inside the door frame). All vehicles manufactured after September 2007 must also include a tire pressure monitoring sensor to warn the driver when the tire pressure is too low. Liability could fall to the manufacturer if requirements are not met and an accident occurs.
What Are My Options for Recovering Compensation?
When pursuing compensation for your injuries, you may have several legal options, depending on who the liable party is. For example, if liability falls to another driver, then you would file a claim through that person’s liability insurance.
If you are the driver with the low tire pressure in your vehicle, but you believe it was the result of repair shop or manufacturer negligence, you may have two options for pursuing compensation:
- Filing a claim through your own Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) coverage or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) to cover your damages.
- Filing a lawsuit against the party you believe is responsible for the low tire pressure that caused the crash.
How Can I Prove Liability for a Low Tire Pressure Crash?
The burden of proof in an accident claim always falls to the victim. Therefore, it is your responsibility to provide the evidence to support your case for compensation.
In cases of low tire pressure accidents against a negligent driver, you would need to prove the driver:
- Knew or should have known about the low tire pressure
- Failed to put air in the tire(s)
- Low tire pressure caused the crash
- You suffered damages as a result
The exact evidence may differ per case. An attorney may call on expert witness testimony to help prove the cause of the crash. Data from your vehicle’s black box may help to show if the low tire pressure light was on at the time of the crash. Your medical records could also be used to prove you suffered damages.
As for cases against a manufacturer or repair shop, you would need to prove they failed to either fix the tire or meet certain standards when manufacturing the vehicle. If you recently had the tire serviced, the repair shop invoice may show that you took steps to fix the tire. Other evidence for these cases could include internal company documents that may be difficult to obtain without help from an attorney.
Call Us Today for a Free Consultation
You may be eligible to seek compensation for an accident caused by low tire pressure if you can prove who the liable party is. That is why having an attorney on your side may be beneficial. Our attorneys are prepared to thoroughly investigate your claim to see what legal options may be available to you. Our attorneys are also prepared to help you build a strong case to maximize compensation.
Call (817) 920-9000 today.