Four years after a devastating accident caused critical injuries, a Palm Beach jury has awarded the accident victim $10 million in damages. The defendant, Continental Tire, was ordered to pay the multimillion dollar damage award because a faulty tire was responsible for the 2009 rollover crash that left the victim severely impaired.
Tire problems are a common cause of accident and victims injured by defective tires should consult with a car accident lawyer in West Palm Beach for assistance. Because tire issues are so common, it is also important for drivers to understand how to protect themselves from a problem and how to respond if something goes wrong.
Tire Defects Can Cause Serious Injury
According to the Miami Herald, Continental Tire was found liable because its tires left the plant without being inspected. The tire had 20,000 miles of tread left on it when it failed and was just four years into a six-year warranty. Unfortunately, the bead that holds the tire onto the rim of the vehicle was not formed properly and either no inspection occurred or this defect was overlooked.
The defect caused the tire to fly off, leading to a rollover accident that left the 39-year-old mother-of-three in a coma for a month. After 17 surgeries, 102 days of hospitalization and $1.5 million in medical bills, the victim is now home but in constant pain and unable to hold down a job or fully care for her family or herself. The $10 million will allow for her to repay the bills as well as compensate her for lost income and ongoing pain and disability.
Continental Tire, however, argues that the problem with the tire occurred because the tire pressure was too low and that the driver could have avoided an accident if she had not lost control of the vehicle. Because of the size of the verdict, it is expected that the company will appeal.
Protecting Yourself from Tire Problems
Tire problems cause an estimated 23,000 accidents every year, with more than 500 people dying from blowouts. Drivers can and should be aware of the risk and should take steps to minimize it, including inspecting tires regularly; checking for worn treads; and keeping tires properly inflated. Many vehicles today warn you if tire pressure is low, making it easier to take action. CTV News also reminds motorists to check lug nuts after a tire is changed in order to ensure that the nuts aren't so loose that a tire could fly off.
Unfortunately, if there is a defect in the tire, taking these steps won't prevent problems. When something does go wrong, the key is to avoid panicking as your actions can increase the chances of an accident. Instead of slamming the brakes or jerking the wheel, you should try to maintain control by holding the wheel straight and driving as straight as you can to an area with little or no traffic. Gradually pressing the brakes to decelerate and stop the car is the safest way to deal with a tire issue.
If you've been injured in an accident, contact a personal injury lawyer in West Palm Beach today. Call David J. Glatthorn at 800-990-9394 for a free case review.