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Defective Tire Rim Injury Claims – Everything You Need to Know

Defective Tire Rim Injury Claims – Read Case Examples

A man squatting next to the front tire of an 18-wheeler truck

In this article, we’ll break down the following:

According to crash statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 660 people die yearly on American roads from tire-related failures. Tens of thousands of others sustain serious injuries, some resulting in permanent disablement.

While car owners have a duty to regularly inspect their tires for signs of damage or general wear and tear, tire companies also have a duty to manufacture tires and wheel accessories that meet the standards set out by various federal regulatory authorities.

If you or a loved one has recently been injured by what you believe to be a defective tire rim, you may be able to sue the tire manufacturer for compensation. Here’s everything you need to know about defective tire rim injury claims in Florida.

Defective Tire Rim Injury Claims – Definition

When defective tire rims are responsible for causing an accident, the injured victim has the right to pursue a product liability claim against the tire manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of the rims in question.

The injured plaintiff is not required to show who was responsible for the defect. All they would need to prove is that the tire rim was defective and, as a result, caused the accident, which resulted in their injuries.

Victims of defective tire rim accidents can recover damages for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Projected costs of future medical bills for accident-related ongoing medical care
  • Lost wages
  • Lost future earning potential
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional distress

Tire rims support and seal the tire to the wheel. They provide a tight fit around the tire to prevent air leaks. For this reason, tire rims should be made from sturdy material to withstand the load and downward force of the vehicle.

A defective tire rim can be dangerous to drivers and other road users. It can cause mechanical problems, handling issues, and even pinch and pop your tire, causing a blowout.

The question then becomes: How can you tell if your tire rims are defective?

  • If you notice “shakiness” or vibration while steering
  • If your vehicle’s handling isn’t what it used to be
  • If you notice visible signs of damage to the wheel
  • If your tire keeps deflating faster than usual, and you find yourself having to fill it up every couple of days or weeks
  • If you notice uneven tread wear

Common Types of Tire Rim Defects

There are several ways in which a defective tire rim can cause injuries to the user. Most of these defects typically fall into one of three categories:

Defects in the Rim Design

If the defective design of a tire rim is responsible for causing an accident, you can hold the manufacturer liable for your injuries. An expert would need to analyze the rim in question, the specific circumstances surrounding the accident, and your injuries, to determine the proximate cause.

Defects in the Manufacturing Process of the Rim

If the tire rim’s manufacturing process falls outside the scope of what would be deemed normal protocol resulting in a defect, and the said defect causes a tire-related accident, you are entitled to compensation. The manufacturer is liable for the injuries and damages you sustain.

Defects in the Marketing of the Rim

Manufacturers, distributors, and sellers of tire rims must provide appropriate instructions and warnings to end users.

If the manufacturer fails to warn you of the hazards associated with using the specific rim or fails to provide proper instructions on how to install it properly, you can hold them liable for any injuries you sustain as a result.

Here are some of the most common tire rim defects:

  • Bent/misshapen rims
  • Cracks and punctures
  • Improper welding
  • Sizing errors
  • Use of inferior/weak materials

Common Types of Injuries Caused by Defective Tire Rims

Accidents caused by defective tire rims can result in serious injuries to the driver and other road users. Here are some common tire-related accident injuries:

  • Amputations
  • Back and spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Bruises and abrasions
  • Chest injuries
  • Closed head injury (CHI)
  • Internal bleeding
  • Neck and whiplash injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Severe cuts and lacerations
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Wrongful death

Liability in Defective Tire Rim Injury Claims

You have been injured in a defective tire rim accident. The potential at-fault parties that can be held liable for your injuries include:

The Driver

Drivers are required to regularly inspect and maintain their wheels. Rims can get bent or damaged when you hit a deep pothole, go over a bump at high speed, hit a hard object, or bump the curb when parking. If you ignore visible signs of damage to your tire rims and an accident occurs afterward, you will be liable for the resulting damages.

The Bus or Trucking Company

Bus and trucking companies are responsible for the proper maintenance of their fleet. They are required to regularly inspect their vehicles for signs of wear, tear, and damage to the wheels. If a defective tire rim on one of their vehicles is found to cause an accident, the trucking/bus operator can be sued for negligence.

The Tire Manufacturer

Occasionally, tire rims are defective at the point of manufacture. The defect could result from a design flaw or an error in the manufacturing process. If the driver of the vehicle with the defective rims is involved in a crash, and the rims in question are found to be the proximate cause of the tire blowout, the injured parties can file a strict liability claim against the manufacturer.

The Auto Repair Shop or Service

Sometimes, an auto repair service may fail to notice a defect on a rim during installation, inspection, or service. If an accident occurs and the tire rim is deemed the proximate cause, the victim can file a negligence claim against the repair shop.

Examples of Products That Caused Tire Rim Injuries

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Product Liability Lawsuit

A man died after a K-type tire rim manufactured by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. exploded, causing fatal injuries. These K-type rims were designed for use on heavy trucks such as 18-wheelers.

If a truck fitted with these rims had a flat tire, a mechanic would typically jack up the vehicle, dismount the tire, repair the tube, reassemble it in the K-type rim, inflate it, and finally remount the wheel onto the truck. On the surface, everything would appear up to par.

However, once the jacked-up truck was lowered to ground level and its weight exerted on the newly repaired tire, it was not uncommon for the metal rim to explode under pressure. If, by some stroke of bad luck, someone happened to be standing next to the wheel when the side ring went off, they would be badly injured or killed on the spot.

This is what happened to the man who died from the rim blast, leaving behind a wife and young children.

Alan Sackrin, an accomplished attorney, represented the beneficiaries in a product liability claim against Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. In their defense, the tire company argued that the victims of these rim explosions were responsible for their own injuries for not installing the wheels properly.

Alan countered this argument by bringing to light evidence of the company’s own internal footage, showing their employees inflating tire rims in protective cages.

With a looming loss on the horizon, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. opted to settle the matter out of court for $1.8 million, which was paid to the victim’s four surviving beneficiaries. This case is one of many similar product liability claims involving wheels and tires.

Florida Case Law on Defective Product Claims

Florida law is very clear when it comes to defective product claims. Manufacturers, distributors, and sellers are held to a strict liability standard if a product defect harms the end user. Unlike conventional personal injury claims where the burden rests on the plaintiff to prove that the defendant was negligent, strict liability only requires the victim to show that:

  1. There’s a relationship between the defendant and the product in question;
  2. The product had a defect;
  3. The defect rendered the product unreasonably unsafe to use for its intended purpose; and
  4. The defective product was the proximate cause of their injury.

The defendant would then have to prove the product was up to standard when it went on the market. To prove a product liability case under the strict liability theory, the plaintiff needs to demonstrate that the defendant designed, manufactured, or sold a product that failed to meet the safety standards set by federal agencies, including, but not limited to, the NHTSA, OSHA, and the CPSC.

Florida Case Law Related to Defective Tire Rims

Scheman-Gonzalez v. Saber Meg. Co. (2002)

Issue: David Rodriguez sustained fatal injuries from a tire rim explosion while attempting to mount a 16-inch Michelin tire onto a 16.5-inch Saber-Titan rim. In their multi-count claim against Saber Meg., the plaintiff alleged that the tire company was liable for Rodriguez’s death for failing to warn users that the 16.5-inch rim would accept a 16-inch tire but would end up exploding once mounted.

Result: The jury found in favor of the defendants, stating that the tire rim, on its own, could not be deemed inherently unsafe. In its ruling, the court found that the tire maker wasn’t bound by a duty of care to consumers and, therefore, was not obligated to warn them about the dangers of mounting a wrong-size tire on a specific rim.

The plaintiff appealed this decision at the District Court of Appeal, which subsequently reversed the earlier verdict. The case was remanded for further proceedings.

Sackrin & Tolchinsky: Background

Sackrin & Tolchinsky attorneys have more than six decades of combined legal experience in civil litigation, arbitration, mediation, and appellate matters in a wide range of practice areas, including:

  • Catastrophic car accidents
  • Wrongful Death
  • Slip and Falls
  • Insurance claims/denials
  • All other serious personal injury claims

At Sackrin & Tolchinsky, our mission is to provide you with the best possible legal representation to ensure your rights are protected and obtain the most favorable outcome in your claim.

Sackrin & Tolchinsky’s Experience as Injury Claims Lawyers

Alan Sackrin is a product liability lawyer with extensive experience handling complex product liability cases, including those considered hard to prove. He has successfully represented dozens of clients and helped them obtain significant settlements.

For instance, in addition to the $1.8 million recovery in the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. lawsuit, Alan won a $1.5 million settlement for a medical malpractice suit against a medical practitioner for failing to diagnose a preventable genetic defect in an unborn baby. Alan worked tirelessly to secure a win for his client, holding the errant party accountable for their negligence.

Get Legal Help

If you or a loved one has been injured by what you believe to be a defective tire rim, ensure that you consult a product liability lawyer as soon as possible.

Sackrin & Tolchinsky attorneys have several decades of experience representing victims of defectively manufactured tires and tire components. They have the legal expertise to help you prove your case and recover the compensation you’re entitled to.

Get in touch with us today for a free case evaluation to discuss your options.

Frequently Asked Questions

What steps should I take if I am injured due to a defective tire rim?

If you have been injured by what you believe to be a defective tire rim, follow the steps below:

  1. Seek urgent medical attention as soon as possible.
  2. Preserve evidence of the defective tire rim and document everything, including your medical records.
  3. Speak to an experienced product liability lawyer while the events are still fresh in your mind.
  4. Identify what kind of defective tire rim injury claim you have. Were your injuries the result of a design, manufacturing, or marketing defect?
  5. Identify the liable parties in your claim, i.e., the tire rim manufacturer, distributor, seller, auto repair shop, etc.
  6. Determine your damages.

What kind of damages can I recover in a defective tire rim injury claim?

You can recover damages for:

  • All the medical expenses you’ve incurred so far
  • The projected costs of any future medical care you might need
  • Lost wages if your injuries caused you to miss work or if your ability to work in the future has been impaired
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional distress
  • Wrongful death if a loved one succumbed to fatal injuries from a defective tire rim

What is the statute of limitations for filing a defective tire rim injury claim in Florida?

The statute of limitation for product liability cases based on strict liability is 4 years. For product liability cases based on negligence, please call us to discuss your case, as a recent statutory change in the law has caused uncertainty to the limitations period.

Do You Have A Question? Call Alan Sackrin Today For a Free Case Evaluation

As a Board-Certified Civil Trial Expert for over 40+ years, Alan Sackrin has extensive experience with product liability lawsuits. He offers a free initial consultation (over the phone or in-person) to answer your questions. When you’re ready to speak with an expert civil trial lawyer about your product liability case, call Alan at 945-458-8655.