As a personal injury attorney, I cannot begin to count the number of times defendants have tried to claim that they didn’t realize their vehicles were not properly maintained. The fact of the matter is that there are millions of people in this country who are not properly maintaining their vehicles, and they believe that, by putting off the necessary upgrades and repairs, including replacing bad tires, they are saving themselves money.
Unfortunately, the dollars saved are rarely enough to cover the cost of the legal proceedings, let alone the actual settlement in lawsuits, after an accident is caused as a result of poor vehicle maintenance.
Bad tires are one of the biggest offenders. At more than $100 per tire, it is costly to replace tires these days, but not nearly as costly as it is to pay for the damage and injuries sustained in an accident.
Tire Blowouts Cause Accidents. Riding on bald or underinflated tires leaves a person exposed to this kind of devastating experience. When a tire blows out at highway speeds, it is very easy to lose control of the vehicle. The remnants of the tire can cause the vehicle to swerve and cause serious crashes. At these speeds, the damage can be excessive, and people can lose their lives. We’ve seen this happen in the St. Petersburg area and all around Florida. It is very hard for the owner of the vehicle to come to grips with the fact that he or she caused a death because the tires were not properly maintained.
Flat Tires Leave You Exposed. Even if you manage to get to the side of the road with a flat tire, when you are dealing with such circumstances on the side of the highway, you are very exposed. Other vehicles are flying by at high speeds and you face serious injury, if not death, should you be hit while inspecting the damage. Assuming you take all precautions to warn others, switching the liability for the crash to them for your injuries, it is better if you (or your survivors) never need to call me to make that claim.
In a current claim I am handling, a dually truck left the highway and caused a fatality. When I took my engineer to Orlando to inspect the remains of the truck and get the information off the black box, we quickly found out that all 6 tires were nearly bald – well below the amount of tread that anyone would consider safe. It is very possible that the bald tires contributed to the death. Remember, it is important to have an attorney who knows how to secure that information right away after a collision before the evidence is destroyed.
Bald Tires Do Not Provide Adequate Traction. Particularly when roads are wet or otherwise slick, bald tires are a major hazard. It is much easier to lose control of the vehicle when driving on bald tires. The results of a high speed accident on slick roads are very likely going to be devastating for all parties involved. The cost of repairs and medical attention will be equally devastating to everyone in our community. Even if the person who caused the collision is carrying a proper insurance policy, it is likely that they will see a spike in insurance rates as a result of the accident, which means that they will be paying for the accident for at least a year with each of the higher premium payments.
It really is important to recognize the dangers in which others are placed when people drive a poorly maintained vehicle. It is not just the state of the tires, but also all other components of the car, truck, van, or bike that should be regularly inspected and repaired, as necessary. The expense will be much less than they will spend on the lawsuit should they be found at fault in a serious accident.