Am I at fault if a tire blew out?
I was driving on I5 north of Los Angeles when my front right tire blew out on my F150. I swerved sharply right and I hit the beginning of a guard rail causing considerable damage. Then the truck slid along the guard rail and came to a stop.
My insurance company has informed me it was my fault because I lost control of the vehicle. The truck is considered a total loss. No one was hurt in the crash. Should I be considered at fault for this? It's not my fault that the tire blew. Should the manufacturer of the tire be held responsible? Can I do anything about this? Thanks.
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ANSWER for "Am I at fault if a tire blew out?":
George (Escondido, CA):
It's not a matter of fault, but rather of responsibility. You are responsible for your tires. Unless the tire was brand new, you really don't have a viable defective product claim against the tire manufacturer.
Even if you were to file a lawsuit against the tire manufacturer, the manufacturer will contend your tire wasn't new. It could have picked up a nail, you may have hit the tire against a curb, or there could have been any other number of reasonable and legitimate causes of the tire's destruction.
Fortunately, no one was injured. You are dealing with property damage only. As a result, you will likely not be able to find an attorney who will accept your case. There is just not enough money in the case to make it worth an attorney's time and expenses.
There is another avenue you might pursue...
Class action cases are lawsuits against large corporations. Because there is strength in numbers, individuals can join, or "opt-in" to a class action. This means as an aggrieved person (plaintiff) you will be able to have free legal representation. Normally one or more law firms represent hundreds of plaintiffs like yourself.
When the attorneys settle the case, or win it at trial, the money is divided up among the class action plaintiffs. Of course, the attorneys are entitled to a contingency fee.
There are several web sites with information about pending and closed class actions. You can go to them to see if the manufacturer of your tire is currently being sued. If so, you may be able to opt-in to the class action. Just do a web search for your tire, manufacturer, and the word "lawsuit" or "class action." You may get lucky.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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