Travel on any Massachusetts highway long enough and you’ll see tire debris littering the roadway. Tire debris is usually the result of tire blowouts from commercial trucks and tractor trailers. Although this is common, it is dangerous for both the commercial truck driver and vehicles in their immediate vicinity. This type of situation often causes a trucking related accident on the highways.
If you are ever travelling behind a commercial vehicle that has a tire blowout, it can be a frightening event. Of course, drivers want to avoid the debris but sometimes maneuvers to do so could cause vehicles to be in additional danger due to traffic. Under these circumstances, liability (i.e., who is at fault for a crash) can become an issue. Additionally, crashes caused by a tire blowout raise insurance coverage concerns, which will be discussed below.
Common Causes of Commercial Truck Tire Blowouts
Tire tread separation and/or tire blowouts are a common occurrence with commercial trucks. A motor vehicle tire blowout is referred to as a sudden tire failure. The causes for such occurrences are many, such as excess weight combined with heat and road friction, improper maintenance and inspection, and of course defective tires.
Additionally, tire pressure – both overinflation and underinflation – are also contributing causes of tire blowouts. The roads and highways can also present possibilities of tire blowouts. For example, striking curbs and potholes can easily tire failure, especially on Massachusetts highways. Massachusetts residents are well aware of the road and highway conditions after harsh winters due to sanding, salting, and continuous plowing. Another major cause is the failure to inspect tires for potential problems, especially when considering truck tires deteriorate at a much faster rate than passenger car tires.
Regardless of the cause, tire blowouts pose a serious hazard to other drivers on the roads and highways. This is why we all should regularly perform the proper inspection of our tires, have them rotated, and make sure they are properly inflated.
Who’s Responsible for a Car Crash & Injuries Caused by a Tire Blowout?
As with all personal or bodily injury cases stemming from a car crash in Massachusetts, anyone injured in an accident caused by a tire blowout must be able to establish that another driver or entity was negligent, and the cause of the crash and injuries suffered. Our Framingham injury lawyers have considerable experience handling personal injury claims from car crashes and commercial truck accidents. Proving liability is critical to a successful personal injury case.
The commercial trucking company will almost always be liable for a blowout that causes a crash. This is due to their duty to inspect and properly maintain their commercial vehicles and equipment. Substandard tires are the greatest safety issue involving commercial trucking and a major contributing reason for truck accidents. Excessive tire wear, tears, cracking, exposed thread bares, result in many unnecessary accidents. By failing to inspect equipment or completely ignoring problems, truck companies are needlessly sacrificing safety to meet time standards and/or goals as well as saving money.
If you suffered injuries in a crash like this, you have the option of filing a bodily injury claim with the commercial trucking company’s insurance carrier. Or, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the trucking company and any other responsible party in a Massachusetts court.
However, sometimes pursuing an injury case against a commercial trucking company can be a challenge. In many crashes caused by a tire blowout, the commercial vehicle may continue travelling as if nothing happened. For example, an eighteen-wheeler may have a tire blowout on its trailer and the driver could be unaware of the blowout at the time it happens. This puts accident victims in a tough situation because they may never be able to obtain the necessary information needed (i.e., the commercial trucking companies’ and trailer’s identity).
Under this occurrence, you must document the incident as soon as possible. To do this, you should contact Massachusetts state or local police immediately and provide them with all the facts surrounding the incident. This establishes that you have been injured from a commercial truck tire blowout to an insurance company. If you do this immediately, even if you don’t have the trucking driver or company name/identity, you will still have options for insurance coverage for your injuries and financial and noneconomic losses.
This type of scenario is what adds to the complexity of commercial trucking accident cases in Massachusetts. For this reason, accident victims need experienced Massachusetts truck accident attorneys to conduct an immediate and comprehensive investigation of the crash. Our qualified and knowledgeable Framingham accident attorneys understand what to do and what is needed to prove that a commercial trucking company was negligent in personal injury cases involving tire blowouts.
Recover Compensation When You Cannot Identify the Commercial Trucking Company
If a tire blowout and the tire debris cause you to lose control of your vehicle resulting in a collision and injury to your person, you may wonder if you have recourse when you cannot identify the driver and registration information of the commercial vehicle. Fortunately, the answer is yes. You may pursue compensation through a claim with your own auto insurance policy. This falls under the portion of your policy entitled “Uninsured Motor Vehicle Coverage”.
Uninsured Motor Vehicle Coverage (UM) is specific coverage for the benefit of people who are injured or killed as a result of the negligence of the operator of an uninsured auto. There are several ways in which a UM claim may arise. Typically, this coverage is available when the at-fault party does not have insurance. However, another scenario, relevant to this article, is when the vehicle causing the crash is a hit-and-run vehicle or is unable to be identified – where no one can identify the driver or vehicle involved). Therefore, in an example like the one above, where the tractor trailer has a tire blowout that causes a crash and the commercial truck keeps on travelling, the accident victims may pursue compensation through a UM claim. This is because the vehicle (the tractor trailer) cannot be identified.
You can increase the amount of uninsured coverage that you have on your policy. Our Framingham truck accident lawyers preach about having as much insurance coverage as possible, especially uninsured and underinsured motor vehicle coverage. It is not that costly and can help in a hit and run situation like a commercial truck blowout on a Massachusetts highway. The other benefits to putting for an uninsured claim is that a lawsuit doesn’t have to be filed. All uninsured claims are resolved through binding arbitration. One doesn’t have to go through a protracted lawsuit to reach a resolution to their injury claim. Additionally, claims put forth through the uninsured portion of your policy are considered contract claims, not negligence. Thus, a six-year statute of limitations in Massachusetts for contract actions applies.