The Value of Studying Companion Tires in a Tire Case

June 29, 2011

photo rollover k4.JPGWhen a tire fails, causing a rollover and catastrophic injuries, an investigation will follow regarding the cause of the tire failure.

Tire manufacturers and sellers will rush to propose a catalogue of reasons as to why the tire failed. Not surprisingly, this list will always exclude design and manufacturing defects built into the tire by the tire manufacturer.

Miami tire lawyers and lawyers throughout the country who handle product liability cases will be confronted with dealing with this catalogue of reasons for the tire failure, which will undoubtedly focus on the driver, user, or owner of the vehicle and tire.

In order to properly investigate and test the theories set forth by defendants in tire cases, it is helpful to analyze the companion tires on the vehicle.

For this reason, the companion tires and the spare tire need to be preserved for forensic evaluation by tire experts. This evidence is critical because the companion tires have typically experienced the same environmental forces as the failed tire, but unlike the failed tire, these companion tires did not fall apart and cause a rollover accident with horrific injuries.

As tire lawyers who have handled hundreds of tire cases, we have seen virtually every theory set forth by defendants in tire cases about why a tire failed without reference to any manufacturing or design defect. Three examples which come to mind are:

1. Under inflation as evidenced by rim flange grooving;
2. A puncturing object inside the tire;
3. A prior repair and patch on the tire.

We have successfully resolved cases for clients where one or more of the three conditions listed above have existed in a failed tire. While some of these conditions may not be desireable, tire lawyers must be able to show that these findings are not related to a condition that caused the tire failure and motor vehicle accident.

Companion tires have been instrumental to our proof in these cases, because we have shown that the three conditions listed above have existed in the companion tires on a vehicle which was in an rollover event, and which companion tires never failed. We have even shown that these conditions have existed on tires that have experienced much more service life on the vehicle than the tire that failed.

For this reason, the preservation and forensic examination of the companion tires and spare tire are critical to protecting the interest of those killed or injured in a rollover event caused by a tire failure. When confronted with a list of theories that deflect attention away from manufacturing and design defects, the companion tires and spare tire are critical evidence in disproving defense theories that (stealing a line from My Cousin Vinnie) do not hold water.