When you think of a truck accident, you may picture a negligent truck driver who falls asleep behind the wheel or fails to check a blind spot before switching lanes. It may not occur to you that a catastrophic truck accident could also be caused by a piece of equipment, such as a tire blowout. After a piece of equipment causes a truck accident, an investigation may be needed to determine fault and liability. One or more parties could be liable for this type of collision.
The Tire Manufacturer
First, the tire manufacturer or distribution company may face liability if the tire contained a defect. An 18-wheeler relies on all 18 wheels to safely get to its destination, and a big rig tire manufacturing company is responsible for ensuring the safety and performance of these tires. Producing a tire that has a dangerous design flaw, manufacturing defect or marketing error can put not only the truck driver at risk but everyone else on the road with the truck.
You may be eligible to file a product liability claim against a manufacturing company if the tire that blew out was defective. If the tire was made unsafe by worn tread or a tire wall that was too thin, for example, the manufacturing company may be held liable for a related blowout accident. Most product liability claims do not require proof of negligence for a victim to be eligible for financial compensation. It is typically enough to show that the product contained a defect and caused the injury in question.
The Trucking Company
There are many reasons why a trucking company might face liability for a semi-truck tire blowout accident. First, it may be held responsible for the neglect to properly maintain the truck and all of its equipment, including the tires. If the trucking company chose to skip inspections or tire maintenance to save money, for example, the company could be liable for a resultant accident. The company could also be responsible for hiring a negligent or low-quality maintenance crew if poor tire maintenance contributed to the crash.
Under the rules of vicarious liability, a trucking company can also be held liable for the negligence or mistakes of one of its employees, including a truck driver. Vicarious liability is a legal doctrine that states that an employer is responsible for the acts of its on-duty employees. If a truck driver failed to check tire pressure, report signs of tire wear and tear to the company, or drove the truck negligently in a way that leads to a tire blowout, the trucking company can typically be held vicariously liable.
The Cargo Company
It may be possible to hold a cargo company responsible for a tire blowout accident if the crash is traced back to an issue with how the trailer was loaded. Overloading a trailer can place undue pressure on the tires of a big rig, possibly causing one or more tires to pop or explode in transit. The company responsible for loading the trailer and evenly distributing the weight of the cargo could be found liable for this type of accident.
Finally, the city or state government could be held liable for a semi-truck tire blowout accident in New Mexico if the crash was caused by a road defect. For example, if a tire hit a pothole with enough force to pop the tire, the government could be responsible for failing to repair the pothole in a timely manner.
Holding the government liable for a motor vehicle accident comes with special rules and regulations in New Mexico, including a shorter statute of limitations (deadline to file). For assistance with a semi-truck tire blowout accident case in New Mexico, contact an attorney at The Fine Law Firm. We will investigate your accident and help you determine the liable party or parties.