Can a Tire Tread Separation Lead to a Lawsuit?

An image of a tire tread separation, where the tread of the tire is separated from the rest and causes danger while driving.

When driving down the highway, it is not uncommon to see pieces of tires laying along the highway. These tire portions are usually tread pieces and may range in size from a couple inches to the full circumference of the tire. Most of the tread pieces have come from the tires of tractor trailers.  The process where the tread separates from the tire is sometimes called a tread separation or delamination.  Oftentimes, the tread will separate from the tire with no significant issue or loss of control.  But other times, a tire tread separation may cause the driver to lose control with catastrophic results.  

In this case study, we will explore how this tire tread separation incident led to a lawsuit and the eventual victory for our client. 

Describing the Tire Tread Separation Incident

We represented a man named Eddie R. who was a passenger in a van with several other co-workers. While traveling at highway speeds, the driver began to feel some vibrations in the front of the van. Unbeknownst to the driver, the front left tire outer tread was beginning to separate. When the outer tread eventually separated, the driver experienced a sudden loss of control and the van swerved out of control and left the roadway, rolling several times in the grassy median. Eddie R. sustained significant injuries, including partial loss of use of his right arm and leg.

MHM’s Role in the Case

After the incident, we were retained to represent Eddie R. against the tire manufacturer.  We obtained control of the tire in question, along with the portion of the tread that had separated.  Both the tire and the tread piece were examined by a trained forensic tire investigator. The tire expert was able to determine the cause of the tire tread separation, which was caused by contaminants being able to infiltrate the tire during the manufacturing process. The introduction of contaminants into the manufacturing process allowed the inner belts to deteriorate and eventually lose the adherence between the belts. Once the belts begin to separate internally, it is only a matter of time (and miles) before the outer tread begins to separate.

The Result Against the Manufacturer 

Once we were able to prove the mechanics of the outer tire tread separation, the manufacturer attempted to place blame on the van owner for failing to properly inflate the tire. But after several years of litigation, the case was successfully resolved. 

If you believe your trucking accident was caused by a tire tread separation, contact MHM’s truck accident attorneys to receive a free consultation to examine your case.