I was injured in a truck accident near Wilmington when a tire exploded on a big rig. Can I file a lawsuit because this was a negligent act, or am I just a victim of a coincidental North Carolina traffic accident?

It could be either. From the description you gave, however, there is enough reason to suspect negligence and to begin an investigation.

Tires are essential to providing stability to an 18-wheeler or tractor-trailer truck. One reason those vehicles have so many tires is so the driver will not lose control if a tire fails. However, a tire can fail with explosive force and fling debris into an adjacent traffic lane, triggering an accident in another vehicle.

Negligence is the legal principle that arises when a person fails to exercise the proper caution that a reasonable and prudent person would use in similar circumstances. Most trucking companies, knowing that tire reliability is essential to truck safety, insist on a regular inspection of a truck’s tires for wear or damage. Taking that as the baseline, we can see five possibilities:

  • The driver has been negligent. If the driver has failed to inspect his vehicle thoroughly before the trip, or during each stop, then he has failed in his responsibility to exercise prudent care. A lawsuit is possible.
  • The trucking company has been negligent. The driver may be working as an agent of the trucking company, and so it may automatically share liability with the driver. If the trucking company doesn’t have a truck inspection routine in place, or if it doesn’t check up on the driver to verify that tires are regularly inspected, then the company also may be liable even if the driver is not acting as its agent.
  • A maintenance worker has been negligent. If a maintenance crew or contractor is assigned the job to keep the truck in top condition, and the work is not done properly, then the worker and his company potentially are negligent. A lawsuit is possible.
  • The tire manufacturer has been negligent. Even if everyone else has been doing their jobs correctly, the tire company could have sold a defective tire. In this case, a lawsuit against the tire company would be in order.
  • Nobody has been negligent. It was all purely chance that the tire blew out when it did, and you are the victim of circumstance. No lawsuit is possible.

If you sustained serious injuries or significant property damage as a result of a truck tire blowout accident in North Carolina, you may be entitled to compensation. At a minimum, you will want your accident investigated by experienced Wilmington personal injury attorneys to see if you have a case. 

Call Speaks Law Firm today at 910-341-7570 or toll-free at 877-593-4233 to schedule a FREE, no obligation consultation with a member of our legal team. Put us to work, and we will see that you get the maximum compensation available for your losses.

R. Clarke Speaks
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Trial Lawyer and Founder of Speaks Law Firm, P.C.