When old tires are sold as new, or the real age of a used tire isn’t honestly disclosed, retailers face the possibility of a lawsuit. They place consumers at great risk of injury or deaths because of blowouts, rollovers, roof crushes, tread separations and other accidents caused by used tires.It isn’t just small, unscrupulous operations responsible for this. Wal-Mart, Pep Boys and other major outlets have all been guilty of selling bad tires, often with full knowledge of the potential problems. What’s worse is when this happens at stores operated by the manufacturers themselves! In those situations a tire brand store can become essentially a factory outlet store to pass and get rid of outdated models and size of tires that possibly are too old to be sold and still be safe on the roadway.
The most common acts of tire shop negligence include the following:
- Storing “new” tires in a hot warehouse
- Selling the wrong sizes for the wheel
- Selling tires subject to a tire recall
- Inadequate repairs on used tires
- Selling tires known to have factory defects
- Repairing tires that are too old
- Repairing a hole that is too big to safely fix
- Labeling new looking tires as new
- Failing to notify customers that they may have purchased a bad tire
- Failing to rotate better tires with more tread to the rear
- Failing to remove any bad, recalled, or defective tire noticed during inspection
- Labeling tires between five and six years old as “new”
- Too many holes, tire plugs or tire patches
- Trying to repair a tire outside safe repair area
- Neglecting to put the better-quality tires in the back, as front blowouts are easier to maneuver
- Tire plugs in the sidewall of the tire
- Selling a tire with a visible tear, cut bubble or swell
- Multiple plugs in the same hole
Buying a used tire can be dangerous. Often the tire shop or tire dealer is just reselling tires that were taken off another customer’s vehicle and clean, sized and resold. The used tire dealer has no idea of the abuse, impact damage or problems with the tires. The same problems can occur to customers driving rental cars or lease cars. The current driver of the rental car has no knowledge of the tire past history, nor do the rent car agencies. Often the same rental car or truck could have been driven by 5-10 drivers in the course of any 30 day period with none of the drivers or the even the leasing car agency having any knowledge of the tire impact history. That tire impact with a curb, pothole, large rock or debris may cause no immediate external damage, tear or bubble, but internal damage to the sidewall or plies may take days or weeks to show and when it does it may be too late. Same is true when a used car dealership sells a used car with defective, recalled or unsafe tires. They too can be held responsible for any of the injuries or damages to the unsuspecting buyer.
Lawsuits Against Negligent Tire Shops
In 2012, Wal-Mart was held responsible for the 2010 rollover-related death of a Texas teenager. The investigation revealed he was driving with faulty tires in the back. Three months prior, he and his mother had gone to Wal-Mart for a routine oil change and inspection, and were told that there was no need to change out his tires. Because they neglected to disclose that the tires needed replacing, they were found guilty and had to pay out $27.5 million in damages.
This isn’t Wal-Mart’s only offense, either. A previous settlement of $4 million was paid out in 2007 as restitution to an Alabama woman paralyzed from a tread separation accident. Once again, they were found guilty of negligence, as they never informed the woman of any possible tire issues during her regular inspections. Although they did not sell the make and model in question, Wal-Mart still had to answer for its failure to pay its due diligence during the inspection process.
Any retailer, big or small, can be held liable when they’re caught either selling bad tires (or old tires labeled “new”) or not disclosing possible issues that they notice. Pep Boys is another, though by no means the only other, major offender. On at least two occasions, they’ve been involved in lawsuits alongside Cooper Tire for knowingly selling and installing factory-damaged tires. When a damaged or defective tire accident occurs and leads to serious injury or death, investigators need to take the possibility that a retailer may be responsible into consideration.
Negligent Tire Shop Lawsuits
Willis Law Firm has over three decades of experiences representing a severely injured clients that have been victims of defective tires that caused rollovers and accidents. In many cases the tire failure was a manufacturing defect, but sometimes the negligence is on the used tire shop, rental car company or tire repair shop. If you or a loved one has been involved in a serious accident or rollover and you believe one of the tires was defective, then you may have a lawsuit, then call for a free confidential case review. Talk to a Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer with 30+ years of tire defect litigation and rollover accident experience.
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