Tractor Tire Bead Failure and Explosion
“John Doe” vs. Titan Tire
Actual Case Represented by The Willis Law Firm
A tractor tire explodes during inflation, killing an East Texas tire worker. Sidewall tire bead failure was suspected as the cause of this tire explosion accident. According to witnesses, the tire workers had difficulty in getting the tractor tire to seat all the way onto the rim. Without warning, the tire exploded. The force of the blast caused major head injuries to a 36-year-old worker, which resulted in his death. The surviving family contacted tire failure attorney David P. Willis of Houston, Texas to investigate this tire explosion death of their loved one and represent the them in a lawsuit against the tire maker and distributer. The products liability lawsuit included allegations that the tire maker failed to warn of the danger, manufacturing defective a tire bead, manufacturing defective tire, and manufacturing and distributing a product with a design defect (the tire and the tire bead bundle in question). This tire explosion lawsuit was later settled after the lawsuit was filed and discovery had been completed.
The tire bead is a structure composed of high-tensile strength steel wire formed into hoops along the inner edge of the tire that contacts the wheel flange and presses against the bead seat. These hoops function as anchors for the plies and hold the tire assembly onto the rim of the wheel. Beads seal against air loss in tubeless tires and grip the wheel rim for supporting various loads, such as steering, traction and braking. Failure can cause the complete loss of air pressure, as well as detachment of the tire from the rim. Both tire bead failures and tire bead explosions may cause a loss of vehicle control, which may result in serious injury or death.
Most tire beads consist of five steel, or piano type, wires all sitting parallel in a continuous rubber tape or ribbon, which loosely secures them in a soft insulating rubber. The ribbon is wound into a hoop, commonly made of five course, resulting in a grommet composed of a bundle, or stack of wires. A cross-cut view of the bead grommet will reveal a stacking of wires, five high and five wires across – also known as a five by five stack. This bead bundle, or grommet, has ten cut wire ends. The first five wire ends are at the inside cut edge, or at the beginning of the bead wrap, and the last five wire ends are on the outside cut edge, at the end of the bead wrap. The bead slice is the place where the bead bundle wires are spliced. For example, assuming the inside cut edge, or the start of the bead bundle, is positioned at the twelve o’clock position, a clockwise wrap of the bead ribbon would result in the outside cut edge being found at the one o’clock position. This area of overlap between the twelve and one o’clock positions is called the bead splice.
Distortion in the bead grommet will occur if the area of the bead splice happens to be the last portion of the bead to seat. When a tire is mounted on a drop center wheel, its beads are forced on by inflationary air pressure from the drop center well of the wheel onto, and against, the vertical surfaces of the rim flanges. The tire beads proceed outward and slide up a ramp, where the beads are said to “seat” in their final resting position against the rim flange. A splice is always the weakest point, and prone to more separation, distortion and failures. It is possible for the grommet of wires, or bead bundle, to separate into a configuration where not all of the 25 wires contained therein are carrying an equal load. Once the wires forming the grommet become separated, one may end up carrying the full inflation load of the pressurized tire. If by chance the unstabilized location happens to be in the area of the splice at the inside cut edge of the first five wires, where the bead bundle begins, the tensile strength of the wire carrying the full load of the inflating air is exceeded and it will fail. At the instant when the first wire breaks, the load is immediately transferred to the next wire, which will also break. In rapid succession, all of the other wires in the bead bundle will follow suit and rupture. A bead will not break unless the beginning of the bead wrap, splice or area of overlap, is trapped and becomes the last to seat.
WARNING: Tire beads can rupture in mounting, and the rupture frequently occurs at the ends of the ribbon. Bead breakage may occur when the area of the bead splice is the last to pass upon the rim.
If the ends of the ribbon on the inside of the grommet are not in the last portion of the bead to seat on the rim, no breakage will occur. However, since the ends of the ribbon cannot be determined after the bead grommet is built into the tire, whether or not the area of the splice is the last to seat on the rim is completely a matter of chance. Like playing Russian roulette, except with a ballistic missile. Sadly tractor tire explosions happen almost weekly in tire shops, on farms and ranch and anywhere a large tractor tire may be serviced in the United States. In fact read more about another tractor tire explosion death lawsuit to our client’s loved one in Arkansas.
Tire Bead Explosion Lawsuit – Talk to an Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured or a loved one killed in a tire bead explosion accident or tire bead failure and you believe one of the tire or tire bead was defectively manufactured, then call for a free confidential case review. Let the Willis Team of lawyers and tire experts investigate the case and help you determine the best approach to filing a tire bead failure lawsuit. Talk to a Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer with 30+ years of tire defect litigation and accident lawsuit experience.
No Fees or Expenses Ever Charged Unless a Recovery is Made For You.