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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Texas Judge Dismisses Defective Tire Suit Before Trial

What must plaintiffs do to ensure that an accident case can move forward?

Accident cases involving defective automobile tires are not uncommon, and sometimes they result in verdicts in the millions of dollars. But not always. When a horrific vehicular accident occurs, it may not be enough to name a tire company as a defendant. A recent summary judgment in Texas suggests that the plaintiff didn't do quite enough to establish that a tire defect might have been the cause of the car wreck.

The plaintiff in the case claimed that a Michelin LTX tire failed catastrophically, causing a 2000 Ford Expedition to crash. The single-car accident left the plaintiff a quadriplegic and injured at least two other passengers. There were seven passengers in the vehicle at the time of the accident.

Court Found No Basis for Proceeding to Trial

Two days before the case was set to go to trial, the Texas District Court Judge issued a summary judgment against the plaintiff. Summary judgments, in Texas and elsewhere, are generally issued when there is no genuine dispute over the facts of a case. A summary judgment may also sometimes be issued when a claim or a defense is plainly lacking in merit. In the judge's view in this case, there were no issues remaining to be tried.

Michelin said it was prepared to demonstrate that its tires were not at fault and that the accident was the result of other factors, but the judge did not require the company to present this defense.

Making the Case in Vehicular Accidents

In automobile accident cases, selecting which defendants to sue and building a solid case against them takes experience, expertise, and evidence. In a catastrophic tire explosion case, a tire manufacturer might seek to inspect the tire, and a plaintiff might seek discovery of information from the manufacturer about manufacturing methods and quality control. There might be other defendants involved as well, such as a tire sales and service center, repair shop, or auto dealership. Expert witnesses would in all likelihood be needed to persuade a judge or jury of the technical merits of a claim.

A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can help you track down essential evidence and make all of the strategic decisions involved.

If you are involved in a vehicular accident, an attorney experienced in auto accident cases can begin by looking into your claim and advising you on whether or not it is winnable. If it is, your attorney can then begin taking the steps necessary to succeed.


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