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Jury returns $37 million verdict against tire manufacturer

Cars and trucks have many parts whose failure can have catastrophic consequences. One such part is a tire. The tire must provide traction and shock absorption and must be durable enough to withstand thousands of hours of driving. An alleged tire failure on a cement mixer truck has led to a Virginia jury returning a verdict of $37 million against the tire's manufacturer. A manufacturing defect caused the tire to collapse, and a severe truck accident was the result.

The plaintiff in the case was driving a large cement truck on Iron Bridge Road in Richmond when the left front tire lost its tread and outer steel belt. The collapse of the tire caused the truck to swerve off the road, hit an embankment and roll over. The driver suffered a spinal cord injury that has paralyzed him from the waist down.

According to the complaint, the tire had an insufficient amount of halobutyl rubber in its inner liner compound. Halobutyl rubber is a mix of synthetic rubber and isobutylene. It is used for the inner layer in tires because of its excellent impermeability to air. The plaintiff in this case alleged that the insufficient amount of halobutyl rubber allowed air to escape from the inner tire and weakened other components, such as the bond between the tread and steel belt. The tire manufacturer expressed sympathy for the plaintiff but maintained its position that the tire met all federal safety standards and that the jury's verdict was wrong.

Anyone who has suffered an injury or lost a loved one in an accident caused by a defective tire may wish to consult an experienced personal injury attorney for an evaluation of the evidence and law that will determine the outcome of the case. A knowledgeable lawyer can provide an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Source: Rubber & Plastics News, "Virginia jury issues $37 million verdict against Hankook," March 13, 2018

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