Jessica Guevara died from a tire blowout accident on I-75 near Apollo Beach, Florida. Witnesses described children being ejected from the vehicle. The news reported that some of the children were not wearing seat belts at the time of the accident. Injuries to the children were reported as well. Guevara was the mother of several children in the car.
Need To Know Why Tire Blowout Occurred
There is no doubt that this accident is very tragic and traumatic for those involved. From a legal perspective, it is important for someone (on behalf of the children) to determine why the tire blowout occurred before evidence disappears. If there is a product liability case here, then the plaintiffs will need the evidence to prove their case. Without the ability to prove an otherwise valid case, the plaintiffs will not prevail.
With that being said, someone needs to gather as many pieces of the tire that can be found and keep them. Someone also needs to ensure that the vehicle is not destroyed until it has been determined that this is either not a case or that it is not necessary to preserve the entire car. Someone should also adequately document the scene, vehicle, and tire with enough photographs so that the case can be examined later.
Theory Of Liability In A Tire Blowout Case
In a tire blowout case, the theory of liability (for a product liability claim) is that the manufacturer must have done something wrong. This can be that the tire had a manufacturing defect that was not discovered by the factory or it can be a design defect (including a defective warning).
Only a qualified tire expert can determine whether the tire blowout was caused by a defect, however, you should use common sense to reach possible conclusions as to what the cause may have been. For example, if underinflation is what caused the tire to fail (by excessive wear on the shoulder of the tread) then you should look at the other tires and the manufacturer’s specifications as to tire pressure. A jury may be able to presume that the blown tire had a similar tire pressure to the others that did not blowout if they are reasonably the same. This would infer that improper maintenance of the tire and vehicle may not be to blame for the blowout.
Enhanced Injury Case
(b) In a products liability action alleging that injuries received by a claimant in an accident were enhanced by a defective product, the trier of fact shall consider the fault of all persons who contributed to the accident when apportioning fault between or among them. The jury shall be appropriately instructed by the trial judge on the apportionment of fault in products liability actions where there are allegations that the injuries received by the claimant in an accident were enhanced by a defective product.
In laymen’s terms, this means that the jury gets to consider how the accident happened in determining what, if anything, the manufacturer should have to pay for liability in a product liability case. When there is comparative fault (fault on the occupant of the vehicle), the manufacturer is only responsible for whatever injuries were “enhanced” by the accident.
Important To Realize That Florida Law Does Not Punish Children For Not Wearing Seat Belts
Section 316.613, Fla. Stat. prohibits evidence of a failure to use a child restraint as evidence of comparative fault against a child in a courtroom as below:
The failure to provide and use a child passenger restraint shall not be considered comparative negligence, nor shall such failure be admissible as evidence in the trial of any civil action with regard to negligence.
Because Florida does not punish children for the misdeeds of their parents, this case may have merit in the childrens’ injuries. However, the children’s injuries may not be severe enough to justify the cost of a tire blowout case. That is a determination should be made after the injuries from the accident have healed (from a physical perspective).
Contact A Tire Blowout Attorney For Help With Your Case
A tire blowout case is often a difficult and complicated legal case. If you or a family member have been injured in a tire blowout case in Central Florida, including Lakeland and Winter Haven, you should contact a tire blowout attorney for an evaluation as to whether you have a valid product liability case. If you have a valid case for damages, then your case is accepted on a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not pay attorney fees or costs unless money is recovered for you. Call today to schedule your free case review.