A major tire manufacturer may have unnecessarily postponed a safety call for 20 years despite dozens of deaths allegedly caused by a defect in one of its tires. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, is finally looking into the matter. RV owners in Oklahoma should keep themselves apprised of developments.
The manufacturer, Goodyear, had evidence that one of its recreational vehicle model tires could fail under highway conditions. There was evidence that tread separation could occur when the tire heated up as in prolonged highway driving.
The manufacturer reportedly received several hundred claims for property damage due to failure of its tires, including more than three dozen lawsuits. The lawsuits settled were eventually settled, but the settlements contained nondisclosure provisions, meaning the plaintiffs were not permitted to discuss the case with third parties.
In these cases, the NHTSA was considered a third party, so the particulars of the claims were not reported by the plaintiffs. Apparently, the manufacturer did not report these claims either. Recently, an attorney in Arizona sought and received a court order to unseal the previous claims against the manufacturer for the tire in question. These claims were eventually reported to the NHSTA, and the administration is now investigating. Several former administration employees felt a recall should have been conducted by the company.
Many personal injury lawsuits are filed against another driver when a vehicle collision is involved. However, if a manufacturer produced a defective product that caused the accident, the manufacturer can be brought in as a defendant. This is referred to as a product liability action. Often, a defendant driver and the manufacturer can be named as defendants in the same lawsuit. The manufacturer’s liability is not dependent on the finding by a government agency, but it may be proven by other means.