A number of different parties could bear blame for a tire-related car accident:
The owner or operator of a vehicle with poorly-maintained tires, such as underinflated tires or tires with low tread depth, could be considered negligent if the condition of their tires causes a wreck.
In Texas, for the purpose of passing a state safety inspection, the minimum allowable tread depth is 2/32”. State law also indicates that, “all tires must appear to be properly inflated—even though a gauge check is not required.” For commercial vehicles like buses, trucks, and tractor trailers, a tread depth of at least 4/32” is required. The state has additional tire safety requirements concerning visual tire damage, including tread or sidewall separation.
If a vehicle’s tires do not meet minimum Texas tire safety requirements, this could be evidence of driver/owner negligence. But meeting state requirements doesn’t necessarily mean tires are safe. Consumer Reports recommends shopping for tires when tread depth reaches 4/32”.
Tires that have a defective design or a manufacturing defect are unsafe even when their inflation levels and tread depth are normal. Responsibility for a defective tire accident typically lies with the manufacturer, but the distributor or tire seller could be hit with a defective tire claim as well.
A variety of third parties (that is, somebody other than you and the driver that hits you) could be to blame for tire failure. For example, if nails fall out of a contractor’s truck and puncture a driver’s tire—and this causes them to lose control—the contractor might be liable. Or, you could hit a pothole that compresses the sidewall and leads to tire failure. In this case, it could be a local government or road maintenance company that is responsible.
When a large truck crash is caused by tire failure, a number of parties might be to blame, including the truck driver, the trucking company, or a truck maintenance/repair company. Large truck accidents are notoriously complex due to the many state and federal laws that regulate truck commerce. Texas has an entire set of regulations just for commercial vehicle tires.