An exploding Goodyear tire cost a Plaquemines Parish man his life back in 2014. Now, Goodyear is being forced to pay up — although not until after the company gets done appealing the most recent verdict.
The district court judge ruled against Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., saying that the tiremaker had failed to provide adequate warning to the parish that the tires on their garbage trucks could explode during inflation. One truck’s driver was putting air into a tire when a “zipper failure” occurred. A sidewall ripped open and the force of the air threw the driver backward with so much force that he died of massive internal wounds after a 28-day hospital battle. The victim left behind a wife and five children.
The judge calculated the damages due to the victim and his family at $6.7 million, although a small amount of that money will go back to the parish to repay the workers’ compensation claim in the case. Interest on the amount due — caused by the long delay in obtaining a verdict — will add on around $1.4 million more.
Goodyear defended itself by saying that it had embossed warnings on the tire itself and on the back of the invoices that came with them. However, such incidents are rare and an expert testified that the warnings the company provided were insufficient. Most people would interpret the warnings to mean that the tire could blow out while on the road while under-inflated — not that the mere act of adding more air to the tire itself could cause a blowout. The man’s co-workers testified that they had all understood the information the same way.
Catastrophic injuries from defective or unsafe products are a serious problem for consumers. When manufacturers provide inadequate warnings about the dangers of their products, however, they often fight against fair settlements as hard as possible. If you or your loved one suffered a serious injury due to a product’s unexpected failure, you may be entitled to compensation.