On Nov. 11, it was reported that a Georgia jury awarded $16.5 million from Michelin North America to the widow of an individual who was killed as a result of a tire blow out in 2011. The lawsuit had claimed that a large van was driving on I-75 near Macon when the van suffered a sudden rear tire failure. The blowout caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle, which then flipped. The van accident left two people dead, and another 12 injured.
The jury ultimately found Michelin to be 80 percent liable for the accident and the driver to be 20 percent liable. The award broke down to $5 million for the wrongful death, $20,000 for funeral expenses and the remaining $11.5 million for punitive damages.
A spokesperson for Michelin North America stated that the tire had traveled more than 50,000 miles and had been improperly repaired prior to the blow out. The company was reportedly considering whether or not to appeal the case.
Most people expect the products that they buy to be safe for their use. However, this is not always the case. If a tire or other portion of the vehicle does not function the way that it was designed to, the result could cause a fatal accident, as it did in this particular case.
Certain family members, including children and spouses, may be eligible to file a wrongful death suit against the company that made the faulty product. With this type of lawsuit, they may be eligible to seek compensation for their loss for a wide range of damages, including funeral expenses and punitive damages.
Source: Tire Review, “Jury Hits Michelin for $16.5 Million in Tire Failure Suit”, November 11, 2013