Our clients were riding their motorcycles back from the national BMW rally that was taking place in Des Moines when a member of the Wisconsin BMW Motorcycle Club had her front tire fail, causing her to be thrown to the ground. She suffered a fractured scapula, fractured ribs and a head injury. Her husband was following her and came upon the accident scene. The front tire was a tubed tire and had just been replaced before the trip.
They were not even contemplating making any claim against anyone, but Attorney Todd Korb spoke with them and encouraged them to let him look into it and see if Hupy and Abraham can help. Attorney Korb initially thought it might be a products liability case, as the tube and tire were brand new. He obtained the tube and tire and had an expert examine them. The expert found it to not be defective and thought the tube may have blown due to improper installation.
Attorney Korb then made a claim against the installer, who denied the case. Attorney Korb put the case into suit and the defendants made an offer of judgment to settle the case for $24,000. In litigation, Attorney Korb deposed the installer who made a video showing how he installed the tube and tire. He testified it was impossible to damage the tube during installation when using the machine he was using, and that the blown tube was caused by a pothole.
Hupy and Abraham made a videotape of the stretch of highway where the accident occurred and there were no potholes anywhere where the accident occurred. The firm obtained Department of Transportation records to prove there had been no reports of potholes or work on potholes on the highway where the accident occurred and to prove the highway had just been repaved shortly before the accident.
The operator’s manual for the tire machine that was used, gave four steps to take when installing a tube and tire. Attorney Korb deposed a representative of the tire machine manufacturer who had authored the operator’s manual. That person testified it was possible to damage the tube during installation with the machine if there is operator error and that each of the four steps in the manual specifically on tube installation are to avoid having a pinch flat.
In the video the installer prepared, he failed to perform any of the four steps. A pinch flat occurs when a part of a tube is pinched between the tire and the rim during installation. Over time, the pinch can work its way free and tear, causing a sudden flat tire and an accident. The expert we hired opined that a pinch flat was the most likely cause of the accident.
Attorney Korb settled the case for $375,000, and the clients are very happy.