Goodyear Tyre Maker sued for Accident

An Indian-origin man in the US has sued American tyre major Goodyear holding it responsible for an accident that left him paralysed.

Harishkumar Patel, 58, had received a spine injury in 2012 that left him paralysed when his SUV spun out of control and rolled over.

Mr Patel and his family hold Ohio-based Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co, which made the tyre that failed on the vehicle, responsible for the crash, the Herald Palladium reported Sep 25, 2015.

Mr Patel’s lawyers contended that the tyre was defective from the factory and never should have been placed on a vehicle.

However, Goodyear claims that the tyre failed because it hit an object some time before the June 6, 2012, crash. Mr Patel is suing Goodyear for the second time. Earlier, a trial in 2014 ended in a hung jury.

The case is being heard in Berrien County Trial Court.

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Kevin Riddle, one of Mr Patel’s lawyers, said if the jury decides against Goodyear the panel will also decide on a monetary award for his client.

He said the cost of care for Mr Patel for the rest of his life is expected to exceed USD 6 million.

An independent tyre consultant, William Woehrle, who assesses the role and significance of tyres in traffic accidents, took the witness stand on Thursday.

Under direct examination by Craig Hilborn, the lead lawyer in Patel’s case, Woehrle said the tyre that failed on Mr Patel’s vehicle had three manufacturer defects and one design defect.

He said the defects eventually caused belts to separate, which led to tread separating, making the vehicle difficult to control.

Edward Bott, lawyer for Goodyear, questioned Woehrle’s credentials, asking him if he has ever designed a tyre.

Woehrle, who worked for years as a tyre failure analyst, said no, he has never personally designed a tyre.

But, he said that he has held positions in which he provided tyre failure information to engineers and designers.

Goodyear’s defense is based on a belief that the tyre failure was a result of the vehicle hitting an object at some time prior to the day of the crash.

The trial is expected to last two weeks in Judge Sterling Schrock’s courtroom.

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