Firm partner Michael Ruppersburg recently settled a case for $1.375 million involving a BBGA client who suffered severe orthopedic injuries in a crash caused by a 10-year-old tire. Ruppersburg utilized digital forensics to extract crucial data from electronic devices belonging to the defendant to prove the case.
Motorcyclist Lays Down Bike to Avoid Crash, Suffers Serious Injuries
A BBGA client was riding his motorcycle on Georgia Highway 365 in Toccoa, Ga. when one of the defendants was driving the opposite direction. The tires on the defendant’s car were 10-years-old and in poor condition, which caused the right rear tire to completely separate the tread. When this happened, the defendant lost control of her car, went into the median, flipped, and came to rest directly in our client’s path. He laid his bike down to avoid crashing into the defendant’s car, and in the process suffered a tibial plateau fracture of his knee, a broken ankle, a broken wrist, and broken fingers, amongst other injuries. He required multiple surgeries, was in the hospital two weeks and spent several months in a rehabilitation facility. His medical bills and lost wages reached $228,000.
Tire Company Claims It Didn’t Mount the Tire, Digital Forensics Proves Otherwise
Although the tires on the defendant’s car were 10-years-old, she had them put on just months before the wreck and testified they had been mounted by a Georgia tire company. The owner of the tire company testified they recommend removing and replacing tires that are six-years-old or older, but that they did not mount the defendant’s tire. There was no record of a purchase from the defendant, but she testified she paid cash for the tire and didn’t have a receipt.
Ruppersburg obtained Facebook messages between the defendant and her boyfriend to pinpoint the date the tires were mounted. With the help of a cell phone forensics expert, Ruppersburg pulled information from the defendant’s cell phone that showed she had Google searched and called the tire company that day.
The defendant’s boyfriend testified he was at the gas station across the street from the tire company when the defendant was getting the tire put on, and he saw her. Ruppersburg subpoenaed his credit card records, which showed a transaction was made at the gas station that day.
Tire aging is a public safety issue and companies should not be mounting old or faulty tires, which can deteriorate and fail. You can check the age of your tires by looking at the DOT number on the sidewall of your tire. The last four numbers are the week and year the tire was manufactured. If you’ve suffered a severe injury due to a crash caused by faulty or damaged tires, contact us today at (706) 354-4000 for a free consultation.