My son had his car's left front tire blowout while he was traveling
at 70 mph. This tire blowout caused the vehicle to veer into the
inside guardrail. The tires were inspected prior to the accident
and were in good shape. The car was totaled, and the insurance
company is claiming that my son was responsible for the accident,
not the tire, because he failed to maintain control of the vehicle.
Is he at fault if he couldn't steer the vehicle?
Yes, your son can be found at fault for the incident by your car
It's not unusual for a driver to be found at fault for a one-car
accident. Single-car incidents where no fault is found typically
are those have to do with nature such as a deer runs into your car,
a tree falls onto your car during a storm or hail dents your
A tire blowout may be an unanticipated event and make it hard to
steer a vehicle, but it would appear that your auto insurer is
saying that a reasonable and prudent driver should have been able
to maintain control. Since your son was unable to do so, he was
assigned blame for the incident that totaled the car and damaged
The car insurance company isn't saying that your son is a bad
driver. If you son is a
, it's likely that it's a case of an inexperienced driver that was
unable to control an unexpected situation and so crashed after his
tire blew out. (See "
3 critical skills driver's ed doesn't teach
National Safety Council
gives advice on what to do in this situation. After a blowout, one
needs to remain calm and gently maneuver the car out of traffic.
This is done through gently slowing down, without using the brake
if possible, and gradually moving over to the side of the road once
the car is below 30 mph.
It's likely that your son braked or turned the car suddenly
after the blowout and ended up in the guardrail, and that is how he
is found at fault. Also, if he were going over the speed limit, the
insurer could consider this as part of the
that contributed to him totaling out the vehicle after the tire
As you probably already know, your car's damages will go under
your collision coverage, since your son collided with the
guardrail. You may not be aware, but the state will also probably
find your son at fault for the accident and in turn contact you to
pay for damages done to the guardrail. Luckily, your property
damage liability coverage should cover this.
It's very possible that this accident will cause your premiums
to go up. This is due to claims being paid out to you and others on
your behalf, and your son being at fault makes him a higher risk as
To help balance out your rates, ask your insurer if they'd offer
any discounts if your son takes a driver improvement class, which
could help him with his ability to maintain control in sudden,