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Truck Accident Lawsuit - News and Settlements

• March 22, 2018

Hankook Tire Liable for $37 Million in Cement Truck Crash

On an otherwise-normal morning in 2014, Robert Benedict was on the job, driving a cement-mixer truck to his first stop of the day. Suddenly, a loud bang rang through the cabin. Unbeknownst to Mr. Benedict at the time, the tread on the front passenger-side tire had burst apart, causing an immediate loss in tire pressure that sent the cement truck veering uncontrollably to the right. The mixer hit an embankment and did a complete roll before coming to rest again in an upright position. In the process, Mr. Benedict suffered a severe spinal cord injury that left him a quadriplegic, likely to be wheelchair bound for the remainder of his life.

Despite his tragic tale, Mr. Benedict received some measure of justice when, on March 9, a jury in Virginia found Hankook Tire Co. Ltd.—maker of the problem tire on Mr. Benedict’s truck—liable for his injuries, awarding him nearly $38 million in damages. Attorneys for Mr. Benedict had argued that the tire’s internal components had not been bonded together appropriately during the manufacturing process, stating in the complaint that, “[t]he tire’s compromised integrity by virtue of inadequate bonding and adhesion predisposed the tire to failure by way of tread/belt separation during the service life of the tire.”

The defective tire was a Hankook Aurora TH08 Radial. The tire was manufactured abroad by the Korea-based Hankook before being passed on to its American subsidiary, who sold it to it a distributor. Benedict’s lawyers had argued vigorously that the defective product should never have been allowed onto the market, and apparently the jury agreed.

“Despite the defective and unreasonably dangerous condition of the tire,” plaintiff’s counsel wrote, “the Hankook Entities sold the tire into the stream of commerce and breached the duty they owed to consumers and users of their products (including Mr. Benedict) to refrain from manufacturing and/or selling products that are defective and unreasonably dangerous for their foreseeable uses and misuses.”

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