Q: Is another vehicle owner liable for damages related to a crash if there is no showing of fault?
A dump truck was traveling east when the left front tire failed (blow-out or unknown cause, possibly road hazard). The truck ran into the highway median, hit the Armco-style metal barrier which shredded the tire and totally destroyed the truck. Part of the barrier (a wooden post) was projected into the west-bound lane which caused property damage to my vehicle and one other vehicle. The police report did not cite the driver. The truck tire was shredded so badly that no fault attribution was possible. All of this occurred in Ohio.
A large Ohio insurance company insured the truck and truck owner. Their view was that unless the truck driver was at fault, then there was no liability for my damages or the destruction of the highway barrier. They also noted that if the truck tire (or some other truck component) was shown to be at fault, then the tire maker would be liable for everything (including the loss of the $100K truck) but they could find no evidence of this.
A: You can take the same approach--it's a single vehicle accident they have to show that the tire blew, they have to make a claim against the tire manufacturer, not you.
In most states they have a duty to promptly and fairly settle cases. If they don't and you had property damage give them estimates; confirm with them they have refused to pay. Then file a complaint with the insurance commissioner and whatever government agency regulates what they do.
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