Many things, including poor maintenance and mechanical failure, can cause truck accidents. For example, the wheels of a truck are made of steel and, with an attached tire, can weigh over 100 pounds each. When a truck travels at high speeds and a tire comes loose, people nearby typically have no way to dodge the flying object, and the result is often severe injury or death.
In November 2022, a Michigan jury awarded $7.7 million to a man severely injured in 2018 when a wheel of a truck box headed in the opposite direction fell off, rolled over the median, and struck the front of the man’s vehicle. The owner of the truck, Lower Huron Chemical & Supply Company of Wayne, Michigan, was found liable for not following Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations regarding the inspection, maintenance, and repair of commercial vehicles.
The owner and employees of the company admitted they failed to follow DOT regulations, saying that they’ve never read them because if they did, they wouldn’t have time to run their business. They also disclosed that the company had no preventative maintenance program.
How common are tire accidents?
These types of preventable accidents are more common than many people think. Approximately 33,000 tire-related accidents happen yearly, and at least 2,000 happen because of blowouts. For example, in August 2022, a mother and her child were injured as they dined in Lumberton, Texas when a tandem tire flew off a semi-truck and crashed through the window of Crazy Jose’s restaurant, rolled across the street, and came to rest in the parking lot of a nearby convenience store.
Why would a wheel fly off a moving truck?
Truck tires have approximately 75,000 pounds of pressure resting on them at any given time, and they are often required to turn for hundreds of miles without stopping. This strain subjects the tire to tremendous wear and tear, increasing the chance it will blow out or fly off the truck unexpectedly. Some common reasons why a wheel might fly off a moving truck include the following:
- Old, worn, or defective parts, such as broken, rusty, or improperly repaired axels
- Wheel bearing failure and hub separations
- Manufacturing defects
- Incorrect installation of parts
- Improper truck maintenance
- Failure to inspect the vehicle before operation
The lack of maintenance, including failing to perform a suitable inspection of the vehicle before it is driven on a public roadway, can provide the basis for a product liability lawsuit. Identifying all the potential issues and documenting them through logbooks, photographs, and expert testimony are the keys to proving liability in a truck accident case.
Obtaining the trucking company’s maintenance and repair records is also an essential part of the process. In some cases, the need for repairs might have been identified before the incident but the repairs were never made. At other times, no regular inspections of the necessary parts of the vehicle, including the tires, were ever done.
What should I do if a blown or flying tire injures me?
Victims of blown tire and flying wheel injuries should contact an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Assessing why the tire came off the truck is vital to prove and win damages in a personal injury case. At Harris Lowry Manton, our Savannah truck accident attorneys understand the complex nature of truck accidents related to tires. They will ensure that a forensic inspection of the truck and its parts is completed as soon as possible. We work with industry experts who understand the state and federal regulations for truck drivers and who can reconstruct the accident scene.
In 2013, Jeffrey R. Harris of Harris Lowry Manton helped secure a $16,530,000 wrongful death due to defective design and failure to warn verdict for the estate of 50-year-old Kharka Chhetri, a man who was killed while riding in a 15-passenger van that hit a guardrail and overturned after its rear left tire blew out. The jury apportioned 80% of the damages to Michelin North America, the manufacturer of the defective tire, and 20% to the van’s driver Bhim B. Bhista.
Were you seriously injured due to an accident involving a loose or blown tire? Harris Lowry Manton is ready to help. Call us at our Savannah or Atlanta offices or fill out our contact form to set up your free initial consultation with an experienced tire accident injury lawyer today.
Jed Manton is committed to representing individuals and business that have been harmed by the actions of others. With a solid track record, Jed has helped numerous clients who have been seriously injured or who have lost a loved one obtain justice, while holding the wrongdoer accountable.
Read more about Jed D. Manton here.