Truck accidents are relatively common, and many of these accidents are due to driver errors. However, a truck malfunction can also cause an accident. One of the lesser-known malfunctions is a wheel falling off the truck. When a wheel falls off a truck, it can cause severe injuries and property damage.
There is usually no quick way for anyone nearby to avoid a flying wheel. Victims can be anyone near the truck, including motorists, bicyclists, motorcycle riders, and pedestrians. Injuries and deaths from flying wheels have also been reported by road maintenance and construction workers and even police officers.
How Do Truck Wheel Accidents Happen?
There are many reasons why a wheel can fly off a truck, including:
- Lack of regular inspections by the truck owner, operator, or trucking company.
- Lack of tire and rim maintenance.
- Old and worn parts, such as broken or rusty axels.
- Hub separation when wheel bearings fail.
- Incorrect wheel installation, such as too much or too little torque.
- Improper installation of wheel parts.
- Defective tires.
Sometimes, regular maintenance inspections are not done by the truck owner, operator, or trucking company. Even if a wheel is inspected regularly, necessary repairs may not have been done.
Anyone who is injured by a flying truck wheel should immediately contact a truck accident lawyer. Preserving evidence is crucial, and only a lawyer can make that happen.
What Damages can a Truck Wheel Cause?
Some truck wheels can weigh up to 200 pounds with the tire and rim combined. A truck will often have six, ten, or 18 or more wheels, so the chances of one falling off are reasonable. A flying truck wheel can have serious consequences, including:
- The wheel can land on the windshield of a nearby vehicle, causing injuries and an accident involving one or more vehicles; a direct impact can cause instant death.
- The wheel can fly off and bounce across several lanes, causing an accident involving one or many drivers who cannot avoid the rogue tire.
- Wheels can also fly over the roadway, bounce across the median, and into cars traveling in the opposite direction.
- Wheels that fly off on a roadway can severely injure pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Losing a wheel can cause the truck to swerve, jackknife, or otherwise cause an accident with other motorists.
- Fragments of a flying wheel can also cause accidents, such as the metal rim soaring into a windshield.
Injuries from a flying wheel can be devastating because an accident will generally follow the initial impact. The sheer force and energy of a flying wheel can cause serious bodily harm to victims and even death. A truck accident lawyer can help a victim receive compensation for their injuries and property damage.
Why Should I Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer?
A truck accident lawyer is necessary whenever someone is hurt or their loved one is killed in an accident with a commercial truck. Truck accident claims can be complex because there may be more than one negligent party in the case. It is crucial to hire a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident to preserve evidence and talk to witnesses while the accident is still fresh in their minds.
How can a Lawyer Help Me with My Case?
A lawyer will do the following in a truck accident case:
Determine the reasons why the wheel flew off the truck. There may be one or more reasons, such as lack of inspection and maintenance along with faulty installation. To determine why the wheel flew off, a lawyer will do the following:
- Demand that the truck owner, operator, or trucking company preserves the vehicle and its parts without making any modifications or repairs.
- Order a full inspection of the truck and its wheels.
- Gather any truck pieces or other debris related to the incident as well as photograph and store them as evidence.
- Collect all inspection, maintenance, and repair records related to the truck and determine whether there were missed inspections or incomplete repairs.
- Analyze whether the wheel manufacturer or assembler provided faulty parts or installed the wheel incorrectly.
Reconstruct the accident. A forensic investigation can include engineers, accident reconstruction experts, and others who can work together to determine why the wheel flew off. A lawyer will also document all issues related to the accident through records, communications, photographs and videos, tangible evidence, and witness and expert testimonies to build a strong case against the correct liable parties.
Perform interviews. A lawyer will likely interview witnesses, check nearby traffic and surveillance cameras, gather police reports, photographs, sketches, and diagrams. A lawyer will investigate the truck driver, truck owner, and trucking company to understand past citations or lawsuits as well as examine whether the truck or parts manufacturers had any recalls.
Determine if the truck driver or the truck violated any federal or state laws, statutes, or ordinances. Was the truck carrying too much weight? Did the wheel parts manufacturer have quality control standards in place? Did the truck owner or trucking company inspect the truck as required?
Determine the appropriate party and insurer to settle with or sue. Accidents involving trucks can be complex and potentially involve more than one liable party and insurer. Who is the owner of the truck? Was the driver an employee or independent contractor? A truck accident lawyer who is knowledgeable about the trucking industry is the best person to determine the liable party and insurer.
Calculate compensation for the victim. A lawyer will calculate the victim’s damages, including current and future medical costs, current and future loss of income, pain and suffering, and property loss.
Negotiate with the insurer to try to reach a fair and just settlement. The lawyer will present evidence to the insurance company with a demand for compensation in an appropriate amount up to the insured’s policy maximum. The stronger the evidence, the better the chance an insurer will settle out of court. A lawyer will take the case to court if the insurer does not offer a fair settlement.
What Damages can I Recover in a Truck Wheel Accident?
Every accident has unique circumstances. A lawyer has the skills and knowledge that is necessary to pursue every type of compensation a victim is entitled to, including:
- Costs for current and future medical bills, such as emergency room care, ambulance, surgeries, hospital stays, intensive care unit stays, rehabilitation, and long-term care.
- Costs for services a victim can no longer do by themselves, such as housework, lawn and yard care, driving, and childcare.
- Lost wages for missed work and lost future earning power if the victim cannot return to work for a specific time period or permanently.
- Pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, psychological or emotional damages, and other non-economic losses.
- Wrongful death on behalf of the family.
Truck accident cases are often difficult to navigate, especially if more than one party may be at fault. After any truck collision, it is imperative that the victim speaks to a lawyer about their legal options.
Virginia Beach Truck Accident Lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC Advocate for Victims of Wheel-Related Truck Collisions
No one should suffer the physical, emotional, and financial devastation caused by a truck accident. If the truck driver, owner, trucking company, or manufacturer is liable for the truck wheel accident, you are likely eligible for compensation. A skilled Virginia Beach truck accident lawyer at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC will collect the evidence that is needed to build a strong case against the negligent party. Contact us online or call us at 757-LAW-0000 for a free consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, and Eastern Shore. We also serve our clients throughout the United States through our network of associated attorneys.