Most drivers couldn't imagine anything more terrifying than a wheel crashing into their windshield. With little time and less room to maneuvre on our busy highways, the odds of an innocent driver avoiding a catastrophic crash and injury are slim to none. But wheel separation is almost never a mystery and the negligence of the vehicle owner so shockingly mundane and obvious that it's hard to imagine why basic common sense service and maintenance steps weren't taken. Vehicle safety is everyone's priority. Owning a vehicle is expensive. And service can't be put off.
What are the Top 5 Tips Everyone Needs to Know About Flying Wheels?
1. Service Fail: Whether rotating tires as part of your annual service or wheel swapping as part of our seasonal switch from winters to all season tires, fasteners and nuts must be tightened properly. Usually this means a follow up visit to the garage for another torque. Most service stations and mechanics are conscientious and know to remind customers to drop back in after service for a second wrench. But the vehicle owner is always responsible for ensuring that vehicle is safe to drive and in proper working order. The owner must take the time for that critical second visit;
2. Bad Maintenance: All vehicles need to be maintained in safety whether a private or commercial vehicle. Wheel rims and tires alike are ground down every day and subject to obvious wear and tear. The freedom of the open road comes with responsibility for maintaining those wheels in safety. While aluminum rims may wear faster, all rims including steel rims need to be regularly inspected. Axels break. Wheel bearings and wheel fasteners fail;
3. Doing Donuts: Got a flat? Replaced it yourself? That spare tire or donut is for emergency use only and is never meant to carry you for days on end. Driving to a service station is priority number one as soon as that spare is on. That service and tire repair or replacement can't be put off for another day;
4. Who's to Blame? The buck stops with the vehicle owner. In Ontario, as in many jurisdictions, the owner of the vehicle is responsible for ensuring that vehicle is in proper working order and safe for on-road use. Trucking, delivery and courier companies are also responsible for their commercial vehicles. Delivery trucks and vans suffer severe wear and tear because of the miles those drivers and vehicles log. Worn wheels, rims, bolts and worn or bald tires cause crashes. Most companies regularly maintain their fleet and have a complete and comprehensive maintenance log for every vehicle. But not all do their due diligence and comply with the regs when deliveries are due yesterday. Service stations, garages and mechanics may also share liability for poor work. Drivers, both private and commercial, may also be responsible particularly if the job of a commercial driver required a routine safety and circle check of that vehicle. Drivers may also hear an obvious rattle or feel a vibration from wheels or tires on their last legs. Drivers need to take responsibility for prompt repair when given warning; and
5. What Will Your Lawyer Do? Written notice of your injury and loss may need to be provided to all possible defendants on a timely basis. A demand letter requiring the company or private owner preserve the vehicle without making any repairs may be sent. An investigation should be commenced and photos of the defendant's wheel, tire and vehicle as well as photos of your damaged vehicle and photos of your injuries are important. All police reports and any crash reconstruction reports may be obtained and carefully reviewed with you. Any witnesses to the crash should be identified and contacted. If there is any surveillance, particularly if the commercial vehicle had cameras or tracking, or if the private vehicle was insured on a pay as you go basis and had an insurance data tracker, that is evidence that may prove very helpful. Any injury claim may well name 2 or 3 or more defendants. Insurance coverage is critical and a need to know for any seriously injured plaintiff. Everyone needs to understand, particularly innocent motorists, that the insurance company is the real defendant, the real boss behind the scenes, and pays any significant settlement or court award.
What's the Bottom Line?
Flying wheels and tires cause horrifying crashes and injuries.
Your loss, and your family's loss, will likely be so severe that an experienced injury lawyer is critical.
If you've been seriously injured by a flying wheel or tire, call an experienced injury lawyer who understands the severity of your crash.
Call an experienced injury lawyer to discuss your claims.
Find out where you stand.
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