Driving on a major highway in Ontario a few weeks ago, a woman was lucky to have survived a flying wheel that collided with her SUV. As wheels flying off of other vehicles are not uncommon, they are continuing to happen and could lead to fatal consequences. Sadly, we have been involved in a case, where a woman was fatally injured when a wheel went through her windshield. Flying wheels create dangerous situations that can happen suddenly, and leave the victim with very little or no opportunity to avoid the impact. OPP on the scene of the crash that day suspected that the wheel may have not been properly installed.
What Causes a Tire to Fall Off of a Vehicle?
There are a variety of reasons that can cause a tire to come off of a vehicle. Most, if not all, are the result of improper installation or vehicle maintenance. Some of the common reasons we see in cases where wheels come off of a moving vehicle include the following:
Loose or Broken Lug Nuts
Your tires and wheels are under immense force while you drive. If the lug nuts are weak or not installed properly, they can break and/or work themselves loose.
When an axle breaks, it can fly off and take the entire wheel and tire assembly with it.
If the bearing fails, or there is a problem with the axle/spindle nut and the hub comes loose, the hub and wheel could fall off.
When the tire falls off, it can cause the driver to lose control and the vehicle may roll over. While any crash at highway speeds can be devastating, a rollover can lead to particularly catastrophic Injury. Loose wheels often fly into the air and bounce into other vehicles at a high rate of speed and can cause significant damage and injuries. Even if the wheel does not hit anyone else, it will likely land on the highway and become a difficult-to-maneuver hazard that could easily cause other collisions.
When there is a wheel displacement, it usually occurs within weeks of a service that required removing and replacing the tire. This could include:
Can I Bring a Lawsuit If I am Injured by Flying Tire?
Yes, in Ontario you can claim for your injuries and losses if you are the victim of a tire flying off of a vehicle.
Who is Liable for a Flying Wheel Collision?
In some cases, an automaker, dealership, mechanic or tire shop may be responsible for the damages you suffered if a tire fell off of a vehicle while driving. There are several ways negligence can lead to this type of incident. Defective parts can cause the issue or the technician that worked on your vehicle may have acted negligently while repairs were being done.
What If I Cannot Identify the Vehicle that Lost the Tire?
In some cases, particularly with large trucks, the culprit may continue to drive away from the scene if a tire comes off their vehicle. In these cases it is important to immediately report the accident to the police and get an investigation started. You will also want to make sure that any physical evidence is preserved. If a vehicle fails to remain after causing a collision, you should immediately contact a personal injury lawyer. You may have rights to claim for unidentified motorist insurance benefits. There are, however, important steps that you should take immediately and advice from an experienced lawyer is suggested.
If you are seriously injured by a flying wheel, you will need to speak to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Your tires are your vehicle’s point of contact with the road surface and your tires play a vital part of keeping you safe while you travel.
At Iacobelli Law Firm, our defective tire personal injury lawyers understand how difficult and life-changing it can be for you and your family when you are seriously injured in an unexpected motor vehicle crash. We are a dedicated Ontario Personal Injury Law Firm that provides compassionate and competent legal counsel for the injured and we offer a FREE Consultation so please feel free to call us at 1-866-234-6093. We are honored to serve our clients and our community.
Andrew Iacobelli is an Ontario lawyer that restricts his practice to representing personal injury victims and their families. Andrew is the founder of Iacobelli Law Firm.