The high speeds used by drivers on Houston’s many freeways and arterial streets often lead to unanticipated events that can cause a serious collision. Some of these accidents are rare, but others are surprisingly common. A truck losing a wheel would intuitively seem to be fairly uncommon, but a collision near New Caney, north east of Houston, reminded everyone how often loose wheels can cause a tragic collision.
A woman and her 17-year-old son were traveling south in a GMC pickup on I-69 as they were returning from the son’s baseball game. A Dodge pickup traveling in the north bound lanes lost a tire and a wheel. The wheel, with the tire still attached, bounced across the median strip and hit the GMC in the driver’s side windshield.
The mother was killed instantly. As she lost control of her vehicle, it struck a car carrying a male driver and three children. All four were taken to Kingwood Hospital with serious injuries. The son of the woman who was killed suffered serious injuries that required hospitalization.
Frequency of similar accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 738 people died in 2017 due to wheel and tire-related crashes. The NHTSA also reports that more than 19,000 people are hurt every year in wheel and tire accidents.
Most such accidents can be prevented by simple maintenance, including periodic rotation, alignment and balancing of tires. Routine checking of the condition of the tires’ treads is another solid preventative measure.
Liability for damages
Anyone who has been injured or lost a loved one in a tire/wheel related incident may wish to pursue a claim for damages. Any owner of a truck that is regularly driven on high-speed roads may be liable for failing to take the accident prevention steps described above.
An experienced auto accident attorney can provide a helpful evaluation of the evidence and legal arguments that will support claims for damages for medical expenses, loss of present and future income, and pain and suffering.