Rolling Tires and Wheel Off Truck Accidents

Were you hurt in an accident that happened because a truck’s wheel broke off from the vehicle? If so, you could be owed significant compensation for what you’ve suffered, and multiple parties could be liable for your injuries. Contact the truck accident law firm of Silkman Law Firm Injury & Accident Lawyer for a free initial claim review, and let’s start pursuing the money you need to get your life back on track.

Understanding the Phenomenon

A wheel-off truck accident occurs when a commercial truck’s wheel and tire separate from an axle. This can cause the truck’s driver to lose control of their vehicle and veer into the path of other vehicles or a fixed object like a guardrail, signpost, or building. Wheel separations most commonly occur soon after faulty installations of new tires or after long periods without inspection or repair.

A prior National Transportation Safety Board study into truck wheel separations found that approximately 750 to 1,000 truck accidents occur each year due to wheel separations. Although materials and automotive engineering have improved over the years, they have not eliminated the risk of these devastating accidents.

The Dangers of Rolling Tires and Wheel-Off Incidents

Wheel-off truck accidents have the potential to lead to truly devastating collisions. First, the loss of a wheel may cause a truck axle to collapse and the truck driver to lose control of their vehicle, potentially colliding into road barriers, posts, buildings, or other fixed objects along the road. A veering truck that has lost a wheel may also careen into other vehicles, jackknife, or overturn, while the separated tire can become a road hazard in its own right. Victims are often left with severe, life-altering injuries, and the cost of property damage can be extensive.

Contributing Factors to Wheel Separation

A commercial truck can lose its wheel for any number of reasons. Some of the top causes of wheel separation incidents involving commercial trucks include:

  • Inadequate inspections and maintenance of wheel assemblies, including the failure to notice or fix loose, cracked, or worn nuts and bolts
  • Faulty wheel installation after inspections or tire replacements, including inadequate or over-tightening of lug nuts
  • Improper repairs to wheel assemblies
  • Wear and tear of components
  • Overloading that puts excessive strain on axles and wheels
  • Design or manufacturing defects in wheel assembly components

Other factors, such as poor road conditions (e.g., broken pavement, potholes, or debris), can cause a catastrophic failure of a truck’s wheel assembly.

Who Is Liable for a Wheel Separating from a Truck Accident?

Depending on the cause of a wheel separation, you may have the right to hold various parties liable for the injuries and losses you’ve suffered due to the truck accident, including:

  • The truck driver: A truck driver must conduct post-trip inspections of their vehicle at the end of each day, including looking for signs of damage or wear-and-tear that can lead to wheel separation. Drivers must also inspect cargo loads to confirm the weight does not exceed the truck’s hauling capacity, which can put excess strain on axles and cause a catastrophic failure of a wheel assembly.
  • The trucking company: Trucking companies have a responsibility under federal regulations to regularly inspect and maintain vehicles in their fleets, which includes inspecting wheel assemblies for damage or wear and tear.
  • The truck’s owner: If a third party other than the truck driver or trucking company owns the truck, this owner may bear responsibility for a wheel separation caused by deferred vehicle maintenance.
  • Third-party mechanics: A third-party mechanic hired to service the truck’s wheels and tires may cause a wheel separation by performing a faulty wheel installation after repair or replacing the tire/wheel.
  • The truck’s manufacturer or third-party auto part manufacturers: A truck manufacturer may bear liability for a wheel separation caused by a defective design or assembly of the truck. Similarly, third-party manufacturers who supply parts for the truck (such as wheels, bolts, or lug nuts) may bear responsibility for defectively designing or manufacturing those parts.

What To Do After a Wheel-Off Accident

After a truck accident caused by a wheel coming off, you can take steps to put yourself in a favorable position to recover compensation for your harm and loss, including:

  • Reporting the crash to law enforcement authorities and obtaining a copy of the police accident report
  • Seeking prompt medical attention and following your doctor’s treatment recommendation and recovery instructions
  • Requesting copies of your medical records
  • Notifying your auto insurance provider of the accident to confirm whether you may have coverage under your policy for the accident
  • Keeping bills, invoices, or receipts of expenses you incur during your recovery
  • Gathering your pre-accident pay stubs/income statements to calculate lost earnings if you miss work or need to go on part-time or modified-duty work

Finally, contact a truck accident lawyer from Silkman Law Firm Injury & Accident Lawyer as soon as possible. We can discuss what further steps you should take to pursue financial recovery from a negligent truck driver or trucking company.

Statute of Limitations to Seek Compensation

Under Arizona’s statute of limitations on truck accident claims, you typically have two years after an 18-wheeler crash caused by a wheel separation to file a lawsuit against those responsible for the wheel-off incident and your resulting injuries and property damage. Talking to a truck accident attorney as soon as possible after a crash can protect your legal rights, as your attorney can help you file your legal claims on time. Otherwise, you may lose the opportunity to recover compensation if you file your lawsuit after the limitations period has expired on your truck accident claim.

Contact Our Phoenix Truck Accident Attorney to Learn More

You may have the right to seek financial recovery from a negligent truck driver/owner or trucking company if you were hurt because a wheel falls off truck. Contact Silkman Law Firm Injury & Accident Lawyer today for a free, no-obligation consultation to get help from an experienced legal advocate who can investigate your case and hold those at fault for your injuries and losses accountable.