Have you ever been on the freeway when something slams into your car? If you have, you know how terrifying that experience can be. Years ago, I was on the eastbound Interstate 10 freeway when an 18-inch steel tube bounced off the freeway and into my driver’s side window smashing the glass into a thousand pieces into the car all over me and my wife who was in the front passenger seat. The experience was terrifying. Fortunately, in my case, I was able to maintain my composure and kept control of the car until I was able to pull over to the side of the road.
On Sunday, February 14, 2016, a driver of a Smart Car was not so fortunate when a tire came off a 1989 Ford Econoline truck on the northbound 57 freeway. Once the tire dislodged from the truck, it bounced over the center divider and hit the Smart Car. The driver lost control of his car and ended up striking the center divider and then crossing the freeway and hit a bridge rail. It is reported that the driver of the Smart Car was Ryan M. Mendenhall of Mira Loma.
A tire traveling at highway speed towards another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction will impact the oncoming car at a speed of 120 mph or more. The impact will often strike a part of the car not designed to withstand any major impact, such as a windshield or side window. Thus, the dislodged tire acts as a projectile towards the vehicle occupants and the occupants do not have time, nor space, to move away from the danger.
This tragedy was fully preventable. Proper maintenance of a car or truck is critical. Checking lug nuts, having the tires rotated and serviced most often prevent such accidents. However, sometimes even careful drivers who maintain their vehicles may still encounter these challenges when the service man fails to properly fasten and tighten the wheels to the car.
If you have experienced a tragedy where you were injured, or a loved one was killed by a something coming off a car or truck, such as a tire, or some other object, and you are able to identify the source of the object, you may have a legal claim against the driver of the other vehicle. If the driver was working for a company at the time, you may also have rights against the company who was responsible to safely maintain the car or truck. Understanding your legal rights and remedies for all the harm or loss caused by the negligence of another is critical to avoid being a victim twice. You need to speak with the Inland Empire Law Group at 909-481-0100 or toll-free 1-888-MY-IE-LAW, to understand your rights when tragedy enters your life