Defective Wheel Detaches from 18-Wheeler, Injures Victim and Crushes Car


Car wrecks and the associated injuries are always sad and difficult and can often be life changing events. We sympathize with each of our clients who suffer physical or emotional anguish at the hands of another. The scariest kinds of accidents are those that seem to occur out of nowhere, giving a victim no warning or chance to react. Even worse is when this type of tragic event is completely avoidable and was precipitated by the gross negligence and utter disregard of other driver’s safety. Unfortunately, this was the exact circumstance surrounding a recent case we handled. The case involved a woman who was severely injured as a result of a defective wheel detaching from an 18-wheeler and striking her car.


The accident occurred when our client was driving her car southbound on Interstate 10. She was following an out-of-state, big rig truck, which was also traveling southbound. Suddenly one of the wheels on the commercial truck became detached and hurtled backwards onto the victim’s car, crushing it. Our client suffered major injuries to her back, spine, neck, head, and body. The injury to her back was so severe that it required a level three fusion of her lumbar spine.


It was subsequently determined during the investigation that a considerable amount of negligence by multiple parties was at play leading up to this accident. They included:

The Trucker – The trucker who was driving the 18-wheeler was required to do a pre-trip and en route inspection of his vehicle. In addition to the defective wheel, he also failed to notice a defective tire and a defective exhaust. Additionally, he was traveling at an unsafe speed, did not maintain his vehicle properly, and continued driving after noticing dangerous problems.

The Trucking Companies – The trucker was driving on behalf of two out-of-state trucking companies who also committed acts of negligence. The lug nuts on the wheels of their trucks were required to be checked with air wrenches and air guns; however, not only did the companies fail to provide their drivers with these necessary tools, they improperly trained the drivers to instead “eye ball” the wheels. Additionally, they did not properly maintain or inspect their vehicles, as the 18-wheeler involved in the accident was purchased used and subsequently did not have its wheels or tires changed for over six months. They also committed negligent hiring practices by employing the trucker involved in the accident. The trucking company had prior knowledge of the new hire being an unsafe driver who was previously fired by a different trucking company for not keeping proper driving logs.


As a result of this accident our client suffered significant pain and suffering and her quality of life was greatly diminished. She sued the trucker and the trucking company for their gross negligence and sought expenses for all medical bills, past and present, which resulted from this accident. She also sought damages for the mental anguish and physical pain and suffering that she endured, her disability, and the diminished quality of her life. She also sought compensation for the loss of earning capacity that she experienced due to this accident.

Dugas Law Firm was committed to helping our client recover the damages she rightfully deserved as a result of this horrendous accident. The case recently settled for an amount that made our client whole and allowed her to move forward with her life in a positive way.

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