Wheel separation caused by wheel system failure is a notable cause of serious trucking accidents, and truck accident lawyers know that it happens more frequently than most people imagine it does. When a wheel comes off a truck or its trailer, that vehicle many times goes out of control, hitting other vehicles on the road. Besides the trucks themselves, wheels that separate from vehicles can hit other vehicles as well, causing accidents and other damage.
What Is Wheel Separation?
Wheel separation is when the wheel of a semi truck or trailer actually comes off the vehicle while it is in motion. This condition is highly dangerous, causing trucks or trailers to go out of control, posing an immediate threat to other vehicles on the road nearby. Overall, it is estimated that hundreds of wheel separations on trucks happen every year, but the number could be much higher than that since many are never reported if they do not cause an accident.
Also, even though not all separations result in trucking accidents, the possibility exists for the wheel itself, once it is separated from the truck, to strike other moving vehicles and injure someone.
How Wheel System Failures Leading to Separation Occur
Wheel system failures that eventually cause wheel separation happen in a number of ways. The most common cause of this problem is over-torquing or under-torquing wheel lug nuts, which eventually can cause the wheel studs to break off. Another main cause of wheel separation is the failure of the wheel bearing assembly, which can break off when enough load is put on it if it is failing. Axle failure is the third main cause of wheel separation. In all of these instances, failure is related to either improper installation of the wheel or wheel bearing assembly, delayed maintenance or mechanical defect.
Preventing Wheel System Failures
Since wheel separation accidents are caused by failures mostly relating to truck maintenance, it is essential for trucking companies to uphold the best maintenance schedules on their vehicles. This includes ensuring that qualified individuals perform any repairs or regular maintenance and that all parts used on semi trucks are high-quality equipment that is least likely to have defects.
Keeping wheel hubs well lubricated is essential maintenance to prevent hub failure. Also, practices like reconditioning wheels, which leads to the application of too much wheel paint - a problem that has been associated with soft joint connections when fastening wheels - should be discouraged. Reconditioning wheels and other parts are a common practice used by some truck owners to save money, but the results can be deadly.
Wheel system failures and wheel separation are a preventable cause of many tractor trailer accidents that cause great damage to property, and leave people seriously injured. Anyone who has been injured in a trucking accident caused by a truck’s wheel coming off the vehicle while in motion should talk to experienced truck accident lawyers about their injuries. Whether actually hit by a truck that lost a wheel, or injured by the wheel itself after becoming detached from a truck, attorneys experienced in the trucking industry, and dealing with these kinds of accidents, are important to any injury claim for getting the best results!
Pearland, Pasadena, Webster, League City, Webster, Manvel, Alvin, Friendswood, La Marque, Texas City, and Galveston
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
Phone: (281) 408-2190