Hard as it may be to reconcile at time, we all put our lives on the line each and every time we step out of homes and into a motor vehicle to travel to work, school or even to the grocery store. It’s not a pleasant thought, to be sure, but it is a reality: People are killed and injured every day across the state of Maryland, and throughout the U.S., doing simple day-to-day activities that none of us would think twice about. As Maryland personal injury lawyers, we have to concur that operating a motor vehicle can be intrinsically life-threatening, if only from a statistical standpoint.
Of all the many and varied causes of traffic collisions, a percentage of these are the result of a failure in some safety- or control-related vehicle component or system. Be it a fractured steering shaft, poorly cast suspension arm, improperly torqued bolt or other fastener, even a faulty safety belt, each of these items can result in a serious accident. Depending on the part, the vehicle’s speed at the time of the failure, and other factors, it’s not a stretch to say that a fatality or multiple fatalities could be in the cards as well.
As automobile, trucking and motorcycle accident attorneys, we understand that these are not uplifting subjects. But the fact remains, at least for experienced legal professionals like ourselves, the existence of a faulty or poorly designed vehicle part or component can be grounds for a products liability suit, especially if a person is hurt or killed as a result of the failure.
In this modern age, we are all consumers of one thing or another. Now, more than any time in history, each of us relies on a multitude of faceless people for our lifestyle, health, education, livelihood and recreation. Hundreds of years ago most people were more or less self-reliant, but through progress and technology we have each lost our ability to do everything in life by ourselves. As such, our safety is dependent on the proper design and assembly of the products and appliances we use daily, in addition to the proper execution of the services that keep those products working correctly.
Just as we rely on a heating and cooling professional to service our furnace in the winter so that we are not injured by carbon monoxide gas seeping into our home, so must we trust the abilities of the mechanics and service technicians who maintain our vehicles. Whether it is our family sedan for daily use or the school bus on which our children ride each day to and from school, we expect that these vehicles are maintained correctly.
We bring this topic up primarily because a news article we came across earlier, which described and accident apparently caused by a loose wheel on a commercial truck. According to reports, a tractor-trailer rig lost what authorities said was its tire, causing the truck to hit another semi early on a Thursday morning along a stretch of Maryland Rte 140. Based on statements from the Maryland State Police, following the initial collision the big rig ran off the road and down a nearby embankment, overturning before coming to rest.
The news article indicated that multiple-truck accident occurred a little before 1am. As a result, the 42-year-old driver of that 18-wheeler was trapped in his cab for a number of hours before emergency response crews could extricate the man from the wreckage. At the time of the news report, there was no mention as to why the tire or wheel had come loose from the vehicle, initiating the crash, but if the cause is tracked to defective materials or improper service or maintenance procedures, it could be a situation where a products liability suit might be in order, depending of course on the circumstances surrounding the wreck.
Police: Lost Tire Caused Accident In Frederick Co., WUSA9.com, JULY 12, 2012