There are undoubtedly many different types of car accidents. There are collisions between multiple drivers, and then there are those collisions caused by motorists who are under the influence, or distracted. All of these accidents, no matter, the driving force, invoke feelings of sympathy for the victims involved. But of particular tragedy are the accidents that may not be the direct result of any type of human error at all.
Often in these so-called “freak accidents,” injury seems to have been almost inevitable. Even more disconcerting for personal injury attorneys is the fact that, in these cases, it is often extremely difficult to immediately pinpoint or assign “fault” to any one particular source. Take, for instance, an article entitled, “Woman Killed by Flying Tire Had Nowhere to go.” The blaring headline displayed on the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s (AJC) Web site regarding one of Atlanta’s most recent morning rush hour traffic accidents serves only to accentuate the aforementioned point.
Last Friday morning, a 47-year-old woman was driving her daughter to school when a truck tire flew over the median that separates I-85 and in the direction of cars driving southbound on the highway near the Clairmont Road exit. The tire struck the van’s roof and windshield, killing Aila Masud on impact. According to a police interview conducted by reporters at the AJC, another driver traveling in the opposite direction, and across the median, was trying to avoid his own collision, when a front tire came off of his truck and careened at least 50 feet into the air, eventually striking Masud’s motor vehicle.
Further investigation revealed how fortuitous it was that more motorists weren’t injured during the accident: The victim was traveling in the middle lane when her van was hit, which meant she literally had no way to avoid being struck without causing a chain accident. Yet, somehow, despite the odds, her vehicle managed to drift and come to a stop at the median without colliding with any other cars. Somehow, hers was the only fatality. Police told the AJC they suspect that in her final moments her foot came to rest upon the brake.
Atlanta has seen other, similar accidents recently. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) numbers the amount of fatal car wrecks caused by tire failure at nine. In 2012 an 8-year-old boy perished when parts from a tractor-trailer crashed through the windshield of his family’s car. There have been other fatal accidents caused by flying debris across the state as well – each garnering a modicum of local media attention.
But what about possible legal action and damages available to those directly impacted by these incidents? When it comes to accidents like last Friday’s, the victim’s families often seek to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Determining negligence and liability tend to take precedence. In the course of such a suit, questions necessarily arise. ‘Did the other driver fail to properly maintain the truck?’ for instance. Was he aware that the tire had problems, yet failed to replace it? Is the tire or auto manufacturer somehow at fault? Was there a middle man mechanic involved who failed to properly secure the tire to the vehicle after servicing it? These are all questions that a skilled Atlanta car accident attorney would probably be best equipped to investigate.
It can be so hard to fathom how accidents like this occur. Within the blink of an eye, something as innocuous as a truck tire can acquire the force of a canon-ball and claim a life. It makes it difficult to reconcile possibility with the realm of reality. Moreover, it’s extremely tragic. Especially in a case like this, where the victim saw it coming — but had absolutely nowhere to go.