John Lee Wilcox died in a Deerfield Beach, Florida car accident early Thursday morning. According to news reports, John Wilcox died after his car crashed into an Oldsmobile driven by another person. According to news reports, the crash was caused when a semitrailer driving in the opposite direction, on the other side of the highway, lost one of its dual rear tires.
Horrifically, the free tire bounced and rolled across the highway at high speed until it crossed into southbound traffic. This free tire collided with at least one vehicle and caused a chain reaction crash between two other vehicles, including John Lee Wilcox.
From my perspective as an injury lawyer, I can tell you this case is a textbook example of a freak accident – for the victims.
For the semitrailer, on the other hand, I bet the cause of the accident was not so freakish. Meaning, I am sure a thorough investigation conducted by police and injury lawyers will reveal something wrong with the tire in question.
Given my experience in analyzing causation as a trial attorney, I can tell you that this tire broke loose due to one, or a combination of the following:
– Negligent Installation – Negligent Maintenance – Negligent Manufacturing – Defective Components
As I have mentioned countless times on this blog, an injury lawyer must develop three main components to build a winning case for his/her client.
First, the injury attorney must be able to prove that the offending party acted with negligence. Second, there must be a quantifiable injury. Clearly, death and serious bodily injury account for the most quantifiable injuries. Third, even if an injury attorney can prove that someone’s negligence caused substantial injury to another, the defendant party must also be collectible.
Fortunately, semitrailers operated by professional trucking companies carry insurance.
Given the death and other serious injuries caused and the likelihood that the trucking company has substantial auto insurance, I expect this case to hinge on developing the liability/negligence aspect of the case.
This is where a talented injury lawyer will provide his/her best service to John Lee Wilcox’s family.
To build the strongest case possible, injury attorneys will need to keep an open mind about the different sources of liability. Here are some of my thoughts, just off the cuff:
1) Who installed the tire? Was it bolted in correctly? Was it properly inflated and balanced?
2) Did any particular part or combination of parts cause the tire to separate? If so, were they installed correctly?
3) Are there any manufacturing defects? Were any of the parts involved have an inherent design flaw or were they manufactured in such a way as to fail?
4) Were any of the involved parts negligently maintained? Were any service intervals skipped?
5) Has this happened before to this truck? What about to other trucks in the company’s fleet? If so, how many times to this truck? How many times in the fleet?
6) How did the tire manage to cross over the median separating the highway? Is the Government negligent for failing to properly maintain the divider between the two sides of highway? This would be especially worrisome if the tire cross the highway at a part where the divider was damaged and left without repair.
7) Is the highway divider high enough? Is it made of the right materials?
8) Did the other drivers on the roadway do anything negligent that contributed to the outcome of the crash?
9) Was John Lee Wilcox the victim of any medical malpractice that contributed to his demise?
At the end of the day, this is a horrific crash that I suspect was probably preventable.
Tires just don’t fly off of vehicles for now reason!
While no amount of money will ever compensate the family for the loss of their loved one or John Wilcox for the loss of his life, those who are responsible for causing this car accident myst be held accountable.
As an injury lawyer, my job is to seek compensation for victims of serious accidents.
Most importantly, my heart and my condolences go out to the family for their loss.