A motorcycle rider suffered fatal traumatic brain injuries when a flying car tire struck him in the head as he traveled north on I-85 through Greenville, South Carolina (SC). The deadly flying debris incident occurred on the night of April 26, 2016.
According to news reports, the motorcyclist was wearing a helmet, which is not required by state law. The safety gear provided insufficient protection, however, from the speed and weight of the left front tire that came loose from a Mitsubishi that was on the opposite side of the interstate. The car's driver escaped injury when the vehicle became disabled.
Police could not immediately find an explanation for why the tire detached from the car. Possible explanations include poor maintenance and upkeep, incorrect installation and defective equipment. If the car's owner failed to maintain the vehicle, he or she could be liable for being negligent in replacing rusted and weakened parts such as lug nuts or bushings. On the other hand, a repair shop that put on the tire incorrectly might be liable, as might a parts manufacturer that allowed improperly designed hardware or components to reach the market.
My Carolina wrongful death attorney colleagues and I know from decades of experience that accidents rarely just happen. Some degree of negligence or lack of attention to detail can almost always be identified. Sadly, as this deadly loose tire incident in South Carolina shows, lapses as seemingly insignificant as failing to give a nut one more quarter turn or cutting out a final product quality check can kill.