A man recently died in Spokane after a utility vehicle fell on him. The accidental death was caused by asphyxiation as the result of chest injuries the man received when he was crushed from above. At the time the accident occurred, the man was under the truck and preparing to have the vehicle towed by a professional towing company. Even though firefighters attempted to perform life-saving procedures on the man after lifting the vehicle off of him, the man later died at the scene of the accident.
When accidents involving falling vehicles occur, jacks are often involved. While it might sound surprising, a recent study conducted by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis found that approximately 40% of all car jack accidents occur while a jack is being used to lift the body of the vehicle off the ground. Only 19% of car jack accidents occur while the vehicle is only partially lifted.
How to Use a Jack to Safely Raise and Lower a Vehicle
There are several safety strategies that you should remember to use when operating a jack to raise a vehicle. These steps include the following:
- Before doing anything else, make sure that the vehicle is located on a flat and level surface. If you are replacing a tire, you should break loose the lug nuts before jacking, as well.
- Make sure to lift the vehicle from the factory-recommended jack points.
- Once the vehicle has been fully lifted into the air, place a stand under the frame rail.
- Shake the car once it is lowered onto the stand to make sure that it is stable.
- Remove the tire and wheel and place this under the vehicle and somewhere close to where you will be working. This can avoid injuries if the vehicle slides off the jack.
- If you are using a floor jack rather than a scissor jack, lift the vehicle from the middle of the chassis on the front subframe or transmission case or from the rear differential housing.
- Never jack from the oil pan, exhaust system or gas tank because these are not safe areas from which to lift a vehicle.
- If you feel uncomfortable at any point when jacking a vehicle, it is always a better idea to stop and find someone who can help. Proceeding if you do not know what you are doing can be dangerous.
The Danger of Defective Jacks
A substantial number of falling vehicle accidents are caused by jacks that lose their pressure. When a jack loses pressure, it also loses the ability to support a vehicle. The injuries that result from these accidents often include amputations, crushing, and disfigurement. While it can be difficult to determine in advance whether a jack is defective, it is often possible after the accident to pursue legal action against the responsible party.
Speak with an Experienced Accident Lawyer
When vehicles fall on people, they often cause serious injuries. If you or a loved one was injured by a falling vehicle, do not hesitate to contact West Law Office today.