Recreational vehicles (RVs) are becoming popular again perhaps because of baby boomers retiring. It is a good idea before hitting the highways this spring to give your RV a thorough maintenance inspection and make any necessary repairs. One of the cautions almost every RV manufacturer, insurance company and consumer groups recommend is to make sure your awning is stowed and locked.
If that awning comes loose from your RV, it can become a dangerous projectile to others on or near the highway. In 2004, Terry Bassett was driving home in Alabama when an awning broke loose from a horse trailer , struck his approaching vehicle and killed him. In 2010, Burns, Cunningham and Mackey’s client, Ginger McSween was returning from a writers’ conference in Pensacola when an awning billowed and separated from an RV. The fabric roller tube assembly flew into her lane of traffic and went through her windshield. It struck her in the face, severely fractured her jaw, knocked out most of her teeth and fractured her vertebra. She has survived and has undergone multiple complex surgical and medical treatments. She is still undergoing treatment.
Awnings should be designed to withstand wind gusts expected to occur on the highway. Before any trip, a walk around to check the vehicle checking the component parts is always necessary. A detailed re-inspection should be done periodically and before any extensive trip. Some of the safety features to prevent separation are not seen by the naked eye. Because not all potential problems are obvious, an inspection of the component parts by a qualified mechanic should be periodically performed.
Have fun on your trips and do whatever you can to prevent having another person seriously injured or killed by an awning flying off on the highway.
Civil litigation attorney Billy Cunningham practice concentrates on personal injury, wrongful death, nursing home abuse, business litigation, environmental law and insurance matters. He is licensed to practice in the state and federal courts of Alabama and Mississippi, as well as in the U.S. Court of Military Appeals, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States.