Rollover Accidents: When Defective Designs Cause Injuries
Rollover accidents are among the most tragic types of vehicle accidents, killing 10,000 and injuring nearly 30,000 people each year. Although not as common as other accidents, rollovers result in a disproportionate number of serious injuries and deaths each year. Rollover accidents occur most often in SUVs, minivans and light trucks. The inherent problem with these types of vehicles is that they have a high center of gravity and narrow track width, which can make the automobile unstable on the road increasing the likelihood of a rollover accident. Given the design, a rollover accident can occur even when a driver is responding to a normal everyday occurrence such changing lanes quickly or swerving.
The incorporation of reasonable design alternatives can increase stability and reduce the likelihood of a rollover accident preventing thousands of serious injuries and deaths each year.
With an automobile or SUV rollover comes the increased risk of ejectment, roof crush, serious injury, and even death.
Common causes of rollover accidents include:
- Responding to an emergency situation
- Sharp turns
- Striking a curb
- Hitting a ditch
- A car collision
In the event of a rollover, most SUVs and automobiles are not equipped with rollover bars, roof crush protection, or even an adequate safety system to reduce the likelihood of injury. Although the IIHS now reports roof crush test results for newer cars, SUVs, and trucks, there may be insufficient protection in the event of an accident. Manufacturers should be responsible for manufacturing vehicles, including SUVs, equipped to deal with everyday road hazards. If you have been injured in a rollover accident, call us today for a consultation specific to the facts of your case. A Columbia, South Carolina rollover accident attorney can help you secure the money you deserve.
Rollover Roof Injuries
A 2008 report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that strong roofs reduce the risk of serious injury in a car rollover. To receive a “good” roof strength rating from the Institute, a vehicle must be able to withstand a force equal to 4 times its weight prior to 5 inches of crush. Rollover roof strength is important for preventing serious injuries in accidents. Roof crush injury can result in serious spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries and could lead to injuries more severe than a regular car accident.
How the Strom Law Firm Can Help
Rollover accidents are complex. At the Strom Law Firm, we understand that when a rollover accident occurs, there are multiple potential legal claims and theories that need to be explored. Rollover cases are fact-specific, and it is first necessary to understand the exact cause of rollover itself. This includes an evaluation of numerous potential contributing factors: whether or not the inherent instability of the vehicle due to its design played a role; whether a tire failure or tread separation occurred; whether safety systems like Electronic Stability Control (ESC) were incorporated into the vehicle; or, whether any environmental factors or roadway issues played a role.
It is critical to understand how the occupant was injured, and what potential vehicle defects may have contributed to the injuries or death. If we are retained early enough, we can work with qualified experts to determine if reasonable design alternative existed when the vehicle was made that, if used, could have prevented the injuries or fatality. In looking at alternative designs, often the design and performance of the vehicle’s roof structures, restraint systems, airbag systems, door frames and latches and vehicle padding are considered and examined.
Because of the complex nature of a rollover case, and the wide variety of defect issues that must be examined, it is important that proper steps are taken to preserve evidence that may be helpful to determine whether, and how, the vehicle’s design contributed to the accident itself or resulting injuries. This includes preserving the vehicle, documenting what occurred at the scene, collecting any and all available evidence, and interviewing witnesses and law enforcement as soon as possible. This evidence may later be utilized by an expert to help refute the all too common defense claim that the sole cause of the accident was driver error.
Reducing the likelihood of injuries in a rollover accident
It’s no secret that rollover injuries account for 33% of all passenger fatalities each year. You can reduce the risk of serious injury and death by 75% by simply wearing your seatbelt. To further reduce the risk of injury, be sure to observe the posted speed limit.
Call us today to learn more about how we can help.
If you have been injured in a rollover accident, we are here to help. For immediate assistance, call us today. 803.252.4800.