Roof Pillar Failure and Collapse Injuries and Deaths

roof pillar failure
Every year thousands of Americans are killed and others suffer catastrophic injuries as a result of weak vehicle roofs, roof pillars, roof headers and supports that collapse during rollovers. In many of these roof crush/roof collapse cases, the roof supports, collapse allowing the roof to intrude into the occupant safe space. Typically persons injured by roof crush have lower-cervical neck fractures (C4, C5 or C6).  In these types of injuries, one must first determine what part of the vehicle caused the injury. If the person remains in their original seated position, then one must determine the point of contact from the intruding roof onto the head. Many times upon careful inspection such evidence or “tail print” can be found. Roof crush injuries are caused by the energy of the vehicle in a roll creating compressive forces pushing down on the top of skull when the head is in an upright position. The compression causes a bursting fracture in the C5 to C7 of the cervical spine. This bursting fracture causes a loss of intravertebral space both anterior and posterior.

In other rollovers, the roof intruding is not the cause of injury, but it is when the occupant “drives” into the roof, resulting in the head flexing forward before receiving an impact to the top of the head. This causes the bone in cervical vertebrae to fracture, NOT BURST. The posterior corner of the vertebrae then impinges directly against the spinal cord resulting in loss of anterior vertebrae body height.

Roof Pillar Strength & Integrity

In most SUV rollover accidents involving large SUV’s and pickup trucks, severe roof crush is seen. The larger SUVs including the Ford Expedition, Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon, Ford Excursion and Lincoln Navigator and especially larger sized pick-up trucks such as the Ford F150, F250 and F350 Pickup cannot withstand a rollover without serious roof failure. According to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 216, a roof pillar on a passenger car must deform no more than five (5) inches when subjected to a force of 1 1/2 times the vehicle’s weight, or 5,000 lbs. whichever is less. Pickup trucks (light trucks) are not even required to meet the minimal requirement of FMVSS 216. For example, the roof pillars of a 6,000 lb. pickup truck would need to withstand only 5/6 of the vehicles own weight in order to pass FMV’s 216, even though the trucks roof often crushes under its own weight. This “standard” only applies to the front roof supports/pillars not the center or rears ones.

To the untrained observer, the roof pillars of an average large SUV or truck appear solid and sturdy, especially strong enough to withstand a roof crush in a rollover. The surprises come through when one looks at a cross-section of the pillar. Most are nothing more than folded/molded corrugated sheet metal, being hollow inside. Therefore, when impact occurs, the metal folds over into the empty inner space allowing more folding or crushing to continue. Studies show that if the inner part of the pillars are either filled with a high density foam or honey combed structure, then roof crush is at a minimal, thus saving lives.

SUV Rollover & Roof Crush Defects Lawsuit Evaluation

If you or a member of your family has been involved in a SUV rollover accident, van rollover, truck rollover with a severe roof crush, roof pillar collapse failure or any other serious accident or failure and you have questions about whether the vehicle or roof design may caused or contributed to the accident or injuries, then call us now. Mr. Willis is a Board Certified Personal Injury Attorney with over 20 years of product liability and Rollover litigation experience. Call the Willis Law Firm at 1-800-883-9858 for a Free & Confidential Consultation or Click Here

PLEASE NOTE: The statements and information provided on this web site are for the informational purposes only. This law firm is not affiliated in any way with any trademark owner. The use of any trademarks on this site is for product identification and information purposes only .This webpage is provided to you to assist in SUV Rollover accidents, passenger van rollovers, 15 passenger van rollover accidents, recalls, truck accidents & rollovers, tire tread defects, tire separations, roof crush and roof pillar collapse, seat belt failures, fuel fed fires and other related rollover accident issues, including rollover injuries and deaths. This site is not intended to provide legal advice to the reader and NO attorney-client relationship shall be deemed to arise from the receipt this page and/or its associated pages or any oral or e-mail communication to or from with the Willis Law Firm. There will be NO lawsuits filed, claims made, letters or phone calls made for a prospective client, until that person is represented by the firm. An attorney client relationship only arises after the attorney and client have signed a written attorney client contract.

Mr. Willis is licensed attorney in New York and Texas.  He is a Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Lawyer, certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Read more about Board Certification. Principle office is Houston, Texas.

Mr. Willis has represented clients in personal injury, auto accident, SUV  rollover, van & truck rollovers and other product liability and negligence cases from across the United States, including clients from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin & West Virginia.

Further, any statement or reference to past personal injury, products liability or SUV rollover lawsuits, settlements or verdicts should NOT be relied upon in one’s own case or in your decision on which law firm to hire. All clients’ cases, facts, injuries, damages, venues and lawsuits are different and there is NO way to predict the outcome of a particular case, verdict of a jury or judge or the strength of a case before a judge, jury or the appellate court system. The client is responsible for all of their own medical expenses. All cases are handled on a contingent fee basis. NO attorney’s fees or case costs charged to client, unless a recovery is made for the client. Often in very serious and catastrophic injury and death cases Mr. Willis may associate with another products liability attorney as co-counsel and in other matters, the case may be referred. In cases where a legal matter is referred, Mr. Willis will continue to maintain joint responsibility with the handling attorney or lead counsel and actively monitor the progress and development of the case.  Due to his years of experience in personal injury and products liability cases, Mr. Willis will often continue to assist in working with the hired experts and engineers and in research of the defective product or other related legal matters in the case.