Among the many types of automobile accidents that occur on today's roads, rollover accidents are often the most devastating and life-threatening. In fact, multiple studies have shown that rollovers are more likely to result in a fatality than regular crashes. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, 9,873 passengers were killed in passenger car, SUV, truck, and van rollover accidents in 2000 – constituting a full third of all fatalities from crashes of these vehicles. Additionally, it was found that SUVs, trucks, and vans were far more likely to roll over than normal passenger cars, with SUVs ranking the highest. The reasons for this are closely tied to the design of such vehicles and the failure on the part of manufacturers to address design flaws that contribute to a greater likelihood of rollover crashes.
Common Characteristics in Cars that Rollover
The characteristics of rollover crashes have been well documented in numerous investigations into the causes of rollovers done by law firms, public safety groups, and vehicle manufacturers. The consistent characteristics of rollovers include:
- Instability due to high center of gravity - SUVs, Trucks, and Vans (particularly 15 passenger vans) are highly susceptible to rollover accidents due to their high center of gravity. In a study done on the Ford Explorer, an SUV known for its high rollover rate, the vehicle easily tipped up on one side at speeds as low as 35 miles per hour. Rollovers are more likely in vehicles with high centers of gravity when they encounter a tire blowout or make emergency maneuvers to avoid crashes.
- Weak roof supports that allow a roof to crush – injuries sustained in rollover accidents are likely to be more severe due to the tendency for many vehicles prone to rollovers to have weak roof supports. Roof supports are intended to prevent roofs from caving in when involved in a rollover. Unfortunately, when roof supports give way, as they are prone to do in SUVs, vans, and trucks, severe head and neck injuries often occur.
- Lack of reliable door latches - another common characteristic of certain vehicles that contributes to devastating injuries in rollover accidents is the popping open of side doors. This happens as a result of roof crushes and weak door latches. If a vehicle is not able to keep doors from opening during a crash, occupants are more likely to be thrown from the vehicle.
If you or someone you love was injured in a rollover accident, the vehicle manufacturer may be to blame and you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering as well as medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. Contact the Willis Law Firm at 800-883-9858 to discuss your case with a qualified legal professional today.