Vehicle manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that crash worthy roofs are installed in the vehicles they manufacture. When the roofs fail, companies should be held accountable for any injuries or deaths caused by the defect. Pope McGlamry’s Rollover Accident Attorneys are well versed in roof crush accident litigation. We have litigated cases where individuals were brought justice due to a failing and/or defective roof. In these cases, the roof was unable to sustain the impact and caused catastrophic injury or wrongful death.
250,000 deaths are caused each year in the U.S. because of accidents involving a roof crush.
Had the roofs of these vehicles been correctly installed and certified as crash worthy, the passenger deaths due to rollover accidents would be significantly less.
A vehicle’s roof is built for vehicle stability and aerodynamics, as well as to protect the passengers from becoming seriously injured in the event of a rollover or related accident. In fact, a passenger or driver’s life depends on having adequate “survival space” around their body. This ensures there is enough room for rescue teams to be able to reach and remove an individual from the crushed vehicle.
Each year, there are thousands of rollover accidents that result in serious injury or death. Many involve SUV rollovers, passenger vans and trucks. SUVs are 75% more likely to be involved in rollover accident than standard vehicles, according to the NHTSA. Sadly, many of these incidents could have been prevented had manufacturers paid greater attention to proper design protocols and safety standards.
According to Consumer Reports: “Sideways forces that develop when a vehicle rounds a curve shifts the center of gravity to one side, which can have a dramatic effect on the vehicle’s balance. The lateral forces increase with speed and also with rapid changes of direction—for example, when a driver makes too sharp a turn one way and then overcorrects the other way. Those transitions can set up a pendulum effect, with larger and larger swings and an eventual loss of control.” [Source: “Car Rollover 101,” ConsumerReports.org, April 2014]
Defects Related to Rollover Accidents
It is the manufacturer’s responsibility to design a product that helps save lives. Unfortunately, inadequate or faulty design can in fact be the reason why serious injuries occur in rollover accidents. Many people attribute rollover accidents to driver error, but this isn’t always the case.
There can also be fault on the manufacturer’s side, including:
Survival Space Failure (Roof Crush)
Serious injuries or even death can occur from structural design failures in side rails, headers or support pillars. If crushed downward or inward during a rollover incident, it is likely that the roof pillars’ design is flawed. Roof pillars include holes intended to lighten the weight of the vehicle. If the pillars are defective, the strength of a closed-pillar design is sacrificed. This puts the passengers and drivers at increased risk should a rollover occur.
Stability or Handling Defects
Some vehicles have a known history of rollover issues due to stability design or production defects. Stability issues can result from design flaws in the following systems
- Suspension systems (This occurs especially in SUVs or vehicles with a higher center of gravity.)
- Electronic Stability Control Systems
- Lift Kit Flaws
Outdated Safety Standards
Many manufacturers know that certain roof designs are more dangerous than others. Unfortunately, they continue to rely on outdated federal safety standards as a way of keeping design and production costs down. For example, Ford Motor Company misled U.S. regulators about roof safety on its Explorer model back in 2005. This resulted in Ford settling millions of dollars in class-action lawsuits spanning four states in November 2007.
Tire defects may include blowouts, failures or manufacturing defects such as sub-standard design or manufacturing processes, or tire aging or wear.
Related Auto Defects
Often in cases where roof crush occurred during a rollover incident, we need to take a closer look to determine whether other manufacturer auto defects may have contributed to the accident. A good review of potential defect claims is critical. Such a list may contain (but is certainly not limited to) defects or issues with:
- Child safety seats
- Fuel systems
- Windshield glass
- Tire failures or tread separation
- Inadequate warning statements
- General vehicle stability claims
Rollover Accident Attorneys
At Pope McGlamry, we want you and your family to stay as safe as possible at all times when you’re on the road. In the event you are involved in a rollover accident, or are involved in a wreck with a crushed roof, contact us. Because the flaws that can lead to rollovers are often internal rather than external, a normal inspection may not uncover them.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a roof crush accident, please contact us as soon as possible. You may complete a free online case evaluation or call us directly to discuss the specifics of your case.