Recovering Claims in a Vehicle Rollover Accident

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Vehicle rollover crashes are considered as one of the most violent and fatal road accidents in US highways, according to the Department of Transportation. Based on the agency’s statistics, rollover accidents involve nearly 280, 000 cases, resulting in 10, 000 deaths every year. To reduce rollover fatalities and improve vehicle safety, the agency has asked car manufacturers to upgrade roof strength in cars, especially sports utility vehicles (SUVs). The proposal, made in January, required them to design roofs that can withstand a force at least 2.5 times the weight of the vehicle and applies to vehicles weighing up to 10, 000 pounds.

Roll Over Accident Manufacturer Requirements

The amended roof crush proposal included the mandated use of Electronic Stability Control as well as stronger door locks. However, the agency stressed that using seat belt remains the most effective way to prevent injuries and fatalities in all types of crashes including rollovers.

Causes of Rollover Crashes

Though vehicle accidents are caused by several factors such as road conditions and driver negligence, a vehicle rollover crash can be caused primarily by faulty car design or manufacturing defect. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has pointed out that a rollover crash is directly linked to a vehicle’s stability, which is determined by its center of gravity and track width (the distance between the left and right wheels). Hence a vehicle or car with a high center of gravity and narrow track width, such as an SUV, has a greater chance to tip over and skid sideways during a fast turn or a sudden change of direction – ultimately resulting in a rollover crash.

Injuries Resulting from a Rollover Accident

The injuries that victims may suffer in a rollover crash are further aggravated in cases where occupants fail to use the seat belt or when door locks are defective. Generally, the fatalities in rollover crashes are vehicle occupants – either driver or passenger –who did not use their seat belts and were thrown out of the vehicle during the crash or impact.

Rollover Accident Claims and Manufacturer Liability

To pursue claims for injury from a vehicle accident caused by vehicle defects such as a rollover crash, one does not need to show that a manufacturer or seller is careless. Liability in motor vehicle defect cases is governed by strict liability. However, to make a strict liability claim against a manufacturer or dealer, the following elements must exist:

  • A vehicle or its components must have an “unreasonably dangerous” defect that caused the injury. The defect must be the result of design of the vehicle, or came out during manufacture, or during handling and shipment, or a failure to warn consumers of the dangerous aspect of the vehicle
  • The defect caused an injury while the vehicle was being used as intended
  • No changes were substantially made or changed from the condition it was originally sold

Recoverable Damages in Accident Claims

Victims of vehicle accidents such as rollover crashes are entitled to recover claims for their injuries. These include compensation for loss wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. In cases where the victims die, a wrongful death claim may also be brought against the liable parties in the accident. In some cases, punitive damages are also awarded that may result in the recall of a vehicle or its defective component.