THE DEADLY FACE OF ROLLOVER ACCIDENTS
Many types of motor vehicle accidents can result in serious injury, and even death. Few other accidents are more deadly, however than those involving a vehicle that rolls over. The risk factors and statistics for rollovers should alarm anyone who takes to the road. If you become a victim, it is essential that you work with an attorney who can help you through the complexities of negotiating a settlement or, if necessary, litigating the case.
CENTER OF GRAVITY AND ROLLOVER POTENTIAL
Any motor vehicle is prone to rollover under certain circumstances. An average passenger car with a low center of gravity, for instance, can flip over if it is being driven at a high enough speed and the driver turns the wheels quickly. However, research shows that the danger of a rollover accident increases in proportion to the center of gravity of the vehicle. By this logic, SUVs should rank highest in rollover potential, and indeed the statistics bear this out. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that among deadly accidents, 37% occur when an SUV rolls over, while only 15% are attributable to passenger vehicles.
It should not be surprising that the dramatic increase in popularity of SUVs over the past 20 years has resulted in a much higher incidence of rollover accidents. SUVs have become iconic to the American family, but their design and potential for injury should give one pause.
Among the most significant risk factors for SUV, rollover is:
- Center of Gravity. As suggested previously, a vehicle with a low center of gravity has a weight distribution which holds it close to the ground, even when an accident occurs. Vehicles with higher centers of gravity, such as the SUV, are inherently more unstable, for the weight distribution is higher, causing a greater likelihood of tipping.
- Speed. When speed is added as a factor to a vehicle that is more prone to tipping, the potential for rollover increases
- Number of Occupants. One might think that an SUV loaded with occupants should pose less risk for a rollover accident, but this is not the case. The weight of the occupants combined with a high center of gravity leads to a dramatic increase in rollover potential. The NHTSA reports that SUVs with 10 or more occupants are, indeed, five times more likely to roll over.
- Structural Design. Many SUVs have relatively weak roofs that collapse when the vehicle rolls over. The wheelbase is also often narrower, which contributes to the higher center of gravity.
- Road Conditions. Objects and potholes in the road make SUVs more unstable. Should a driver swerve to avoid, a hazard, control of the vehicle diminishes and rollover potential increases.
- Weather Conditions. Icy or slippery roads, strong gusts of wind, and other weather conditions contribute to the likelihood that the vehicle will tip and roll over.
- Defective Manufacture. This differs from design flaws in that the one relates to the inherent potential for rollover due to engineering of the vehicle, and the other to a problem that occurs in the actual manufacture of the vehicle. An example of defective manufacture is tires that are poorly made, leading to tread separation.
THE GRIM STATISTICS
The NHTSA reports that each year more than 275,000 motor vehicles roll over in accidents. Between 1994 and 2004, during which time the SUV displaced other motor vehicles as the preference for most families, the incidence of death from rollover accidents increased by 17.5%. Over 10,000 people are killed each year in rollovers, most of which are in accidents involving an SUV. It should be noted that while passengers of SUVs are at hazard of injury or death, occupants of other vehicles where an SUV is also involved have an increased vulnerability.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
You can take precautions to minimize the risk of suffering injury in an SUV accident. If you are in a passenger vehicle on the road, make sure that you provide SUV drivers room in case they lose control. In other words, drive defensively. If you decide to purchase an SUV, investigate which models pose the least hazard. Certain models statistically standout as more prone to rollover, such as the Ford Explorer.
If you are in an accident and suffer injury, seek the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney. Rollover accidents are often quite complex and difficult to litigate. An attorney may, for instance, need to bring in expert witnesses who can attest to design or manufacturing flaws.
We do the following. Hopefully, your attorney will do the following to prepare your case:
- Preserve the evidence by having your vehicle stored.
- Interview witnesses as soon as possible after the accident.
- Speak with officials who were at the accident scene, such as police officers and paramedics.
- Thoroughly investigate the accident, including a review of all reports by the police and others.
- Visit the scene of the accident accompanied by investigators.
You should keep in mind that even if your actions contributed to the accident, you might still be able to gain compensation for your losses. However, few non-attorneys have a strong enough grasp of legal matters to fight the case without legal assistance successfully.
The Law Offices of Nadrich and Cohen is a nationally recognized group of car accident lawyers who have achieved settlements, with co-counsel, of many automobile and SUV Rollover accidents cases for millions of dollars. We are handling numerous cases involving death and/or serious injury caused by full or partial injection. We are car accident lawyers who charge a fee only if we obtain a recovery. If we take your case, we will work extremely hard to obtain the best results. All submissions will be responded to by a qualified member of our Law firm within 24 hours.
SEAT BELTED OCCUPANT ROLLOVER DEATH AND SERIOUS INJURY
Thousands of people who are properly seat belted are nonetheless killed and/or catastrophically injured because of head and neck injuries due to rollover automobile accidents.
These deaths and severe head and neck injuries are entirely preventable.
Almost 2,000 belted individuals yearly are killed in rollovers when the glass on the side door shatters out, and their belt system fails to prevent their head from traveling through the opening. This phenomenon, known as partial injection, occurs when a belted occupant hits his or her head on the ground, or the head is crushed between the vehicle and the ground as the vehicle rolls over. Partial injection is entirely preventable, through the use of one or more of these four preventable designs;
a.) Laminated side glass
b.) Seat Belt Integrated Restraints
c.) Rollover Activated Prevention Restraints
d.) Roof Mounted Side Air Curtains.
The Law Offices of Nadrich and Cohen is a nationally recognized personal injury law firm which has achieved settlements with co-counsel of these cases for many millions of dollars. We are handling numerous cases involving death and/or serious injury caused by full or partial injection. We are contingency lawyers who charge a fee only if we obtain a recovery. If we take your case, we will work extremely hard to obtain the best results. All submissions will be responded to by a qualified member of our Law firm within 24 hours.