Car & SUV Roof Collapse
Auto Product Liability Lawyers
When the roof of an SUV or passenger car collapses in a collision, this can cause catastrophic injures to the occupants. A roof may collapse because it is poorly designed or has a manufacturing defect. In either scenario, the driver and passengers may experience life-threatening head and spinal cord injuries that would have otherwise been avoided.
Working with a product liability lawyer is highly recommended if you were injured or lost a loved one in a rollover accident where the roof of the vehicle caved in. With considerable knowledge regarding roof crush injuries, the team at Arnold & Itkin LLP can offer you valuable insight to help you get started in the right direction.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are at a higher risk of rollover accidents and accompanying roof collapses than any other class of vehicle. In fact, many of the 10,000 SUV and van rollover deaths in the United States every year are attributed to roof collapses.
The rollover rate for an SUV is near 90%; the highest rollover rate for any class of vehicle. In most accidents the roof collapses putting passengers at risk of serious injuries including head, brain, and spinal cord injuries. An SUV roof collapse occurs when components of the roof, including pillars, side rails, and front roof headers, are crushed and cave in. In a situation like this the roof of the SUV is pushed into the interior of the vehicle exposing occupants to extreme impact and serious injury.
According to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, auto manufacturers must follow a specific set of standards in regards to the strength and structure of the roof of each vehicle. Currently, these rules only apply to vehicles that weigh less than 6,000 pounds. Therefore, many SUVs, being heavier than 6,000 pounds, are not bound by this standard, and therefore, are prone to roof collapse during a rollover.
Injuries Caused by SUV Roof Collapse
The force occupants of an SUV or car are subjected to during a roof collapse can cause debilitating injuries. These include neck injuries that can lead to: spinal cord injuries, head injuries, brain injuries, paralysis, quadriplegia and even death. Most injuries during a roof collapse are concentrated in the lower cervical spine and are caused by burst vertebrae. In other cases, a person may suffer fractured vertebrae caused when the occupant is flung against the roof upon impact.
Some degree of roof collapse can be expected in a rollover accident, however, the degree of roof collapses that occur in more than 90% of SUV rollovers are preventable. The severity of these collapses can be attributed to weak, unstable roof pillars, headers, side rails, and other supports. Some SUV models, like the Ford Expedition, have a weak roof structure in comparison to the rest of the vehicle, therefore, in the event of a rollover, the weight of the SUV's body is enough to crush and invert the roof.
Car Roof Collapse
Roof collapses are less frequent in passenger cars than they are in SUVs, however, in recent years some models have shown a greater risk of roof collapse during rollover accidents. Injury and death can occur when the seat belt, windshield, and door of the car fail as a result of roof collapse.
The rate of fatalities is higher in rollover accidents compared to side or frontal impact accidents. Most rollover deaths occur as a result of roof collapses.
Free Consultation with a Defective Product Attorney
If you are interested in learning more about roof collapses and how these may occur in poorly designed or manufactured vehicles, feel free to call our firm for a free consultation. A skilled professional can review the matter on your behalf to determine whether you have grounds for a product liability lawsuit. Because we also work on a contingent fee basis (you pay no legal fees unless we win your case) there is no risk.
Contact a defective product attorney about roof crush injuries caused by rollover accidents.