An SUV rollover accident is where an SUV rolls onto its side or roof while on the road. Rollover accidents are more common in sport utility vehicles (SUVs) because of their top-heavy design.
Manufacturers of SUVs know that their vehicles are prone to roll over but sometimes do not design or manufacture them safely enough. SUV rollovers are common when SUVs have higher centers of gravity, poorly designed suspension systems, poor stability design, or faulty brakes.
What are the Dangers with SUV Rollovers?
Rollover accidents are more likely to result in fatalities than other accidents, especially if the passengers are not wearing seatbelts. In a rollover, passengers can be thrown from the SUV, resulting in severe injuries and death. More fatalities occur when a passenger is thrown from a car.
Another danger of SUV rollover accidents is that the vehicle’s roof will crush upon impact with the road. A vehicle’s roof may crush upon impact with the road if the roof or roll bar is not strong enough or is defective in some other way. Roof crushes can lead to severe or fatal injuries, especially to the head and neck.
What Common Causes for SUV Rollovers?
Besides certain SUVs being more prone to rollovers, some situations are more likely to cause rollovers. These include the following:
- Double lane change maneuvers: This is a maneuver where you switch lanes to avoid something in front of you and then switch back into your original lane after avoiding the obstacle. This is usually a sudden maneuver. SUVs have been found to roll over when the driver attempts to perform this maneuver, even while driving at the speed limit. These types of rollover accidents have resulted in fatalities.
- Low-speed SUV rollovers: A low-speed side-impact accident does not usually result in a rollover for a car. However, SUVs can easily roll over upon a low-speed side impact.
- Defective tire-tread separation: When tread separation occurs on a tire, there is often the feeling of a tire blowing out, and the driver will lose control of the car. Tread separation is especially dangerous in SUVs because of its high center of gravity.
What Types of Injuries are Common With SUV Rollover Accidents?
SUV rollover accidents often lead to serious injuries, which include:
- Broken Bones
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Head and Brain Injuries
What Claims Do I Have for SUV Rollover Injury?
Suppose you have suffered injuries because of a poorly designed SUV after a car accident. In that case, you can bring an automotive products liability claim against the manufacturer who designed the SUV or components of the SUV, claiming that it was manufactured and designed poorly.
When you bring a product’s liability action against a manufacturer, you do not need to prove that the manufacturer was negligent when designing the SUV, but rather that the SUV was designed in a defective way that caused the SUV to roll over easily.
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What Do I Need to Prove in an SUV Rollover Claim?
The plaintiff does not have to prove negligence for a poorly designed SUV that rolled over but rather a defective design. If a plaintiff wants to prove there was a defect in the design of the SUV, causing it to roll over, the plaintiff has the burden to show:
- The manufacturer designed the SUV as intended
- The design of the SUV or components is dangerous for its intended use
- There was an alternative design that would have made the SUV safer
- Making a safer design for the SUV would not cost too much
- With the safer modification, the SUV would have performed in the same manner it intended to perform.
- The plaintiff was injured or suffered loss because the poorly designed SUV rolled over
The plaintiff may also claim negligence theory against the manufacturer and other companies that designed, manufactured, or sold the SUV.
Under a negligence theory, the plaintiff must show that these companies failed to use due care when designing and manufacturing the SUV or providing warnings and instructions on how to ride the SUV safely. Many motor vehicle product liability lawsuits end up being filed as class action lawsuits if the same type of car injured many people.
What Damages Can I Recover in an SUV Rollover Accident?
If you were injured in an SUV rollover accident, you might recover damages.
Economic damages compensate the plaintiff for measurable, real losses. These losses, also called actual losses, often include:
- Lost Past and future wages
- Lost business opportunities because of the injuries suffered
- The cost associated with repairing or replacing property
- Past and future medical bills
Non-economic damages are damages that are unquantifiable, as they cannot be calculated by simply adding up medical bills or invoices. They include:
- Emotional distress
- Severe pain
- Physical suffering
- Physical impairment
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Loss of plaintiff’s enjoyment of life
Automobile manufacturers don’t want to pay compensation in wrongful death, personal injury, or automotive products liability cases. Automobile manufacturers aggressively defend against rollover cases. It is important to hire an experienced lawyer who can advise you of whether you have a case against the SUV manufacturer.
Who is Responsible for a Rollover Accident?
The person or group responsible for a rollover accident depends on what happened before the rollover. Most rollover accidents are caused by:
- Negligent drivers getting into an accident that causes an SUV to rollover
- SUV drivers causing an accident
- Poor road conditions
- Road debris
- Improper road signage or traffic signals
- Defective tires or other car parts
- SUV design defects
In a personal injury claim for damages, an injured plaintiff typically must show the defendant’s negligence caused the accident. When an accident is caused by negligence, the negligent party can be liable for injuries and damages.
The elements of negligence are:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care
- The defendant breached their duty of care
- The defendant’s breach of their duty of care was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s injuries
When an injury victim proves the defendant breached their duty of care that caused the accident, the defendant will be held liable for the injuries caused.
What if Another Driver Caused the Accident?
The driver who caused the crash is generally liable to those injured for their damages.
When an accident involves an SUV rollover, more serious injuries may be involved. Without a lawyer, injury victims only have the insurance company to work with. An insurance adjuster’s primary job is to delay or deny auto accident claims so the injured driver will accept whatever settlement offer they can get.
SUV rollover accidents generally have more at stake for the injured drivers and passengers, including higher medical bills, more lost wages, expensive car repairs, and pain and suffering.
Should I Consult a Lawyer?
Design defect lawsuits for poorly designed SUVs that have caused SUV rollovers can often be complicated and require expert opinion. You may wish to hire a qualified automobile lawyer in your area if you need assistance in filing a design defect lawsuit. Your attorney can provide you with the legal advice necessary to help you obtain the appropriate legal remedy, such as a damages award for your losses.