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SUV Rollover Legal Issues

Anytime an automobile is involved in an accident, there is the possibility that it will roll over. Rollover accidents are more common in sport utility vehicles (SUVs). This is because SUVs have a higher center of gravity. SUVs are usually taller than normal cars (sedans and the like), but are not wider. This makes it easier for an SUV to rollover.  In fact, maneuvers that are not problematic for cars, especially sudden ones, can cause an SUV to rollover. 

The Increased Dangers with Rollovers

Rollover accidents are more likely to result in fatalities than other accidents, especially if the passengers are not wearing seatbelts. In a rollover, you can be thrown from the SUV which can result in severe injuries and death. More fatalities occur when a passenger is thrown from a car. 

SUVs That Are Particularly Susceptible to Rollovers

Some makes and models of SUVs are more likely to rollover in accidents than others. Two SUVs that are prone to rollovers are:

  • Suzuki Samurai : This is an older SUV that was found to rollover more often than many other SUVs. In fact, Consumer Reports ruled this SUV unsafe because of its high rollover rate.
  • Ford Explorer with Firestone tires : Firestone recalled millions of tires after discovering they had a manufacturing defect that caused tread separation (discussed below). While other SUVs also came equipped with these tires, Ford Explorers were found to be involved in rollover accidents more often than other SUVs.

Other Common SUV Rollover Situations

Besides certain SUVs being more prone to rollovers, there are some situations which 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 rollover when the driver attempts to perform this maneuver, even when driving at the speed limit. These rollover accidents have even resulted in fatalities.
  • Low speed SUV rollovers: A low speed side impact accident does not usually result in a rollover for a car.  But, SUVs can easily rollover 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 are especially dangerous in SUVs because of their high center of gravity. 

Roof Crushes

Another danger of SUV rollover accidents is that the roof of the vehicle will crush upon impact with the road.  This will happen 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. 

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Automobile manufacturers don't want to pay compensation in wrongful death, personal injury, or automotive products liability cases. Because of this, manufacturers aggressively defend against rollover cases. Because of this, it is important to have an experienced lawyer who can advise you of whether you have a case against the manufacturer of the SUV. 

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 08-04-2014 12:18 PM PDT

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