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Each year, approximately 10,000 deaths result from rollover collisions. During a rollover, the strength of the vehicle’s roof is essential to the survival of both the driver and passengers. If a roof collapses during a car crash, the occupants are susceptible to fatal injuries caused by roof crush.

What are the most common causes of rollover crashes?

Tripping– The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that an estimated 95 percent of all rollover crashes occur due to tripping. This action of tripping takes place when one of the vehicle’s tires strikes something such as a large rock, soft shoulder, or a curb and interrupts the motion of the vehicle, causing it to pitch forward or sideways into a roll. Tripping may also occur when the vehicle leaves the roadway sliding sideways and digging its tires into soft soil.

Multi-vehicle collisions– Crashes that involve a vehicle striking another vehicle from the side are also common causes or rollover crashes. This is often the result of the negligence of another driver including speeding, violating traffic laws, and impaired driving.

Defective tires– Tires play a major role in your safety as a driver. Faulty tires may cause the driver to lose control of their vehicle and result in a dangerous rollover. A tire blowout has the potential of becoming its own tripping mechanism that leads to a rollover crash.

Why does roof failure occur?

A roof crush during a collision occurs because of a structural integrity problem with the automobile. Automobile manufacturers have a legal duty to design and manufacture vehicles in a way that provides for the safety of vehicle occupants. Manufacturers must design and build vehicles in ways that prevent foreseeable crash injuries.

Unfortunately, roof crush injuries and fatalities are still occurring due to the following:

  • Defective design
  • Cheap manufacturing
  • Improper installations

How do rollovers cause roof crush injuries?

Rollovers greatly increase the chance of a roof crush. An unfortunate reality is that roof crush is a major cause of rollover deaths and injuries. If the vehicle’s roof is weak, the supporting pillars can deform and collapse when the vehicle’s roof strikes the ground in a rollover. If the roof of a car or SUV does not have the strength to withstand the combined force and weight of the vehicle, the roof may collapse into the passenger compartment. If this occurs, the survival space for occupants is greatly limited and in some situations eliminated. The occupants head and spine may make contact with the roof posing life-threatening injuries.

Roof crush and vehicle ejection

A vehicle’s roof strength is also critical to reducing ejection risk during a rollover. When the pillars collapse due to a weak roof, the pillars can wrap around and shatter the windshield and side windows. In addition, there are situations when the vehicle’s doors spring open as a result of force. If this occurs during a rollover, the chances of occupant ejection increase significantly—.a frequently fatal occurrence.

A vehicle with a strong roof reduces the harm of a rollover. In fact, in these vehicles, passengers may receive only minor injuries as opposed to life-threatening injuries.

Injuries associated with roof crush

If rollover death resulting from roof crush are eliminated, 667 lives could be saved annually. Spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and wrongful death are among the most common roof crush injuries. Other injuries associated with roof crush collisions include:

  • Broken bones
  • Bruised organs
  • Deep lacerations
  • Loss of limbs
  • Blood loss
  • Nerve damage
  • Brain damage
  • Paralysis
  • Wrongful death

Roof crush resistance standard gets an upgrade

In an effort to reduce the risk of death and serious injury that is a result of rollover collisions, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration updated the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 216.

The final rule upgrades the agency’s safety standard on roof crush resistance. The rule doubles the amount of force the vehicle’s roof structure must withstand in the specified test in vehicles weighing less than 6,000 pounds. Standards have changed from 1.5 times the vehicle’s unloaded weight to 3.0 times the vehicle’s unloaded weight. For heavier vehicles that weigh between 6,000 pounds and 10,000 pounds, the force requirement is 1.5 times the vehicle’s unloaded weight.

Under the most recent rule, all vehicles mentioned above must meet the force requirements in a two-sided test instead of a single-sided test. In addition to the existing limit on the amount of roof crush, there is also a new requirement for maintenance of headroom and survival space during testing.

Do I need a Roof Crush Lawyer?

Anyone who has suffered injuries due to roof crush in a collision may be eligible to file a product liability claim to recover for damages including:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Past and future medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Wrongful death
  • And more

One of the most important aspects in a roof crush case is identifying the responsible parties. In order to investigate the cause of your roof crush collision, you will need a skilled team working for you. These cases often require the assistance and testimony of experts.  You will want to seek the guidance of a firm that has both qualified Roof Failure Attorneys and private investigators on their team. Having them in your corner will be essential in proving fault.

Pursuing compensation in these cases is important in securing medical care, follow-up care, and other resources. If you think the insurance company is going to hand over the money you will need to recover from the tragic crash, you are mistaken. Some victims make the mistake of trying to take on the insurance company on their own. They do not realize that insurance companies are trained to point the blame or at least shift part of the blame on the victim. An experienced attorney is familiar with the insurance companies tactics and knows how to overcome the obstacles they present in an attempt to undervalue your claim along the way.

How The Carlson Law Firm can help

If you or a loved one was involved in a collision and sustained injuries due to roof crush, we want to help. We have a team of qualified attorneys, on-staff nurses, and investigators ready to heavily invest in your case. We will be by your side every step of the way and ensure you are receiving the medical treatment required for your recovery. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. We care, we can help.

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