SUVs have become the Station Wagons of a new generation of Californians, but the media images of families loading the car and heading out on a family vacation to Lake Tahoe or Southern California beaches belies a darker and grimmer reality. SUVs were originally developed for off-road all terrain driving but have become increasingly popular as a means of family transportation with lots of room for passengers and cargo. Many manufacturers of SUVs failed to implement appropriate safety precautions as the use of SUVs changed creating a serious risk of the vehicles being involved in a California SUV rollover accident.
Tragically, this new generation of family vehicles has a high risk of causing catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, internal organ damage and fatalities because of their tendency to rollover in collisions on California roadway and their lack of roof reinforcement. Studies indicate that 37 percent of fatal accidents involving SUVs are rollover accidents, and rollover accidents constitute a whopping 53 percent of all single car fatal SUV accidents. Rollover accidents also account for over 35 percent of all passenger vehicle fatalities. If you are involved in a California SUV rollover accident, it is imperative that you work with a knowledgeable SUV rollover law firm that understands the design defects associated with these potentially dangerous vehicles.
Explaining the Dynamics of a California SUV Rollover Accident
The high frequency of California SUV rollover accidents is a product of certain faulty design and engineering features of SUVs. SUVs have a high center of gravity and a narrow wheel base. These design features make it very difficult for drivers to skid and spin but still recover control of an SUV. Drivers in passenger vehicles frequently swerve to avoid obstacles then steer back hard in the other direction. This routine evasive maneuver can lead to an SUV rolling over and seriously injuring occupants of the vehicle. While SUVs equipped with electronic stabilization control (ESC) systems can reduce this risk, many SUVs still on the road did not come equipped with this safety feature. ESC systems assist a driver in maintaining control of a vehicle when a driver overcorrects following a hard steering evasive maneuver. ESC systems come equipped with sensors that will compensate when the vehicle starts to spin out and help realign the SUV properly on the roadway by applying the brakes individually to one or more wheels.
SUV rollover accidents commonly referred to as “tripping accidents” occur when an SUV leaves the pavement of the roadway and hits soft dirt or a curb, which “trips” the SUV causing it to rollover. These SUV rollover accidents can be difficult to explain so experienced California SUV rollover lawyers often employ the nation’s top experts to evaluate these accidents and effectively explain the accident and design features that cause them to a jury. Industry experts may be used to detail the defective design features of SUVs that make them prone to SUV rollover accidents.
Design Defects Increasing the Risk of Injury in SUV Rollovers
The danger posed by the tendency of SUVs to rollover in traffic collisions is compounded by other defective design features of many SUVs. Many SUVs on California roads do not meet the minimum roof strength safety guidelines for SUVs established by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA). When auto manufacturers began adapting SUVs from off-road all-terrain vehicles for use on paved streets and highways, the auto industry decided to save money by declining to install roll bars to reinforce the roof of SUVs. The lack of roof reinforcement means that in a California SUV rollover accident life-altering injuries may occur because the weight of the vehicle crushes the roof and causes the doors of the vehicle to fly open. This may lead to roof crush injuries and vehicle ejections, which are both extremely dangerous.
SUVs also create a false sense of security because of their size and weight. Many drivers are oblivious to the increased risk of serious injury resulting from a California SUV rollover accident. Manufacturers of SUVs knew of these risks for years but failed to implement design changes that may have saved many lives and prevented serious injuries. If someone is killed in an SUV rollover accident because of the negligent design of an SUV, a wrongful death action may be brought against the manufacturer of the SUV. The best California SUV rollover accident lawyers use top experts to testify on the defective design features to establish the negligence of an SUV manufacturer. A court may award two general types of damages: pecuniary damages and non-pecuniary damages.
- Pecuniary Damages: These are essentially out of pocket economic losses, including costs paid for medical care, property damage, wages lost due to time off work, reduced future earning potential and funeral/burial costs.
- Non-Pecuniary Damages: These are less tangible but no less important “costs”, including pain and suffering, adverse effects on one’s marital relationship and quality of life, emotional trauma and similar damages.
California SUV rollover accidents involve complex analysis of the physics of a rollover collision and the physical integrity of the vehicle design, your experienced California rollover accident lawyer may employ SUV accident reconstruction experts and industry data to build the most persuasive settlement or litigation strategy for your California SUV rollover case. A California SUV rollover attorney may be able to answer your questions and advise you regarding your legal rights and remedies.