SUV Rollover, SUV Accidents, and SUV Legal Information
SUVs are increasingly popular with consumers today but due to some design characteristics they can have a propensity to rollover, sometimes with disastrous results. Government tests indicate that SUV rollovers are three times more likely to occur than the average passenger car, and that the most stable SUV is still more unstable than the most unstable car. One of the main contributors to the increased likelihood of SUVs rolling over is that SUVs sit higher than most cars. To make matters worse, there are some distinct contributors to the increased chances of sustaining serious injury or death in an SUV rollover.
- ESC (Electronic Stability Control) in some SUVs - not having ESC or the failing of ESC in an SUV can increase the chances of it rolling over.
- Defective Door Handle Springs - If a defective door handle spring allows the door to open in a rollover accident, it can result in passenger ejection and increased potential for serious injuries or death.
- Lack of a Side Curtain Airbag - Lack of a side curtain airbag can increase the chances of injury in a rollover.
- Lack of SUV Roof Stability - an insufficiently reinforced roof structure can cause the roof to crush or cave in during a rollover, which can greatly increase the chances of serious injury or death.
- Lack of Laminated Glass - Laminated glass can help reduce the chances of being ejected from an SUV during a rollover. When laminated glass is paired with a side curtain airbag, the chances of being ejected are reduced even further.
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In 2003, approximately 4,500 people were killed in SUV accidents; this constitutes a 22 percent increase from 2001. Ejection accounted for 63 percent of all fatalities in SUV rollover accidents. Approximately 84 percent of people seriously injured in SUV rollovers were reported to have not been wearing their seatbelts when the rollover occurred. SUV rollover statistics show strong evidence that wearing your seatbelt can greatly decrease your chances of being seriously or fatally injured in an SUV rollover. Additionally, in 2003, there was a congressional hearing to investigate high SUV rollover statistics. This has lead to some consumer advocacy groups pushing for greater scrutiny of SUV rollover statistics and stricter regulations on SUV vehicles in order to protect consumers.
Faulty tires can also cause SUVs to roll. Firestone and Ford have found themselves the target of many lawsuits due to tire failures that resulted in rollovers. These failures all involved "tread separation" - the tread actually peeling off of the tire often followed by catastrophic tire disintegration. When the vehicle was running at speed and tread separation occurred, there were high incidences of the vehicle leaving the road and rolling over. Many rollovers cause serious injury and even death; it has been estimated that approximately 300 deaths and over 3,000 serious injuries occurred as a result of these failures. A large number of lawsuits have been filed against both Firestone and Ford, some of which were settled out of court. Lawyers for the plaintiffs argue that both Firestone and Ford knew of the dangers but did not take action, and that Ford knew that the Explorer was highly prone to rollovers. Ford denies the allegations
If you or someone you know has been involved in an SUV rollover accident and have been injured, it is very important to consult with a personal injury attorney or an accident lawyer that specializes in SUV rollover accident claims and lawsuits. This particular type of accident has a lot of technicalities that require specialized knowledge in the areas of SUVs, SUV Roof Structure, electronic stability control, door handle mechanisms, and other SUV specific safety equipment that could bare responsibility for contributing to personal injuries and wrongful deaths resulting from SUV rollovers. This is not the type of accident that just any injury lawyer can competently handle. Make sure that you find an injury lawyer that specializes in product liability defects, such as automotive defects which would also include defective tire issues and SUV rollovers. An experienced Personal Injury Lawyer will understand the claims process, coverage, exclusions and interpretations of the insurance process.
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