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Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) have become very popular family vehicles in the United States. When you select a motor vehicle for yourself or your family, you expect the auto manufacturer and dealer to provide you with a safe, defect-free car. It is also perfectly reasonable to assume that if your SUV is forced to swerve to avoid an object on the road or highway, that the vehicle’s four tires will remain on the road. However, SUV rollover accidents are among the most dangerous and deadly vehicle accidents in the United States.

What Causes Rollover Accidents?

A rollover occurs when a vehicle with a high center of gravity (like a pickup truck or an SUV) loses traction and the vehicle begins to slide sideways. The vehicle then turns over on its side or roof instead of continuing to slide.

The manufacturers often attempt to avoid responsibility for these accidents by claiming that it was driver error that causes these types of vehicles to rollover.  However, often it is proven that it is a design flaw rather than driver error.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 75% of rollovers are single car accidents, meaning that something caused the vehicle to “tip” and rollover. It could be due to soft gravel, uneven roadway, objects in the road, highway spills, a curb or guardrail, or change in ground/shoulder of the road or highway that causes the SUV to lose traction.

Rollover Statistics

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 275,637 passenger motor vehicles were involved in rollover accidents in 2007.  In 2004, over 10,000 people were killed in rollover accidents. In 2005, 60% of people who died in SUV accidents were involved in rollover accidents. Although only 3% of all motor vehicle accidents in the United States involve a rollover, 33% of deaths are due to rollovers. Some of these deaths occurred when passengers were ejected from the SUV, even though they were restrained with seatbelts. If an SUV is in a rollover accident, it is possible for the seatbelt mechanisms to fail.

Injuries from Rollover Crashes

Injuries from SUV rollovers can be catastrophic due to poor vehicle design. Common SUV design flaws include weak and unstable roofs, faulty door locks, restraining systems that fail to operate properly, defective airbags, lack of proper interior padding, and other imperfect parts. Possible rollover accident injuries include loss of limbs, spinal cord damage, paralysis, disfigurement, brain damage, head injuries, internal organ damage, severe scarring, burns, decreased life expectancy, or even death. If you or a loved is involved in a rollover accident, you should immediately seek the help of a Pennsylvania attorney who specializes in these kinds of cases. Preserving evidence is necessary for any product liability case (such as defects in design) as well as proving that there may be road design defects or dangerous road conditions that may have led to your crash. The manufacturer, dealership, retailer, government agencies or any drivers of other vehicles involved in your accident may bear some fault in your claim.

Legal Resources

Auto manufacturers are responsible for making sure that vehicle occupants will be reasonably safe in the event of an accident. Establishing crashworthiness is the duty of companies in charge of designing and manufacturing vehicles. A competent and experienced Pennsylvania SUV rollover accident attorney will find out if your vehicle had a design or manufacturing defect that may have caused your accident. If evidence proves your vehicle had a design flaw, all negligent parties involved in the manufacture of your car may be held accountable.

PA Law Blogs is managed and run by dedicated, experienced PA auto product liability attorneys. For more information on product liability law, refer to the many posts written by seasoned lawyers in the Pennsylvania region.