Sacramento SUV Rollover Injury Lawyer
While all types of vehicles can be involved in a rollover accident, 15-passenger vans and older SUVs are prone to rollover because they have a high center of gravity and relatively narrow wheelbase. Rollover accidents can be among the most deadly type of collision because drivers and passengers often experience roof crush injuries and vehicle ejections. Either of these types of crash often involve catastrophic injuries that include paralysis from neck or spinal injuries, head injuries that cause brain damage, bone crush injuries, decapitation, amputation of limbs, and even wrongful death.
Sacramento rollover accident lawyer Edward A. Smith recognizes that the devastating consequences experienced by victims of vehicle rollovers can force vehicle occupants to overcome debilitating injuries, intense emotional distress, and significant financial obstacles. Many of the attorneys and staff members that make up our law firm help create a family environment because we have been working together for more than twenty years. My experience and skill is based on the exclusive focus on personal injury claims in California since 1982. Our law firm is built on a commitment to combining tenacious representation of our clients with clear and timely communication regarding the progress of their case. While many law firms include bold statements about their firm, such as “Best Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer,” we simply invite you to read the reviews on our website, Yelp, Google+ and AVVO. We also are a member of Million Dollar Advocates, which is an invitation only program for attorneys who have obtained multiple million dollar plus verdicts and/or settlements.15-Passenger Vans Pose Significant Fatality Risk to Vehicle Occupants
12-passenger and 15-passenger vans constitute the “go to” vehicle for youth sports teams, scouting troops, and daycare centers, as well as disabled adults and seniors when venturing out from residential facilities or traveling to church. These large passenger vehicles pose one of the most deadly threats to vehicle occupant safety because of their tendency to roll in a collision or during execution of sudden evasive maneuvers. These vehicles have been marketed to the public as offering a way to transport a high number of passenger along with their cargo and gear.
Unfortunately, the design layout of 15-passenger vans shifts the center of gravity upward and rearward as additional passengers and/or cargo is added, such as on the roof rack. This shift in the weight distribution of a 15-passenger van makes it more likely to fishtail or roll during a crash or aggressive steering or braking maneuvers.
A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report on crash data found that over half (52 percent) of 15-passenger vans involved the van rolling over. Further, the federal vehicle safety administration also reports that 15-passenger vans exhibited triple the rollover rate when loaded with more than ten occupants when compared to comparable vehicle with fewer than ten passengers. When the number of vehicle occupants is between 10 and 15 passengers, the rollover rate is 85 percent compared to the ratio of similar vans with less than 5 occupants.
The layout of 15-passenger vans means that they undergoes a migration in the center of gravity higher and toward the rear of the vehicle as passengers and cargo is added. This shift in the center of gravity makes the vehicle more likely to fishtail and roll. Because these dangerous stability issues are not obvious to drivers inexperienced with the unique physics involved in operating a 15-passenger van, drivers can quickly lose control quickly when executing steering in response to an emergency like a tire blowout at highway speeds. A sudden emergency 180-degree turn also can result in the vehicle fishtailing when the force exceeds the maximum lateral friction capacity of the rear tires. This loss of can occur because 15-passenger van typically are equipped with single rather than dual rear wheels.
Our Sacramento 15-passenger van law firm works with engineers, crash reconstruction specialists, passenger van manufacturing experts, and others with specialized knowledge to help the judge and jury understand the design and manufacturing defects associated with these potentially deadly vehicles. Vehicle manufacturers have failed to make commonsense design changes aimed at mitigating the risk of 15-passenger rollovers, such as the following:
- Increase track width and rear traction to prevent oversteering
- Equipping 15-passenger vans with dual rear wheels
- Recommendations that the vehicles not be operated by inexperienced drivers
- Warnings regarding the importance of tire maintenance that includes replacing old or worn tires and keeping tire pressure at the proper level
Although SUVs have improved in terms of their safety design in recent years, their relatively narrow wheelbase and high profile traditionally have made these vehicles highly prone to tipping. SUVs continue to be one of the most popular form of family vehicle, so high crash rates involving these vehicles still exist. While the narrow track width and high center of gravity of SUVs heighten the risk of a rollover crash, drivers frequently exhibit a false sense of security because of the large size of the vehicle.
SUVs can fishtail because of the following:
- Wet and icy roadways
- Disparate pavement materials
- Ditches or road-should drop-offs
- Excessive speed
SUV rollovers also occur when motorists overcorrect their steering when trying to react to a wheel riding off the edge of the roadway. These incidents often are referred to as a “tripping” incident.
When an SUV rolls over, the roof of the vehicle is subject to extensive force. Because most SUVs are not equipped with roll bars despite knowledge of their increased risk of tipping, the roof can collapse into the passenger compartment. When occupants are trapped inside the passenger compartment of an SUV, they frequently experience catastrophic roof crush injuries and/or wrongful death.Contact a Sacramento SUV Rollover Injury Lawyers for Help
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. If you or a family member have been injured in a crash caused by a sticky accelerator pedal, please call me today at 916.921.6400 for free, friendly advice and to meet my friendly staff.
I am a current member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Trial lawyers here have won multiple cases worth more than a million dollars.
Take a moment to review a long history of my successful case Verdicts and Settlements.
I’ve been practicing in personal injury law exclusively since 1982.