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Vehicle Rollovers




The Concept of Crashworthiness

Crashworthiness is an important factor in many vehicle rollover cases. No matter what caused the car crash to happen, the vehicle should protect its occupants to a reasonable degree during the crash. This is called crashworthiness. It is an accepted principle that vehicle manufacturers should design cars, SUVs, trucks and vans to protect the occupants against unreasonable injury; this does not mean, however, that manufacturers have to protect occupants against every injury in every situation. To find out whether you have a legal claim against an auto manufacturer, speak with an experienced attorney.

The Second Collision

The impact that causes a vehicle to crash — or the event that triggers a rollover — is the first collision. But it is the second collision that relates to crashworthiness. The second collision happens when the occupant is thrown against the inside of the vehicle or an object outside the vehicle.

If the vehicle manufacturer failed to minimize the dangers of the second collision, the vehicle may have been defectively designed or manufactured. Vehicle rollovers in particular present this issue when the roof of the vehicle becomes crushed or the seat belt fails to restrain the passenger.

It is not a surprise that an occupant of a vehicle should receive some injuries during a serious car accident. It is not reasonable, however, for the occupant to sustain very serious injuries during the crash due to a vehicle design that did not incorporate feasible safety features to prevent or lessen foreseeable injuries.

Enhanced Injuries

Enhanced injuries are the injuries that the occupants sustained because the vehicle was not crashworthy. These are the injuries caused by the second collision. When a manufacturer's defective design caused the enhanced injuries, the manufacturer may be liable for damages.

Enhanced injuries may be more serious than those resulting from the first collision. While what should be a minor fender bender could cause a sore back, a vehicle rollover with a crushed roof could cause severe injuries including broken bones, head injuries and spinal injuries. If the vehicle is designed to prevent such enhanced injuries, however, the vehicle occupants may walk away from the accident.

In order to prove that a vehicle was defectively designed and not crashworthy, the plaintiff need not show that the manufacturer was negligent. Instead, the plaintiff has to prove that the vehicle did not have a design that was reasonably safe in case of an accident.

Seek Help

If you were seriously injured in a vehicle rollover accident, or if your loved one was injured or killed in such an accident, an attorney can help you sort out your legal options. The laws on second collisions vary from state to state. Contact a lawyer for advice on how to proceed in your particular situation.

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