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Vehicle Rollovers




Manufacturer Defenses in Rollover Litigation

The sport utility vehicle (SUV) has become extraordinarily popular in the US. While SUVs are powerful and spacious, they are not as safe as they appear. Their high centers of gravity and narrow track width can make them prone to tipping. With millions of SUVs on American roads, their manufacturers vigorously defend themselves against lawsuits brought by injured drivers and passengers. If you believe that you have a case against an SUV or car manufacturer, contact an attorney who can advise you of your rights.

The plaintiff in the vehicle defect case will likely claim that the vehicle was defectively designed, making it either prone to accidents or more likely to cause injury in the event of an accident. The manufacturer has numerous defenses at its disposal, but these defenses may be countered with the proper evidence, expert testimony and legal research.

Driver Error

Defendant manufacturers often will argue in rollover litigation that driver error, rather than a problem with the design of the vehicle, caused the accident. Rollovers can occur when a driver suddenly swerves to avoid something in the road and then corrects the path of the vehicle.

Product defect cases are tried on a strict liability basis; this means that the negligence of the driver is not relevant to the case. Evidence of the driver's actions, however, can still be introduced if it shows what might have caused the accident. So if a driver swerved into another lane because he was drowsy, the evidence of the swerve can only be introduced to show why the accident might have occurred, not to show that he was a bad driver.

Tripping vs. Tipping

When a vehicle rolls over, it is for one of two reasons. A vehicle may be "tripped" by a rut alongside the road, debris on the pavement or a pothole. This type of accident can cause numerous types of vehicles, of varying stability, to roll.

Tipping, on the other hand, can occur simply when the vehicle was driving across an unblemished pavement. Ideally the vehicle should, at most, skid or slide across the pavement when it is involved in an emergency steering maneuver. Some vehicles, however, have a propensity to tip instead, beginning the highly dangerous rollover.

Non-Defective Vehicle

The defense may also argue that the vehicle in question was designed in a reasonably safe manner. Plaintiffs can counter this by showing the statistics surrounding the vehicle, especially as they relate to similar vehicles; the manufacturer's internal documents regarding the safety tests on the vehicle in question; and the plaintiff's own tests on the vehicle, testing the safety of the model or the damage to the vehicle involved in the accident.

Contact an Attorney

An experienced lawyer can assist you in pursuing your claim. Contact an attorney to discuss your legal strategy.

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