Products Liability Roof Crush
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), while rollovers only account for 2.1% of all reported accidents, they result in 35% of all accident-related fatalities annually. Due to the severity of a rollover accident, a structurally sound roof is crucial to protecting all vehicle occupants. Vehicles outfitted with poorly manufactured and designed roofs increase the severity of injuries or cause unnecessary deaths when roofs collapse inward and on top of occupants.
Causes of Roof Crush
Few would consider the performance of a vehicle’s roof when evaluating its ability to keep them safe. While roofs may be overlooked when it comes to traditional vehicle occupant protection systems, they play a vital part in shielding passengers from outside forces, including the vehicle itself. A vehicle’s roof can fail its passengers through the following defects:
Holes in Structure
It’s common for automakers to cut holes in a roof’s framing system to minimize its weight. Larger vehicles designed with tall narrow bodies, like SUVs, are more prone to rollovers due to their high center of gravity. When these large vehicles, which are heavier by nature, have their roof infrastructure manipulated to reduce vehicle weight, occupants are put at a greater risk for injury or death due to the combination of vehicle rollover and under-enforced roofs. Simply put, a vehicle that has been altered and is less structurally reinforced will not be able to sustain its own weight and impact in a crash, crushing the roof as the vehicle topples over onto itself.
Inadequate or Cheap Materials
Roof systems manufactured with subpar materials – typically due to cost cutting ploys made by automakers – are less effective and less likely to provide protection to vehicle occupants. If a vehicle is involved in a serious accident like a rollover, the inadequate materials are more likely to cause the roof to collapse and crush inward on occupants. If an occupant is thrown from their seat in a crash, an insufficient roof could fail to keep them inside the vehicle and make them more likely to be ejected.
As is the case with many vehicle safety features, the effectiveness of a roof relies heavily on its design, manufacture, and installation. When pillars that connect the roof to the body of the car and windows are not properly installed and reinforced, the vehicle runs the risk of its roof disconnecting in an accident. When this happens, a vehicle’s occupants are at a greater risk of being ejected. Furthermore, inadequate mounting systems can also lead to the roof crushing inward on vehicle occupants.
Each of these causes has the potential to result in catastrophic injury or even death. Injuries commonly associated with roof-related accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones/fractures
- Deep lacerations
- Spinal cord injuries
- Wrongful death
Texas Roof Crush Injury Lawyers
It is clear that inadequate roofing systems pose a daily threat to drivers and passengers. Automakers have a duty to outfit all vehicles with properly functioning safety features made with quality materials that can withstand a multitude of scenarios (including rollover accidents). If you or a loved one was seriously injured or killed due to a defective roof-related incident, you may be entitled to compensation. The guidance of seasoned products liability attorney John Flood, earned across over 30 years of experience, combined with a passion for defending victims of senseless automaker negligence has proven effective for clients. Contact us today for a free and confidential case consultation.