SUVs have been implicated in more rollover crashes than any other type of vehicle, and the design of this type of vehicle has been cited as the main reason why this happens. SUVs and other vehicles with similar designs, such as light trucks, have higher centers of gravity than other vehicles and that seems to be what makes the difference when the chance of a rollover is possible.
Most rollover crashes in cars happen because of the way the driver is behaving, even if the vehicle is more likely to roll. The presumption is from a legal point of view that the driver of such a vehicle should take more care when driving a SUV because of its inherent lack of stability.
Tennessee SUV rollover crash
A typical example of a rollover crash involving a SUV driver happened on the I-81 recently. The female driver was traveling southbound in a 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe SUV and apparently lost control of her vehicle, which entered the median strip. She then managed to get back on to the highway but possibly “over-corrected” and the vehicle flipped and rolled off the highway on the right hand side margin, where it hit a tree. Afton resident Daisy D. Fox was airlifted to the Holston Medical Center but was pronounced dead on arrival.
Rollover crashes are not the most common type of accident in the U.S. They make up around 4% of all crash types, but SUVs are involved in them more than any other type of vehicle.
Roof integrity also in question
When a vehicle rolls over, the strength of the roof and supports can save lives and serious injuries. The roof of some older design SUVs has been implicated in fatal and catastrophic injuries in the past, although a lot has been done to SUV design to improve their structural integrity.
10,000 fatalities a year from rollover crashes
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data shows that there are around 10,000 fatalities a year from roll-over crashes. The majority of these happen when SUVs roll over. Anyone who is lucky enough to recover from a rollover crash may be condemned to one of several catastrophic injuries. These can be defined as injuries that are so severe that the victim does not recover from them. Catastrophic injuries typical of SUV rollover crashes include:
- Spinal injuries, the most serious of which can cause paralysis, the extent depending exactly where the injury took place;
- Traumatic brain injury after severe head trauma. Nerve cell damage is unlikely with even modern technology to be repaired, leaving some brain damaged crash victims totally incapacitate and needing lifelong care;
- 2nd and 3rd degree burns caused when the vehicle bursts into flames after the crash. Severe burns like these are almost inevitable if the vehicle becomes a light and other injuries prevent a speedy escape.
Who is to blame for a rollover crash?
Despite several attempts to change legislation on SUV use in some states, the federal and Tennessee state governments do not make any restrictions on the use of SUVs. Their pretext is that the dangers of SUV use are well known and this means that drivers who chose to use them should drive carefully.
If you have been involved in a SUV rollover crash and have suffered serious injuries there may be several ways that you can obtain compensation if you consider that you were not to blame for your injuries.
- You may have been a passenger in the SUV when it had its accident and the driver’s erratic or careless behavior was to blame. The driver may have been tired, drunk, reckless, speeding or distracted when the accident took place. In this case, a personal injury claim would be filed against the driver.
- You may have been in a SUV which was forced off the road by another vehicle or hit by another vehicle and your vehicle rolled over as a result of the crash. In this case, once you recover sufficiently you may consider filing a claim against the other driver;
- Your vehicle had a defective part or component or you think that the model you were driving had an inherent design failure which contributed, at least in part, to your rollover crash In this case, your claim would be against the SUV manufacturer.
If you have been the victim of a SUV rollover accident, or any type of vehicle accident and were not to blame, contact one of our attorneys at the Keith Williams Law Group in Nashville, Tennessee. You can contact us by phone at 615-313-3999.