Over the past decade or so, sports utility vehicles (SUVs) have gained popularity in the United States due to the spread of misinformed claims about these large vehicles. Drivers of SUVs popularly believe that they have exceptional safety features in addition to considerable power and a formidable carrying capacity. However, certain defects in the vehicle’s design make the SUV one of the more dangerous vehicles one can operate on the road. Their higher center of gravity and comparably narrower track width make them prone to rollover accidents, which can result in serious head or neck injuries and even fatalities.
The compassionate New York SUV accident attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP have seen the devastating consequences of SUV accidents firsthand. We believe that the manufacturers behind these dangerous vehicles should be brought to justice. If you have suffered great losses due to an SUV accident, please get in touch with our NY auto product liability attorneys so we can help you fight for the compensation you fully deserve. For a free case evaluation, call us at (212) 986-7353.
Although significant improvements have been made to the SUV over recent years, thousands upon thousands of older models remain in use and on the road. Most of the models dating back to the 1980s are at high risk of rollover accidents. If that wasn’t enough, they are also likely to experience roof crush in the event of a rollover. Roof crush involves the complete structural failure of the roof due to poor design and/or construction.
When the roof of an SUV collapses inward, it can cause severe trauma for the occupants, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe lacerations
- Fractures and broken bones
Very few accident victims can walk away from a rollover without serious injuries, if they walk away at all. These accidents are often fatal and can completely devastate a family. Not only will the family have to deal with the heartbreaking trauma of losing a loved one, but also the financial fallout if that loved one contributed to the household.
SUV accidents occur either due to motorist error, vehicle defects or a combination of the two. Unfortunately, many drivers of SUVs are instilled with a false sense of security because they share the same misguided assumptions about the vehicle’s performance capabilities, which often lead them to make riskier maneuvers. However, blame cannot be placed on the drivers alone, especially since manufacturers have sold these dangerous vehicles knowingly without clearly informing consumers of the risks associated with SUVs.
Regular motor vehicles are more likely to remain grounded in bad weather and road conditions. SUVs, on the other hand, may experience rollovers where a regular motor vehicle would not. The slightest bump or skid can cause loss of control. Drivers in these situations often overcompensate and turn the wheel too fast, causing a rollover.
If you are driver or passenger who has been injured in an SUV rollover, you have legal rights and should contact a New York auto accident attorney immediately.
SUV accident claims can be filed against a driver who acted negligently, including a driver who struck the SUV, the SUV driver, or against the vehicle’s manufacturer. Which type of claim you file will vary depending on the nature of the collision and who was the primary cause of the accident. It is important to note that New York is a comparative negligence state, meaning multiple parties can be found at fault for your injuries.
When evaluating your accident, our attorneys may discover that your injuries were caused by:
Another Driver: While SUVs are prone to rollovers, they generally occur due to a collision. If a large vehicle, such as a semi-truck, hit an SUV, it could cause the smaller vehicle to roll over. In these instances, a truck accident claim could be filed against the negligent truck driver if he was driving distracted, fatigued, or while intoxicated.
The SUV’s Driver: SUVs are often utilized by transportation services like rideshare companies, airport transfers, hotels, and other businesses to chauffeur passengers throughout New York. These drivers are expected to use the utmost care behind the wheel and take their passengers’ safety seriously. If a driver acts negligently and causes the vehicle to roll over or crash, then a passenger could file a car accident claim with the driver’s auto insurance policy or their parent company’s commercial policy.
The SUV Manufacturer: It is common knowledge among manufacturers that rollovers are a real possibility in an SUV accident. As such, many companies now manufacture their vehicles with electronic stability systems to keep the vehicle upright. They also have taken steps to improve the strength of their vehicle’s roofs and the vehicle’s frame to protect occupants. However, if components were defective or another part of the vehicle was faulty, such as the brakes, steering system, or tires, and a rollover did occur due to a manufacturing error, you could file a claim against the auto manufacturer.
Passengers are often the most at risk of suffering catastrophic injuries in an SUV accident. They have no control over how the vehicle is handled, the nature of the accident, or the vehicle’s safety features. In addition, many auto manufacturers focus primarily on improving driver safety in a crash, with passenger safety coming second. A rollover or roof collapse could easily kill a passenger, and those who do survive often have to deal with serious disabilities.
Just like drivers, passengers have the right to file a claim if a negligent party caused their injuries. In some cases, this may be another driver, but passengers are often in the unique situation where they can file a claim against the driver of their vehicle. So long as the passenger is not covered under the driver’s policy, such as being a family member, he can pursue compensation from the driver’s auto insurance if the driver caused the collision. In addition, like drivers, injured passengers may also be able to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer if a faulty product caused the collision or worsened their injuries in a rollover.
At Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, we have helped many clients successfully take on big SUV companies in their injury and wrongful death cases . There are many effective arguments upon which we can build the foundation for your claim. Please contact us as soon as possible before the statute of limitations for your case comes to pass. If you wait too long, you may lose your right to pursue compensation for the losses you have sustained. To learn more about your legal options, contact our NYC SUV accident attorneys today at (212) 986-7353.
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