Florida Vehicle Rollover Attorneys
Automobile rollovers are violent and often complex crash incidents that reflect the interaction of the driver, vehicle, road and environmental factors. While other factors naturally play a factor in a vehicle rollover accident, vehicle design has often been demonstrated as a significant contributing factor to the harm.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that rollovers account for one-third of all passenger vehicle fatalities. They further state that over 10,000 people are killed annually in the United States in vehicle rollovers. In their most comprehensive study on the subject published in March 2007, entitled, “An Analysis of Motor Vehicle Crashes and Injury Outcomes,” the NHTSA reported almost 250,000 vehicle rollovers in the United States occur every year.
There are two major types of vehicle rollover classifications: tripped and un-tripped rollovers. While both types of rollover events have the potential to qualify as legitimate products liability cases, it is un-tripped rollovers that are most often the subject of a rollover products liability suit.
Tripped Vehicle Rollovers
Tripped rollovers occur where the vehicle leaves the roadway and slides sideways, either digging its tires into soft soil as the driver attempts to turn the wheels to return to the roadway or when the vehicle strikes an object such as a curb, ramp or guardrail. Another form of tripped rollover, called “steep slope rollover,” occurs when a vehicle travelling downhill on an off-road environment picks up speed and momentum and attempts a turn in either direction. If the slope is too steep to keep the vehicle upright, it may topple over. In either of these cases, design defects may contribute to the accident, however it is more likely that a hazardous condition or negligent operation caused the rollover.
Un-tripped Vehicle Rollovers
Un-tripped rollovers are statistically less common that tripped rollovers, and occur most frequently in top-heavy vehicles. Instead of an object like the ground serving as a mechanism to trip the vehicle, un-tripped rollovers often occur during high-speed maneuvers by a driver in a vehicle with a high center of gravity. Over steering, aggressive lane changing, carrying many passengers or carrying weight on the roof of a vehicle are all factors that can worsen a high center of gravity situation. Pickup trucks, particularly those outfitted with long travel off road suspensions, and large passenger vans are frequently associated with un-tripped rollover events due to their typical design and structure. Sport utility vehicles are often viewed as “safer” vehicles, because of their size and rugged capabilities. These characteristics may actually contribute to a design product liability issue. Size adds weight, which can actually worsen the effects of a crash in certain circumstances.
Our attorneys at Florida civil litigation law firm Podhurst Orseck have handled vehicle rollover products liability claims and we are experienced in the science behind the defects. We are ready to assist you when you have questions about the law and to zealously advocate for your rights.