Crashworthiness has nothing to do with a vehicle's likelihood to crash. It is its ability to protect occupants from injury should a crash occur. So, even a vehicle that is free from defects which would make it likely to go out of control or rollover, can become deadly in the rare event that it is involved in an accident.
Roof crush is the primary cause of serious injury and death in rollover accidents. Poor roof crush resistance is typically due to hollow roof pillars, weak roof headers and side walls, and the absence of a roll bar. Neck fractures, brain, and spinal cord injuries are common roof crush injuries.J
Seatbelts are often thought of as the most important form of protection in a vehicle, yet more often than people realize, they are the source of injury and death. Wearing a seatbelt can greatly increase your chance of survival in an accident, but it can also turn what would have been minor injuries into fatalities. Among the many seat belt failures and design flaws which can cause injury or death are latch failure, slack in the belt, and belts which apply force in a direction that causes secondary impact.
Originally, airbags were supposed to be a safer, less impactful, less size specific feature that was not dependent on compliance to provide safety benefits. However, they are meant to be used in conjunction with seat belts. They have turned out to be very problematic and can pose serious risks to children and small adults. Defective airbags may fail to deploy or may themselves cause injuries. They can cause eye and eye socket injuries, broken arms and wrists, neck injuries, whiplash, brain injury, and even decapitation.
The biggest danger of door latch failure is ejection or partial ejection from the vehicle. Ejection can cause serious injuries or death in crashes that would otherwise have caused minor injuries or no injuries at all. Partial ejection can cause amputation or decapitation. Full ejection can cause secondary injuries due to being hit by another vehicle, impacting objects outside of the original vehicle, or being hit or crushed by the original vehicle.
Faulty fuel systems and design flaws in fuel systems can result in fires or explosions during a crash. Poorly placed or poorly designed fuel tanks can explode on impact. Gas leak can cause fuel fed fires.
Side impact protection
There are some minimum government standards for side impact protection which all vehicles must meet, but the side of a vehicle still has very little structure, as compared to the engine compartment or trunk. When functioning correctly, side impact airbags can help protect drivers and passengers.
In product liability lawsuits based on crashworthiness, the cause of the accident is irrelevant. Manufacturers are held responsible for the lack of protection offered by the vehicle and the fact that a defect in the vehicle caused injuries to be worse than they would have otherwise been.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an SUV rollover accident, please e-mail us today to speak with an experienced SUV rollover lawyer.