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Roof Crush Injuries Destroy Lives
A roof crush occurs in rollover accidents when the roof supports of a car or SUV are not strong enough to withstand the combined force and weight of the vehicle, allowing the roof to collapse into the passenger compartment. Serious head, neck and spinal cord injuries are frequently the result of a roof crush. In fact, 89% of all roof-injured drivers receive their most serious injury from the roof crush.
It is often said that in the absence of roof crush, rollover accidents are relatively non-violent accidents for seat-belted passengers. This is true because the automobile is slowing as it rolls. Whether or not roof crush occurs can therefore significantly affect the outcome of victims' injuries in a rollover accident.
Automobile manufacturers have a legal duty to design and manufacture vehicles in a way that provides for the safety of vehicle occupants. This means that manufacturers must design and build cars and other vehicles in ways that prevent certain foreseeable accident injuries, including roof crush injuries.
Evidence from court cases has shown that automobile manufacturers at times have known that a roof design for vehicles destined for the marketplace has been deficient. Despite knowing that the defective roof would expose vehicle occupants to the risk of death or serious injury in a roof crush, the same manufacturers have failed to take action. Such failure has resulted in needless deaths and injuries. It is clear from some of these cases that an underlying motive for such abhorrent inaction has been to save money and avoid delaying production of the vehicles.
In other court cases, there has been evidence that design defects that would lead to roof crush were revealed to automobile manufacturers in their own testing. The manufacturers in some of these cases suppressed these results and green-lighted the vehicles for production, despite the manufacturers' knowledge of the unreasonable potential for a deadly roof crush.
Less common, but equally dangerous, are crashworthiness cases involving manufacturing defects. In one California case, defective welds, in what appeared otherwise to be an adequate roof, led to roof crush that resulted in a spinal cord injury to the driver, leaving him with quadriplegia. In this case the roof crush and the driver's injury occurred near the end of the accident, when the car was slowing. As the car made its final impact on the driver's side, the roof pillars collapsed, causing a massive neck injury.
Whether the defect that leads to roof crush is in the design or manufacture of the roof, the manufacturer of a car built with a weak roof should be held accountable for roof crush injuries.
For more information see our New Government Roof Crush Standard article.
It is possible that one or more parties may have caused or contributed to your roof crush accident and injuries. Entities or individuals who may bear responsibility in a roof crush accident include:
A competent and experienced personal injury law firm can sort through the facts of the roof crush accident to ensure that all the responsible parties are named in a lawsuit, thereby ensuring compensation from all liable sources.
Roof crush accidents are complex and expensive to prosecute. You should take care to choose an experienced accident attorney with the monetary resources to hire costly but necessary experts and to finance accident reconstructions. Following are some of the expertise that a roof crush lawyer should have and the types of tasks he should perform:
Roof crush cases will be hotly contested by manufacturers. These cases require a well-funded and skilled accident lawyer. Manufacturers and their experts often argue that the injuries you suffered in a roof crush accident were caused by factors other than the roof's intrusion into the passenger compartment, such as high speed or the severity of the impact. An experienced accident attorney will utilize expert witnesses to demonstrate the mechanics of your accident, including how roof crush caused or enhanced your injuries, to defeat such arguments.
It is important to know that even if you were ejected in a rollover accident involving roof crush, the underlying cause of your injuries may have been the roof crush. The collapse of the roof can cause seat belts and air bags to malfunction and windows to shatter. Even a seat-belted occupant can be ejected. An experienced accident attorney may be able to demonstrate in court that your ejection was caused by the roof crush rather than from not being seat-belted.
In a roof crush case that has resulted in significant damage and injuries, experts in various areas may be retained. Competent roof crush lawyers will retain appropriate experts to help the judge and jury understand the dynamics of your roof crush accident and the injuries you have suffered. There are many types of experts your attorney may find helpful, depending on how complicated your case is and how severely you are injured. Some of these include:
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Chances are that if serious injuries were sustained, you or your loved one has already been treated with emergency care. It is sometimes the case however that an injury might not seem severe at the time of the accident. The true extent of certain injuries may only manifest themselves at a later time. Seeking emergency care after a roof crush accident is therefore always suggested.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Authority ("NHTSA"):
If you have suffered injuries in a roof crush accident, you may be entitled to a monetary recovery to compensate you for losses. Some of the damages to which you may be entitled include:
The Reeves Law Group has obtained exceptional results for thousands of accident victims. If you desire a consultation on an accident case, including a roof crush matter, please call us at (800) 644-6000, or email us.