Automobile accidents, in general, can be quite a terrifying and tragic event, regardless of the circumstances leading up to them. However, in many cases, vehicles tend to remain upright due to low centers of gravity for many sedans, which tends to play a factor in fatality statistics. This unfortunate truth also yields the very real situation of rollover accidents that are quite prominent throughout the United States, particularly in designs such as SUVs and vans that have a higher center of gravity and are therefore more prone to rollover. Despite higher safety standards in many SUV models, rollover accidents are still a leading cause of automobile accident fatalities in the country. Over 280,000 cases of rollover accidents are reported each year, resulting in about 10,000 fatalities – a statistic that accounts for almost one-third of all passenger deaths from vehicular accidents.
So, who is to blame in the case of a rollover accident? Who is held liable in the event that any vehicle suffers a rollover accident, let alone an SUV? There are a number of factors that can go toward determining this:
- Road conditions leading up to the accident
- How uneven the terrain might be
- Manual errors on part of the driver, such as overcorrecting or excessive cornering
- The possibility of carrying too much weight on part of the driver and passengers within the vehicle
- Manufacturing defects within the vehicle itself
Due not only to their higher center of gravity but also to a statistically more narrow wheel base, SUV’s are particularly susceptible to a rollover accident, especially under conditions that involve quick handling or sudden changes to the driving conditions or operation in general. However, despite the accountability of human error that is taken into consideration, many SUV’s are found to suffer rollover accidents as a result of vehicle design and manufacturing flaws. With a full investigation of the vehicle’s ability to perform, many attorneys can more easily determine liability and whether the fault lies with the driver or with the manufacturer of the vehicle. However, statistics suggest that due to modern manufacturing procedures leading to higher safety ratings and the fact that many rollover accidents tend to involve only one vehicle (the vehicle that ends up rolling over), it is more often the case nowadays that fault lies with the operator of the vehicle. With distractions as great as ever (texting while operating a vehicle, operating equipment within the vehicle while it is in motion, etc.), the liability of a single-car accident is most likely to fall into the lap of the driver despite any sort of vehicular design on part of the manufacturer.
In order to prove liability on part of the manufacturer, several things need to be taken into account. The SUV must show to have some sort of unreasonable defect in its design that caused the accident or another injury to the driver and/or any passengers within the vehicle. Next, it must be proven that the vehicle was being operated as intended and within normal parameters expected of a safe driver. Finally, it must be shown that the vehicle had not been dramatically altered in any way prior to the accident that might have had a hand in contributing toward the accident itself.
Obviously, in the event of any sort of vehicular accident, consulting a lawyer after any injuries have been attended by a medical professional is an adequate method of determining liability and gives you as the injured party the greatest chance at compensation.