Product Liability – SUV Rollover
Altee Hall recently settled a case involving an SUV rollover. Automotive safety principles included in this case were that a vehicle should not rollover in the roadway on flat, dry pavement. A safety principle that has been recognized by the automotive industry for decades.
Our client was a passenger in a SUV when the driver failed to correctly negotiate a curve in the roadway, As the driver attempted to regain control of the SUV and steer the vehicle onto the roadway, the SUV began to fishtail, lost directional stability and rolled over on the roadway. Our client sustained a catastrophic spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis and now requires a lifetime of care.
A rollover accident is always serious and will put a vehicle’s design and safety equipment to the test. This type of accident has the potential to expose a myriad of defects. Therefore, it is important to first review why it happened; and second, whether the vehicle and its safety systems adequately protected the occupant. A rollover prone vehicle typically has a higher center of gravity. There are numerous technologically and economically feasible alternative designs that can correct rollover propensity and directional instability.
Also, if the occupant was not adequately protected, an analysis of the injuries may expose defects in areas such as the roof, seats or seatbelt. The technology to make vehicles safer with rollover airbags or safety canopies that will deploy in rollover collisions was available certainly before 2002.
Another safety feature is electronic stability control, a safety feature that may prevent many rollover accidents. Safety should not be considered “optional equipment” for the American public.