Why Do Vehicle Roofs Collapse in Rollover Crashes?

Car accidents involve complex interactions between drivers, their vehicles, road conditions, and the weather. These incidents can be traumatizing for the individuals involved, especially if they experience a roof collapse in a rollover crash.

A rollover crash occurs when a vehicle tips over to the side or rolls over onto its roof as a result of a collision. The force of the impact can be so strong that the vehicle’s roof may cave in and seriously injure the occupants. In fact, an average of 7,500 motorists die each year from rollover crashes. Larson Law is here to answer your questions regarding this specific question.

How Does a Roof Collapse in a Rollover Crash?

Manufacturers are legally obligated to ensure that their vehicle roofs can withstand a rollover crash. In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) updated the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 216. This new legislation doubles the roof strength requirement to protect vehicle owners in the event of a rollover crash, but some vehicles might have manufacturing or design defects, such as:

  • The roof pillars are not in an optimal location to support the roof’s weight.
  • The materials used for the roof pillars are defective or lack sufficient durability.
  • The vehicle’s center of gravity is too high, increasing the chance of a rollover.

Injuries Associated with a Roof Collapse

Vehicle rollovers might not be the most common type of road accident, only accounting for two percent of vehicle crashes, but they are some of the most hazardous.

If a vehicle’s roof caves in, the occupant’s space becomes severely limited, further increasing the chances of injury. Victims can suffer from catastrophic injuries that require costly medical treatments, and the most common ones include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Internal organ damage
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Fractured bones
  • Nerve damage
  • Deep wounds
  • Amputations
  • Vision loss

Filing Claims Against the Liable Party

The safety of vehicles continues to improve, especially under the new state standards, but accidents may still occur. Older vehicles, in particular, pose an increased safety threat to their occupants. But if the primary cause of a roof collapse is a manufacturing defect, victims may be able to file a product liability claim with the vehicle or roof manufacturer.

Keep in mind that every rollover crash accident occurs due to its own unique circumstances, and the vehicle manufacturer might not be the only liable party. An experienced attorney can help victims identify if there is a claim.

Other common causes of a rollover crash resulting in a roof collapse may include:

  • Road defects due to improper maintenance can cause tripping, which, according to the NHTSA, accounts for an estimated 95% of rollover crashes. Vehicles “trip” when their tires hit a small obstruction, causing them to pitch sideways or forward into a roll.
  • Other drivers can cause a victim to lose control of their vehicle, resulting in a multi-vehicle collision. Whether it’s due to violating traffic laws or driving while under the influence, victims may file a lawsuit against the negligent driver.
  • Tire blowouts may cause a vehicle to roll over, especially for larger SUVs and 15-passenger vans. In this case, the tire manufacturer or seller may also be liable for the accident, as tire failure can make it more difficult for drivers to regain control of their vehicle.

Get Help from an Experienced Team

If you or a loved one has recently sustained injuries from a roof collapse in a rollover crash, seeking legal assistance might be necessary. A professional team of lawyers can help you file a claim against the liable party and seek compensation for all damages incurred.

With over a hundred years of combined experience, our attorneys at Larson & Miller Injury Law can evaluate your vehicular crash case and If necessary, we will thoroughly examine the accident site, collect evidence, and document details that may aid your case.   If we identify a potential product liability claim such as a roof collapse, we may associate with co-counsel versed in that specific product defect to insure you get solid legal representation in your particular case.  We have settled thousands of cases, helping our clients get the peace of mind they deserve. Call us at 417-890-6677 today for a free case review.