A rollover accident can have deadly consequences for drivers and their passengers. The risk of serious injury or death is even more substantial if a sport utility vehicle (SUV) is involved in a rollover accident. While safe vehicle operation is essential to avoiding a wreck, SUVs are more dangerous by design. That raises complex issues of liability after someone gets hurt or killed.
If you or a loved one were involved in an SUV rollover accident in Illinois, you have legal rights. Your first step should be to consult the experienced Chicago car accident attorneys at Hale & Monico. We will review the evidence in your case and demand the compensation you need and deserve.
What Makes SUVs So Dangerous?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, SUV rollovers account for about 11,000 automobile fatalities every year. Accidents that don’t result in fatalities can still cause serious injuries. While passenger vehicles can get into the same type of accidents, there’s a greater risk of injury or death with SUVs.
Why is this? It’s due largely to the unique design of the SUV. They are top-heavy, have a high center of gravity, and a narrow wheelbase. These make for a more dangerous vehicle. As a result, SUVs are more unstable than other vehicles and run a much higher risk of tipping over.
The likelihood of one of these rollover accidents increases with the following factors:
- Sharp curves or turns
- Sudden change in direction
- Hitting a curb
- Veering to avoid an obstacle
- Driving onto a soft shoulder or into a ditch
- Poor tire tread and tire blowouts
- Low tire air pressure
- Icy, wet, or slick road conditions
- Carrying too much weight
What Happens After An SUV Rollover Accident?
After the SUV rolls over, there are a few possible events that can take place. The roof may collapse, crushing the passengers and forcing them into the ceiling and sides of the vehicle. Sometimes the seat belts fail, violently ejecting the passengers from the vehicle. Occupants who aren’t thrown out of the SUV can be seriously injured or killed.
Some of the injuries that SUV rollover accident victims may suffer include the following:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
Safety Tips For Avoiding An SUV Rollover
Many SUV rollover accidents happen because the driver is unfamiliar with the vehicle. The fact is, driving an SUV is not like driving smaller passenger vehicles. These are some safety tips you should adopt:
Reduce your speed. Any vehicle is more likely to roll over if it’s speeding, but this is especially true for SUVs. Speeding makes it more likely the driver will swerve and reduces reaction time to obstacles and curves in the road.
Watch your weight. SUVs are already top-heavy. Don’t make the problem worse by piling on excessive weight. Be especially mindful when storing items on the roof, since the extra weight will make it more likely the SUV will tip over.
Make sure the tires are properly inflated and in good condition. A tire blowout is the last thing you want if you’re driving an SUV. Overinflated, underinflated, and worn tires make a blowout more likely. These tires are also less capable of handling wet road surfaces, which can cause the vehicle to lose control.
Avoid over-correcting your steering. Rollovers routinely happen because the driver swerves, then overcorrects the steering. Pay attention to the road so you won’t have to suddenly swerve. Always steer calmly and don’t jerk the steering wheel from one side to the other.
Who’s Responsible For SUV Rollover Accidents?
Because SUV rollovers largely occur due to the design of the vehicle, the manufacturer can be held liable after an accident. All automobile manufacturers are required to make their vehicles reasonably safe for drivers who use them properly. They also have to provide adequate warnings for known or reasonably foreseeable safety risks.
Cases like these fall under the doctrine of product liability. Depending on the circumstances in your accident, there may be problems with the design of the SUV that made it more prone to rolling over. You need a dedicated attorney who will thoroughly investigate the details of your accident and get to the bottom of what caused it. That may require the use of subpoenas and other legal procedures to obtain evidence relevant to your case.
It should be noted that there are cases in which the SUV driver may share in the liability of the accident. In other words, if you’re in an SUV rollover, there’s a good chance the automobile manufacturer will try to pin some of the blame on you. Illinois has what is known as a comparative negligence law. That means if you are determined to be partly responsible for the accident – for instance, by speeding or allowing your tires to be underinflated – your available damages may be reduced by the percentage of your fault. And if you are found to be 51% or more liable, you won’t recover anything.
Having an experienced Chicago SUV rollover accident attorney is not only important for arguing your case, but also for defending against attempts to shift liability to you. We will demand the maximum damages available under law and then go to work to get it.
Contact Our Chicago SUV Rollover Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one have been in an SUV rollover accident, you’ll be facing more than just medical bills. You can expect lost time from work, lost ability to work, and possibly other damages. You need someone in your corner who has the skill and dedication it takes to fight you. That’s the level of representation you can expect from us at Hale & Monico. Reach out to us today to get started on your case.