Accidents can be unfortunate and unavoidable at times, bringing about adverse results that are frequently termed as catastrophic. One such gruesome car accident is a roof crush accident. It occurs when a vehicle’s roof caves in and collapses. The effect of this is very predictable — there will be severe injuries sustained by those inside the car at the time of the accident. In most cases, accidents occur as a result of preventable circumstances such as negligence of other drivers on the road as well as poor cleaning up and maintenance of roads. The Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney offices are committed to offering our clients brilliant legal advice in regards to personal injury lawsuits related to car accidents, including roof crush accidents.
What is a Roof Crush Car Accident?
A roof crush car accident is one that involves the collapse of the roof of the vehicle, causing it to either cave in or completely rip off the rest of the car parts. In the United States alone, over two hundred and fifty thousand roof crush accidents are recorded annually. The statistics are alarming, especially when we consider that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has set out precise requirements to be met on the quality of vehicle roofs manufactured.
A vehicle’s roof should be designed to have a crush resistance. The term crush resistance refers to the maximum amount of weight that a vehicle’s roof can withstand without it caving in. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s specifications, a car’s roof should be able to withstand a minimum weight one and a half times heavier than its weight. In recent modifications of the requirements, a vehicle should be built with a roof that has a crush resistance of up to three times its own weight. The setting of these high standards is to reduce the number of reported cases of roof crush accidents. Ultimately, the higher the roof crush resistance of your vehicle, the safer you are from such accidents.
Why Roof Crush Accidents Occur
The primary reason why these kinds of accidents are frequent is because of problems in a vehicle’s structure. The formation of the roof, while a car is being manufactured, is crucial to perfect. The effort needed is to create a high crush resistance.
Unfortunately, most manufacturers may have selfish reasons that lead them to neglect their duties to ensure that the desired quality is achieved. As a result, assemblers of the vehicle parts could involve themselves in the performance of sub-par work.
Improper Installation of Vehicle Roofs
The risk involved in an improper roof installation is that the fixation is often faulty, with some loose parts left unattended. An example would be where screws are not adequately driven in and secured, while they are supposed to hold the roof in position and prevent a loose fit. Besides, assemblers may fail to secure the rubber linings that make a vehicle’s roof airtight when closed. The linings also prevent water from dripping into the car in case of rain. Such a simple error could create a situation where a fault leads to a roof crush. It may be brought about by the rusting of the metallic parts when rainwater seeps into the internal metallic roof parts. In other cases, the poor fixing of the roof could misalign it in case of an impact, leading it to crush easily.
Quite often, people find themselves choosing between personal gain or meeting set standards while performing required tasks. The scenario is one that most manufacturers may face, whereby they could choose to purchase cheap raw materials for vehicle assembly or buy the slightly high priced materials at the expense of personal profit. Most want to have it the easy way and therefore end up buying and using vehicle parts that are way below the required standard of roof crush resistance.
Due to the cheap manufacture, vehicle purchasers are cheated into buying cars that do not have a durable roof. In case of any serious accident, they may suffer a great deal, simply because of the cheap materials used to assemble the roof.
The point of the defective design is closely tied to a manufacturer opting for a cheap, low-quality product. In this case, he or she may end up choosing vehicle parts that do not fit the design intended for a specific brand of a car. The problem is even more prevalent when a vehicle is under repair at mechanic stores, whereby a mechanic may choose a spare roof part that does not fit the actual design required for the kind of car in question. The problem with such a fit is that a roof will be susceptible to a roof crush very quickly, leading to a grisly accident.
Other times, a vehicle’s brakes may fail to function as expected due to varying reasons. The brake fluid may have leaked, resulting in loss of pressure transmission. The transmission of pressure is what stops the brake pedal. A failure in this process will result in a car rolling or toppling over, which may result in a serious roof crush accident.
High Center of Gravity
Upon application of some Physics principles, we can establish that the higher the center of gravity of a vehicle, the easier it is for it to topple over. Therefore, if a car is loaded with too much weight that shifts the center of gravity to a higher level, there is a big chance that a roof crush accident will occur. The leading cause will probably be toppling and rolling over of the car.
How Roof Crush Accidents Happen
In roof crush accidents, the most often recorded form of occurrence is through a vehicle rolling over. This mode is commonly referred to as a rollover collision. It is rampant in SUV car models. The reason why these kinds of vehicles are prone to accidents is because of their sport mode model, which accommodates high-speed gauges. While these unique features may be brilliant to vehicle enthusiasts, they pose a threat when it comes to the likeliness of accidents.
The risks are accentuated by overspeeding by drivers, not only those who own SUVs but also all other drivers. Driving at high speed reduces a driver’s reaction time, and therefore they are prone to succumbing to accidents. The top speed will most likely cause a car to topple and roll over, especially if it crashes at a steep slope. The most predictable result is a roof crush accident.
Moreover, sharp bumps could cause a roof crush accident. The cause is also closely related to an overspeeding vehicle, because of the short reaction time available to the driver. Some speed bumps could be hard to see, especially at night, a situation that only enhances an overspeeding driver’s risk of roof crush accidents.
Additionally, accidents involving multiple vehicles crashes are likely to lead to roof crush accidents. The risk rate is even higher when one vehicle collides with a heavier and bigger one, especially transit trucks. As a driver in a smaller car tries to swerve the oncoming one, the vehicle may lose balance and topple over, resulting in a rollover accident. The damage on the roof is almost inevitable, especially when you consider the kind of impact a bigger vehicle would have on the smaller one.
Defective tires also bring about roof crush car accidents by making turning and braking risky. There have been numerous cases reported involving tires detaching from the rims of the wheel. Such incidents quickly spiral out of control, especially if a driver was at high speed. A roof crush accident can predictably occur as a result. Also, defective tires in terms of quality pose a massive risk to drivers’ safety. Poor quality tires are easily punctured on the road because of the many debris that lays along the tracks. If such a tire punctures and loses air, a driver can lose control of the car and end up in a gruesome roof crush accident. The results may end up being fatal, or cause some serious personal injuries to the victims.
Injuries Obtained After Roof Crush Accidents
Any kind of car accident can bring about severe injury to victims involved and can even pass on to innocent pedestrians and motorists who are not directly involved with the occurrence of the crash.
Roof crush accidents are some of the highest impacts of catastrophic accidents because the collapse of the roof results in various possible outcomes. Firstly, the collapsed roof might fall on the passengers in the vehicle, a result that could pose a severe risk of injury and especially to the head. Secondly, if a roof rips open and falls apart, passengers may be forcefully ejected out of the car by the high impact forces as the vehicle rolls over. Both of these scenarios pose a dangerous level of exposure to injuries. Some specific personal injuries are mentioned and explained below.
Traumatic Brain Injury
A traumatic brain injury is a severe condition that occurs when the skull is cracked or fractured. The force applied on the head, in this case, the collapsing roof, may extend into the brain and cause severe damage. The injury brings forth deplorable effects on the victims. Some may experience temporary or permanent brain loss while the lucky lot will only experience concussions once in a while. However, the worst-case scenario could result in the victim staying in a vegetative state for a long time.
This vegetative state of the body affects all bodily functions in that such a victim will remain unconscious of the real world, and he or she cannot make out reality. Additionally, automotive bodily functions, as simple as blinking or swallowing, becomes a burden for the patient. Sometimes, such victims are unable to recover fully, and the vegetative state becomes a permanent condition.
Injury on the spine will often result in a severe case of paralysis. The effects vary from one patient to another. In some cases, the disease is a full-body kind, while in others, paralysis is on specific parts of the body, especially on the limbs. Spinal cord injuries are a severe injury because of the function that it carries. Most, if not all, nerve fibers and endings are harbored by the spinal cord. Therefore, the condition should be treated with a high level of seriousness if reported.
In unfortunate cases, the only way to treat bruises and injuries obtained after an accident is by amputation. The procedure involves cutting off parts of the body, especially on the limbs. All amputees immediately become disabled persons, meaning that their lives take a dramatic change. The amputation comes after there is a high impact accident that causes irreversible damage to the affected limbs.
Fractured bones in the body are a common injury sustained during roof crush accidents. Victims may be said to be lucky even to sustain fractures because they do not carry dramatic and life-altering effects to the victims. Despite this fact, some fractures are severe, and they may never fully reformulate and join again. Fractures create a point of weakness, especially when sustained on limbs. Patients may even require reconstructive surgery to restructure the bones and put them back in position. The process of living with a plastered arm or leg may also be quite stressful, causing a hindrance to the normal routine activities we carry out every day like showering. The victim may, therefore, find life during the recovery stage quite hectic.
In worst-case scenarios, victims of roof crush accidents pass away because of the serious injuries sustained. In fatal cases, significant loss of blood is the leading cause of death. Severe bleeding is very dangerous to the body, especially when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. Due to the importance of the mind in executing and controlling body metabolism, the lack of oxygen supplied by blood will cause adverse effects.
Who is Liable for Roof Crush Accidents
As a personal injury victim that resulted from roof crush accidents, you have various avenues to sue for compensation. Despite most accidents having no reasonable and direct person to blame, some cases are a direct result of negligence.
A victim may raise a suit against manufacturers who make faulty designs and vehicle products. The manufacturers are at a position where they are entrusted with skill and knowledge by car purchasers. As a result, they ought to act reasonably and professionally with high regard to standards of manufacture.
If a victim’s roof crushes because of negligent assembly and fixture of car parts, he or she can sue for compensation directly from the manufacturing company. Your lawyer will help you to access qualified surveyors who are able to distinguish between genuine and counterfeit vehicle parts. The distinction will be useful evidence in raising your claim in court.
Moreover, a victim may sue other drivers on the road who are the direct cause of a roof crush car accident. The claim raised should cite reasons as to why the suit is against them, and your personal injury lawyer should raise valid pointers that show the negligence in driving. He or she may raise points like:
The driver was driving too fast
The accused person was driving under the influence
The accused driver was driving at a high speed
The driver was not keen on indicating
Your lawyer is tasked with proving that those negligent actions are directly linked to the cause of the accident affecting you.
Moreover, a victim could raise a claim against the road safety board responsible for repairs and maintenance of the road. They may have neglected the road conditions, thereby allowing debris and other objects that cause the tripping of vehicles to remain on the road. Consequently, these objects are hazardous to drivers’ safety on the roads.
Remedies and Compensation to be Sought After a Roof Crush Accident
After the judge has established sufficient evidence against the accused person in your suit, he or she is willing to grant appropriate forms of compensation and remedies that aim to reinstitute you back to the position you held before the accident.
Firstly, you may seek compensation for the loss of a loved one who was a victim of wrongful death. The court may order the defendant to cover the funeral expenses as well as the medical bills spent on the deceased before he/she died, if any. On top of that, you may seek compensation for loss of future income, especially if the dead person was a breadwinner in the family. The costs settled will be summed up to the estimates given. The awarded amount is supposed to last as long as the deceased would have been expected to live.
Secondly, you may seek compensation for medical expenses spent on recovery, especially if you were the victim of the accident. The liable party has to cover all the costs involved in medical treatment. The principle of compensation is based on the test applied that indicates, but for your negligent actions, I would not have sustained these injuries. The ‘but for’ test, a principle of the law becomes handy in seeking redress of such a situation.
Victims can seek compensation for the pain and suffering caused as well. There is no doubt that accidents cause a great deal of physical and emotional pain for the victims, especially those who lose their loved ones. Also, a dramatic change of life whereby serious injuries restrict you from getting back to your healthy life can be traumatizing. A victim of personal injury is therefore entitled to seek the appropriate remedies, suitably monetary compensation.
Find a Person Injury Attorney Near Me
Regardless of how careful you may be while driving, specific unplanned scenarios could land you or your loved ones into troubling times, as a result of roof crush accidents. At the Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney, we are dedicated to offering professional and quality legal services to our aggrieved clients. We also commit to support you and help you overcome the testing times of litigation as you work on regaining control of your life. Contact us today at 424-231-2013 and start your journey with us.