Experts say that thousands of people are injured in roof crush traffic accidents each year in the United States. If you or a loved one have been involved in this type of auto accident, it’s important to understand your right to compensation.
About Roof Crush Accidents
Roof crush occurs during a collision that causes the vehicle to roll over. When a car is flipped upside down due to a crash, the full weight of the vehicle presses on the roof. If the roof supports and roll bars aren’t strong enough, the roof may collapse and cause the mass of the vehicle to fall on the driver and any passengers.
Roof crush can also cause the vehicle’s windshield and side windows to break. If occupants aren’t wearing seatbelts, they may be thrown from the vehicle.
Sometimes, a roof crush accident only involves the roof buckling under the force of the collision. However, this is still a serious problem. Buckling limits the headroom available, which dramatically increases the risk of head and neck injuries. Additionally, buckling can cause problems with the effectiveness of the vehicle’s airbags and seatbelts.
How the Type of Vehicle Type Affects Accident Risks
Studies have shown that trucks, vans, and SUVs have the highest rates of roof crush injuries. This is because these types of vehicles have a higher center of gravity, which leaves them more vulnerable to rollover accidents.
The age of a vehicle also affects the risk of roof crush in a rollover accident. US law requires vehicles manufactured after 1973 to withstand at least 1.5 times their weight. However, a 2009 law increased this requirement to require that vehicles handle at least three times their own weight by 2017. This means newer vehicles are less likely to be involved in roof crush accidents.
Types of Injuries Linked to Roof Crush Accidents
Roof crush accidents are linked to a number of serious injuries for drivers and passengers alike. These include:
- Lacerations from broken glass on the windshield and windows
- Strained neck
- Broken neck
- Closed head injury
- Open head injury
- Penetrating head injury
- Paralysis from spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Traumatic amputation
These injuries often result in a lengthy recovery time and permanent disability, and they require ongoing medical care. Depending upon the extent of their injuries, victims may no longer be able to work or live independently. In the most serious cases, roof crush injuries can be fatal.
Liability for Roof Crush Accidents
In an auto accident, the at-fault driver is typically responsible for the damages that result. If both drivers are partially at fault, settlements are proportionally reduced to reflect liability.
However, roof crush accidents can complicate matters because a vehicle design flaw may be the reason for the roof crush. When a design flaw causes the roof to crush, you are entitled to pursue a claim against the vehicle manufacturer.
Compensation for Roof Crush Accidents
If you suffered injuries in a roof crush accident, you can file a personal injury claim for accident-related expenses. This type of civil action includes compensation for:
- Medical expenses, including future medical needs related to disability
- Lost wages, including loss of future earning potential due to disabling injuries
- Pain and suffering, including both physical pain and emotional trauma
If your loved one was killed in a roof crush accident, you can file a wrongful death claim. This is a type of personal injury claim seeking reimbursement for:
- Medical expenses up to the time of death
- Loss of the person’s earnings to support other family members
- Pain and suffering up to the time of death
- Loss of care and companionship experienced by surviving family members
- Reasonable funeral and burial costs
How Neblett, Beard & Arsenault Can Help
Louisiana’s personal injury law is complex and victims typically have only one year to file a claim for damages. To protect your rights, it’s best to hire an experienced attorney who can establish liability, document damages, locate relevant expert witnesses, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault’s experienced legal team is committed to protecting the rights of Louisiana residents who’ve been injured or lost loved ones in a roof crush accident. Contact us online or call our office directly 318.541.8188 to schedule a no-fee consultation.