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SUV’s have exploded in popularity in recent years, but SUVs are not without risks. Many SUV rollover accidents comes from the fact that many times SUVs are overloaded with too many materials people are storing or transporting, such as luggage, equipment, etc. In addition, in many SUV rollover accidents, the driver is ejected from the vehicle, which can lead to very serious, if not life-threatening, injuries, especially if the passenger or driver is not wearing a seatbelt.
The reason SUVs rollover is because of the stability in an SUV’s turning. This in turn is related to the connection between the center of gravity and the distance between the left and rights wheels on an SUV. An SUV becomes unstable when turning fast or when there are sharp changes of direction if there is a high center of gravity coupled with a narrow track. Some SUVs now have sophisticated rollover systems that make it hard for an SUV to turn over.
Beginning in 2001, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) initiated a rollover rating system. This is based on a five-star rating system. Five stars means there is a 10% or less rollover risk, whereas one star means there is greater than a 40% change of a rollover.
SUVs also have a rollover resistance rating system. It is based on the SSF, which stands for the Static Stability Factor that calculates how “top-heavy” an SUV is, which in turn tests how easily an SUV will turn over at high speeds while making a turn. There is also a roof-crush rule based on a similar study. This is also very important since NHTSA statistics show that between 600 and 900 people are killed every year because of a roof that collapses, and this is even with a passenger wearing a seatbelt. The newest roof-crush rules that that vehicle that weigh 6,000 pounds or less have to be able to take up to three times their weight—so 18,000 pounds if the car weighs 6,000 pounds—to all parts of the roof.
Therefore, if you have been injured in an SUV accident because the SUV rolls over and the roof of the car crushes you, you may have what is called a product liability claim. A product liability claim is different than a car accident claim. In a product liability claim, the lawsuit or claim is made against the car you are riding in. The claim normally involves alleging that the manufacturer of the product, in this case the SUV, was not made or designed properly and thus the manufacturer was negligent. If you are involved in an SUV accident, you may have two claims then—one claim against the driver who hit you and another claim against the SUV you purchased for not designing or manufacturing a safe vehicle meant to design a certain weighted impact.
The most common reasons SUV rollover accidents occur are:
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