Illinois SUV Rollover Personal Injury Lawyer
Many drivers of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are under the assumption that because they are driving a larger vehicle, they are more protected from accidents than those who drive smaller vehicles. This assumption is not necessarily true. As the popularity of SUVs have soared, so too have the accidents. With their higher centers of gravity, SUVs can be vulnerable to rollover crashes. Motorists often suffer more serious injuries and fatalities when a vehicle rolls.
If you have been hurt or someone you love has been hurt or killed in an SUV rollover accident, Illinois personal injury lawyer Christopher Dixon can help. For immediate assistance, call 855-40-CRASH.
SUV Rollover Statistics
Today, 1 in 4 vehicles sold in the United States is an SUV, making it the most popular type of vehicle in the country. Specifically, the Ford Explorer is the most popular mid-size SUV in America. However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rated the Ford Explorer as number 11 in “crashworthiness” out of 21 mid-sized SUV’s for 2015. The top selling SUV in the country doesn’t even crack the top ten in safety.
In 2002, there were an estimated 70,000 SUV rollover crashes. Nearly 2000 people died in these crashes and many more were severely injured. In 1999, 63 percent of all SUV deaths were in rollovers. SUVs like the Ford Explorer are 16 times more likely as the typical family car to kill occupants of another vehicle during a crash.
Although SUV anti-rollover technology has progressed over the years, there are still millions of SUVs on the road that are not equipped with effective safety technology. Engineers and safety experts have long held that the best way for car companies to make their SUVs safer and more stable is to lower the center of gravity and widen the wheel track. However, these design changes are costly, and automakers have chosen less expensive and less effective design modifications to address the issue.
Ford Explorer – Firestone Tire Controversy
In 2000, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) contacted Ford Motor Company and Firestone about high incidence of tire failure on Ford Explorers and two other vehicles that had been fitted with Firestone tires. The high rate of tire failure on Ford Explorers caused numerous rollover crashes. It was estimated that approximately 240 deaths and over 3,000 injuries resulted in the tire failure and subsequent rollover crashes. Ford and Firestone issued a recall, but the damage had already been done. Both companies were served with a large number of lawsuits. Plaintiff lawyers argued that both Ford and Firestone knew about the safety issues, but did nothing.
To this day, people driving later model Ford Explorers with defective tires are experiencing rollover crashes. In 2010, a California woman won a jury verdict of $23 million against Ford. She became paralyzed after her Ford Explorer became unstable, ran off the road, and crashed.
Although automakers are improving anti-rollover technology, SUVs built before Sept. 1, 2011 may not be equipped with it. The electronic stability control technology monitors several conditions to predict when the SUV is traveling at speeds too fast for the conditions and loses traction with the road. The technology applies the brakes in a way that is designed to reduce the risk of fishtailing or overcorrection if a crash is imminent.
The technology was mandated after a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study concluded it could save lives. However, that does not mean that all SUVs have a safe design – particularly ones made before 2011. And even SUVs built after 2011 that are equipped with the technology may still have other unsafe design features that make them prone to rollovers.
How to Prevent an SUV Rollover Accident
While it’s not possible to completely eliminate hazards from a poorly designed SUV, the following safety measures can help reduce the chances of a rollover occurrence:
- Avoid conditions that could lead to the loss of vehicle control. These conditions include driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol; driving while sleepy; and speeding.
- Be cautious on rural roads that may be unpaved.
- Avoid panic-like steering. If your vehicle should go off the roadway, gradually reduce your speed and then ease the vehicle back on to the roadway when it’s safe to do so.
- Maintain tired properly and replace them when necessary.
- Load the SUV properly. When SUVs are loaded down with additional weight, such as passengers, luggage, or equipment, they become less stable. Because SUVs have a higher center of gravity, the risk of a rollover is increased when the extra weight rides above the vehicles center of gravity.
Although an SUV may offer a slight increase in protection to its own occupants, these vehicles are more likely to injure or kill occupants of other vehicles in a crash.
Contact an Illinois Lawyer for Rollover Accidents
The time to pursue a claim following an accident is limited. The Illinois statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years. Therefore, it is important to contact an experienced SUV rollover accident lawyer as soon as possible. If the statute of limitations expires, you will not be able to file a lawsuit against the person responsible for your injuries.
Christopher Dixon has worked with SUV rollover victims and their families to help protect their rights against insurance company claims representatives whose primary purpose is to deny any claims associated with an accident. He will pursue an investigation and work to ensure that key evidence is not lost or destroyed.
For more information on how Illinois SUV accident lawyer Christopher Dixon can help, call 855-40-CRASH. We’re open 24/7. All consultations are FREE.