The morning of April 30 was both lucky and unlucky for a San Antonio motorist, who was involved in a rollover accident near Interstate 10 and Boerne Stage Road as she failed to notice that the street came to a dead end. She was not seriously hurt, sustaining only a possible broken arm and assorted scratches, and while this is obviously positive news, it is remarkable. Rollover accidents are by far the most potentially likely of all crash types to cause fatalities, and if you or a loved one is involved in a rollover crash, you may not be as lucky as the woman on Interstate 10.
Many Reasons for Increased Fatalities
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s safercar.gov website reports that in 2010, only around 2 percent of reported auto accidents were rollovers, but those accidents made up almost 35 percent of all car crash fatalities. There are many disparate causes for statistics like these, but vehicle type can play a large role in turning a standard sideswipe or rear-end accident into a rollover. Vehicles with a high center of gravity, such as certain passenger vans or sport utility vehicles (SUVs), are much more likely to tip over when struck because they are not as low to the ground.
Rollover accidents, especially fatal rollover accidents, have also been linked perhaps more strongly to driver behavior than other types of car crashes. The majority of reported rollover accidents – almost 85 percent in 2010 – are single-vehicle crashes, which might suggest that the majority of the time, such an accident is due to choices made by the driver. However, it is not impossible for a second car to be a factor in a single-vehicle accident and simply not crash itself.
Potential Product Liability Questions
Questions of defective automobiles or automobile parts may also occur more frequently in rollover cases than with other types of accidents. Texas product liability is generally somewhat circumscribed compared to causes of action available in some other states, but it is possible to bring suit against a manufacturer of an item or part. In other states, for example, it may be possible to bring suit against either a seller or a manufacturer of a product deemed to be poorly made; Texas laws insulate most sellers from repercussions if they are not also manufacturers of the product in question.
It is possible to bring suit under a theory of product liability in Texas, but it is not easy to do so, especially in cases where a plaintiff is alleging a design defect (that is, that a product was designed in an inherently unsafe manner). In cases like these, it must be proven that a safer alternative design existed and that the design defect was a ‘major contributing cause’ of the plaintiff’s injuries or harm, rather than one factor among many. The burden of proof is quite high, but not impossible to meet.
Contact Our Experienced Attorneys
Rollover accidents can be caused by driver error, by product design problems, and many other factors. If you or a loved one have been injured in a rollover crash, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries. The dedicated New Braunfels rollover accident attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm can try to help answer any questions you may have and suggest ways forward. Contact our offices today to set up an appointment.