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SUV and Truck Rollover Accidents

Missouri, Kansas, Kansas City, Johnson County, Wyandotte County & Jackson County | SUV & Truck Rollover Attorney/Lawyer/Law Firm

Rollover accidents are extremely dangerous and occur frequently in the Kansas City and Johnson County areas.  Truck and SUV rollovers are often a result of the poor handling characteristics of these types of vehicles.  The injuries to the occupants of the vehicle are often enhanced by the poor roof protection and crashworthiness present in most trucks and sport utility vehicles.  The lawyers in our law office have experience representing drivers and their families in rollover cases in Missouri and Kansas

Call us today to discuss your case or to set up a no-cost meeting to discuss your Missouri or Kansas rollover case with one of us

 

Rollover accidents happen daily in Kansas City, Johnson County, Wyandotte County, and throughout Kansas and Missouri. The numbers of rollovers in the KC Metro area have increased dramatically as the numbers of SUVs, pickup trucks and passenger vans have consumed the market over the past 20 years, with high gas prices only recently reversing the trend. Unfortunately, sport utility vehicles and trucks are involved in a high percentage of rollover accident deaths in the Kansas City and Johnson County areas.

There are many factors which cause SUVs and trucks in the Kansas City and Johnson County areas to rollover and cause injury with such frequency.  Experience and statistics have taught the attorneys in our law office that the main causes of Kansas City and Johnson County rollover accidents center around the makeup of area roads and the designs of the vehicles which affect their propensity to rollover and which do a poor job of protecting the occupants in a rollover.

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The design problem:  First, the design of mostks and SUVs in the Kansas City and Johnson County areas has a lot to do with their high rollover rates.  Until recently, most trucks and SUV's had a "body on frame" design, meaning the body of the vehicle was bolted onto a steel frame.  This sort of design is nearly 100 years old, and while good for towing and increasing payload capacity, the body on frame design raises the truck/SUV's center of gravity, making it more likely to overturn (rollover) in an accident or during emergency maneuvers.  It is no secret that trucks and SUVs have the highest rate of deaths occurring in Kansas City and Johnson County rollovers.

The poor crashworthiness of many trucks and SUVs also contributes heavily to the severe and often fatal effect of rollover accidents in the Kansas City and Johnson County areas.  These vehicles often have some of the weakest roofs and support designs which results in a phenomenon called "passenger compartment intrusion," where the roof of the vehicle literally caves into the areas where the passengers are sitting.  Passenger compartment intrusion during a Kansas City/Johnson County rollover accident leads to death, paralysis, neck and back injuries, and brain injuries because the passengers in the truck or SUV are either impacted against the caved in roof, or they are literally smashed between the roof and the interior of the vehicle.   

Area roads:  The makeup of the roads in Johnson County and Kansas City also contribute to the high number of SUV and truck rollovers in our area.   Many of the roads in the area feature soft shoulders or shoulders that drop off quickly.  These roads leave little room for drivers to make emergency maneuvers.  Many times, a SUV or truck will begin to roll as soon as one wheel drops off of the pavement due to the lack of a wide and firm shoulder.  Many Johnson County and Kansas City roads are also dangerous when combined with adverse weather conditions.  Poorly designed roads and intersections make it more likely that motorists will not be able to avoid collisions and will encounter obstacles (such as curbs, trees, etc.) that will then prompt their vehicles to overturn.

These accidents often leave individuals and their loved ones in terrible situations with a lifetime of medical bills, pain & suffering.  If you or someone you know has been involved in a rollover accident, contact us today at 913-764-5010 to set up a free initial consultation with one of our experienced Missouri/Kansas personal injury attorneys.

Rollover accidents involving trucks and sport utility vehicles cause a high number of fatalities in the Kansas City & Johnson County areas:

Although only 3% of auto accidents are rollovers, rollovers account for 33% of the deaths from passenger vehicle accidents (cars, trucks, & SUV's).  Yes, that is correct, you are 10 times more likely to die in a rollover than a regular accident.  A total of 10,682 passenger vehicle occupants died in crashes where their vehicle rolled over in 2006.

Making matters worse, many people have been tricked into thinking of these vehicles as "safe," even though they are MUCH more dangerous than your average family sedan.  Oftentimes, families put their teens behind the wheels of SUV's, hoping they will keep them safe when in reality they are very tough for a inexperienced driver to control, even in the best of circumstances.  

Why do trucks and sport utility vehicles roll over in the Kansas City area?  Why do some vehicles roll more than others in Kansas City, Wyandotte County & Johnson County?

Usually there is more than one factor to blame in a roll over accident in Kansas City, Johnson County, or Wyandotte County.  Many roll over accidents are due in part to the defective design of the vehicle which causes it to respond poorly to emergency situations that every driver encounters at one time or another. Other factors may include tire tread failure, weak brakes, poor suspension and top heavy vehicles that do not respond to evasive maneuvers, especially during emergency highway and road situations.

Most rollovers occur when a driver loses control of a vehicle, and it begins to slide sideways. When this happens, something can "trip" the vehicle and cause it to roll over. This tripping object could be a curb, guardrail, tree stump, or soft or uneven ground on the side of the roadway. Rollovers also can occur when a driver attempts to turn a vehicle too aggressively — at a high velocity or with a tight turning radius. In such conditions, the frictional force between the tires and road surface can cause the vehicle to tip up and then roll over. These crashes generally are referred to as "untripped" or "frictional" rollovers. Though less frequent, rollovers can be caused by other factors, such as when one side of a vehicle is flipped up suddenly by a guardrail or other ramp-like object or when a vehicle falls sideways or front-first down an embankment. 

Once the rollover accident starts to occur, the driver and occupants face additional injury and harm from a roof crush, defective seatbelt, fuel fed fire, unsafe windows and windshields and door latches and locks that open during a wreck or rollover.

The debate about how people are injured in rollovers has obscured the fact that a strong vehicle "safety cage" is an essential part of crashworthiness design in all types of crashes. Institute testing using front and side impact configurations shows that limiting intrusion in the occupant compartment is necessary to provide space for the occupant restraint systems to prevent injury. The same principle applies to rollovers. A 2008 Institute study found that strong roofs reduce the risk of fatal or incapacitating injury in rollover crashes.14 This was the first study to demonstrate the link between roof strength and injury risk. 

 

Nationwide Rollover Accident Statistics:

Rollovers are much more common for SUVs and pickups than for cars, and more common for SUVs than for pickups. This has been true in the past and continues to be so. In 2006, 59 percent of SUV occupants killed in crashes were in vehicles that rolled over. In comparison, 48 percent of deaths in pickups and 25 percent of deaths in cars were in rollovers.

Pickups and SUVs tend to be involved in rollovers more frequently than cars largely due to the physical differences of these vehicles. Light trucks are taller than cars and have greater ground clearance, causing their mass to be distributed higher off the road relative to the width of the vehicle. Additional passengers and cargo can increase the center of gravity even more. Other things being equal, a vehicle with a higher center of gravity is more prone to rollover than a lower riding vehicle.3  

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are classified the same as a light truck vehicle, in the same class as a pickup truck or a passenger van. NHTSA has concluded that rollover accidents or vehicle overturns are one of the most significant safety problems for all classes of light vehicles, especially light trucks. For 1992 through 1996, there were an average of approximately 227,000 rollover crashes per year. (Rollover crashes are ones in which a rollover is the first harmful event.) These rollovers resulted in an average of 9,063 fatalities per year (29 percent of all light vehicle fatalities) and over 200,000 non-fatal injuries per year. Crash data collected by NHTSA from various state safety agencies, indicate that in rollover accidents, light truck vehicles are involved in 127% as many crashes as are passenger cars. In analyzing these rollover statistics, pickup trucks and SUVs have a rollover rate that is 2-3 times higher than the average passenger car.

Rollover accidents are directly related to a vehicle's stability in turns. That stability is influenced by the relationship between the center of gravity and the track width (distance between the left and right wheels). A high center of gravity and narrow track can make a vehicle unstable in fast turns or sharp changes of direction--increasing the odds that it will tip over once it begins to skid sideways. The problem is most pronounced in 4-wheel-drive pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles, which have a higher ground clearance for off-road driving.

Most fatal 4WD rollovers are single-vehicle accidents that occur on weekend nights. The drivers are most frequently males under 25. In three out of four fatal rollovers, the victims were ejected from the vehicle, indicating they weren't wearing a seatbelt. 

Rollover accidents are not just confined to Ford Explorers.  Today a typical rollover accident may involve a Ford Expedition, Chevy Tahoe, Honda Passport, Isuzu Rodeo, Ford Ranger, Lincoln Navigator, Toyota 4Runner, Rav4, Toyota Landcruiser, Isuzu Hombre, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Hyundai Santa Fe, GMC Jimmy, S-10 Blazer, Jeep Liberty, Jeep Wrangler, Cherokee, Nissan Xterra, Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi Montero, Pathfinder, Toyota Sequoia, Chevrolet Suburban, Yukon, Chevy TrailBlazer and other SUVs, trucks and passenger vans.  

We utilize contingency fees for Missouri and Kansas County rollover accident representation:

Our law office represents most Kansas City/Johnson County rollover clients on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we do collect an hourly fee, rather we take our fee as a percentage of the amount collected for our clients, after litigation expenses (such as expert fees or court reporter costs) are deducted.  The advantage to clients is clear - you do not have to worry about paying an hourly fee for us to represent you and you may not have to come up with money for expenses which will total tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.  

For instance, if your total recovery was $100,000 after litigation expenses, and our percentage was 25%, then you would be entitled to $75,000 and our fee would be $25,000.  While this office does not have a standard percentage, we typically structure our contingency fee agreements on a tiered basis with a relatively low percentage early in the litigation, with the fee percentage going up as litigation progresses. This office feels that this is an advantageous arrangement for our clients because our fees will vary based on the time elapsed and work put into the case - in other words, our agreements call for a relatively low fee percentage until we have put a significant amount of time and effort into the case.  

Call us to set up a free Kansas City/Johnson/Wyandotte County rollover accident lawsuit evaluation with one of us:

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured, or a loved one has died, in a rollover accident, serious crash or any type of vehicle collision, then please call us at (913)764-5010 to discuss your legal rights. If you believe that the design, a defect in the vehicle itself or the negligence of others caused the injuries or losses, then please e-mail us your questions and concerns.

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