Birmingham SUV Accident Lawyers
Legal Help After a Sport Utility Vehicle Crash
SUVs are popular vehicles for many drivers. While these vehicles are generally safe, SUVs are more prone to rollovers than other vehicles. This fundamental instability is caused by a high center of gravity, and SUVs are known to easily roll over if the driver has to jerk the wheel to avoid an accident – especially at high speeds. These vehicles are especially susceptible to rollover if they are hit from the side or they collide with a static object, such as a guardrail or median.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an SUV rollover accident, turn to the team of skilled attorneys at Guster Law Firm, LLC for the strong legal help you need. Complete an online form or dial (205) 581-9777 to tell us about your case.
Hazards of SUVs
Rollovers, or instances when a vehicle flips, occur in only about three percent of all serious crashes according to Consumer Reports. However, rollovers can be deadly and account for about 30 percent of people killed when riding in a passenger vehicle. SUVs are more prone to rollovers because these vehicles are taller and narrower than other automobiles. Vehicles that are taller and narrower than others have a higher center of gravity and are more top-heavy. This can affect the vehicle's balance when hitting soft patches of dirt or hitting other barriers such as a pothole or soft roadside shoulder.
Electronic stability control (ESC) is a feature, mandatory since 2012, that helps maintain stability in these situations by using features such as automatic computer-controlled braking. Sudden tire blowouts or failures can contribute to rollovers. Other hazards to SUV driving are narrow wheel bases, a vehicle that may have defective parts, or SUV drivers who put loads that are too heavy in their vehicles.
To take precautions in driving SUVs, purchase a vehicle manufactured after 2012 for ESC features, frequently do tire checkups, and don't overload your vehicle. Always drive sober, be aware of hazardous driving conditions such as bad weather, and know the area where you are driving.
SUVs & Inclement Weather
Inclement weather, such as rain, ice, or heavy fog, can heavily reduce visibility and increase the risk of an accident for the driver of any type of vehicle. However, this risk is especially high for drivers of SUVs due to the susceptibility of these vehicles to rollover accidents. When driving an SUV in rainy conditions, please be sure to your speed and turn on your headlights. Since the road is coated with water, you should be prepared to make long-distance stops. During icy weather, you may want to avoid driving altogether.
Common SUV Accident Injuries
Rollover accidents have the potential to be deadlier than regular accidents, especially when the SUV or truck ends up on its top. The potential for an accident is significantly greater when the SUV is operated by an inattentive or inexperienced driver. Regardless of fault, the following injuries are frequently associated with SUV rollover crashes.
- Traumatic brain injury
- Internal bleeding
- Severe fractures and breaks
- Spinal cord and nerve damage
- Loss of limbs
What to Do After an SUV Accident
Your first action after an accident is to summon police and emergency personnel to assist accident victims. One of the important actions after an accident is to document circumstances of the incident through eyewitness testimony, police records, and medical records. Obtain police records of the accident to verify your account of the accident and to document it for litigation. Get your medical records including records of surgeries, prescription drug costs, and any needed physical therapies for insurance and legal purposes. Get witness names, addresses, and phone numbers or emails to contact them for future testimony in court. Take photos of the accident site and the damage if you are able and this does not place you in further danger after the accident. Document the evidence of the crash as immediately as you can after the accident.
Liability and Compensation
If you are involved in an SUV accident such as a rollover, the circumstances of the accident may determine if you are entitled to compensation. Situations where another driver was involved in the accident or if there are manufacturer defects in the vehicle or the tires may determine liabilities. Compensation such as for expenses such as medical bills, subsequent physical therapy, and lost wages are important to pursue if you are not at fault in a vehicle accident. In the tragic loss of life, survivors can claim compensation for the victim's medical bills, funeral bills, and lost wages.
Statutes of Limitations
There is a two year statute of limitations in Alabama personal injury cases, unless the claimant is a minor at the time of the injury and the statute of limitations may be until the child is 19-years-old, plus two years, but no more than 20 years. The exception is for adult claimants who have a disability at the time of the injuries and declared incapacitated by an appropriate court. This most often applies to those who are mentally incompetent. There are other exceptions for minors under four years of age where these minors can bring a lawsuit until the eighth birthday.
The Role of SUV Makers
Automakers have a responsibility to inform consumers about the potential for SUV rollovers, but many do not. This can lead unknowing drivers to attempt to operate their vehicles in inclement weather conditions, thinking that their car provides an additional degree of safety. This refusal to discuss the threat of rollover is dangerous to drivers all over the country.
For assistance navigating the court system after a serious SUV accident, contact a Birmingham car accident attorney at Guster Law Firm, LLC by calling (205) 581-9777.