Motorists in the state of Florida are at constant risk of getting involved in car accidents. There are different types of auto accidents, each of them as severe as the other. There are several causes of car accidents in the state, the main one being negligence on the part of one or more motorists, other road users, or vehicle manufacturers. Among these are roof crushes, which are familiar with rollover types of vehicle accidents.
Roof Crush claims are some of the personal injury lawsuits we deal with at Clay County Personal Injury Attorney. Rollovers are serious car accidents that could result in severe injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, fractures, and even death. The good thing is that the state of Florida allows car accident victims to file a legal claim against negligent parties for compensation for all the damages suffered. If, therefore, you have suffered injuries in a Florida roof crush car accident, get in touch with us. We have the skills and experience needed to ensure that you are getting the compensation you deserve.
Roof Crush Car Accidents in Florida
Roof crushes in road accidents occur mainly during rollover accidents. When a vehicle rolls over, the more force is usually applied to its sides and roof. Most vehicles are designed by their manufacturers to withstand the impact of rollovers to protect their occupants against injuries in case of an accident. However, there are some vehicles whose roofs are weakly designed. These are not able to withstand any force in case of a rollover accident. When an accident occurs, the vehicles' roofs may implode, cave-in, or crush. When a crushed roof comes into contact with the occupants of the car, it could result in severe physical injuries and also death.
Rollover accidents are prevalent in the United States, and they result in very high numbers of fatalities. Even though they are not the most common types of car accidents in the country, rollovers cause more severe injuries and deaths when compared to other road crashes. They also affect almost every passenger in the vehicle.
Reports from the National Highway Safety Administration show that SUVs and trucks are more prone to rollover accidents, more than other passenger vehicles. SUVs can roll over in places where other cars will just slide out because of their high center of gravity. If, for instance, an SUV driver simply swerves to avoid crashing into another vehicle or something else, they can roll over quicker than it could happen if the driver were operating another type of vehicle.
It is also true to say that vehicles that are prone to rollover accidents are also more likely to have a weak roof that will crash on impact. It applies mainly to trucks and SUVs as they are heavier at the top as compared to the rest of their bodies. That is why there was a recommendation to have truck and SUV manufacturers designing these vehicles with a stronger roof to ensure that their occupants will be safe from severe injuries in case of a rollover accident. If, for instance, they are designed with strong roof pillars and support bars, their roofs will be safe from crushing even after a rollover accident.
To ensure that manufacturers are taking these directives seriously, the Federal Government set standards for crashworthiness for all vehicles. These standards are meant to ensure that a car will remain safe and be able to protect its occupants in case of a rollover accident. In case of a roof crush accident, experts are usually called to evaluate the vehicle's crashworthiness by inspecting its safety cell and crumple zones. Crashworthy cars are also required to have cargo barriers, which divides the cargo department and the passenger compartment. The cargo barrier is meant to prevent items in the cargo department from falling into the passenger department and injuring the vehicle occupants after an accident
Inspectors also examine the vehicle's windshield. It is because a crashworthy car must have a windscreen that remains in place even when shattered. With such a windshield, glass from the windshield will not fly into the vehicle's inner compartment to injure its occupants.
Causes of Rollover Accidents in Florida
Most rollover accidents in Florida occur when a driver attempts an emergency to avoid hitting a pedestrian or crashing into another vehicle or something else on the road. In that situation, the motorist may swerve or maneuver the car. Since trucks and SUVs are heavier at the top, the driver may be unable to recover and straighten up, thus losing control of the vehicle and rolling over. Other causes of rollover accidents include:
- The massive top part of the car may make it unstable. As mentioned above, SUVs and trucks have a higher center of gravity. This, combined with their narrow track width, makes the vehicle quite unstable, especially when it is making turns or a sharp change of direction.
- In the case of multiple car accidents, unstable vehicles are likely to rollover. A good number of rollovers are those that happen in an accident scene where more than one vehicle has been involved in the accident.
- The actions of another motorist may cause a motorist to lose control of their vehicle, resulting in a rollover accident
- Defects in the manufacturing design of the car may also cause it to lose control while on the road, resulting in a rollover accident
- A defective tire could blow out while the vehicle is on the road, causing it to rollover. These types of accidents could also affect other cars on the road
Rollovers are severe road accidents that could cause severe injuries and even death. Wearing a seatbelt has always been recommended as a way to avoid suffering severe injuries in case of a road accident. However, in the case of a roof crush, a seatbelt may not be able to protect the vehicle occupants from the impact of the crash.
Causes of Injuries in a Rollover Accident
Several factors, including: could cause
injuries in a rollover accident
- The reduced structural design or integrity of the vehicle
- Excessive crush on the roof
- Poor geometry on the car seatbelt. This could cause the vehicle occupant to come into contact with its roof or the interior of the vehicle after a crash. It could also cause the head of the occupant to get out of the car
- A poorly designed occupant compartment, including the door latches, rear and side windows, occupant restraints, among others. these could cause the vehicle occupants to come into traumatic impact with external objects after a crash, or even get ejected out of the vehicle
Manufacturers owe a duty of care to vehicle users by designing cars that should be able to protect its occupants in case of a rollover accident. However, some fail in this mandate and design vehicles with inadequate roofs. Note that the best seatbelt may not adequately protect you in a rollover accident if the vehicle's roof comes crashing into its occupants, crashing their neck and head. Other than a poorly designed roof, here are some of the factors that can weaken a car’s roof:
- Some people cut holes in the pillars supporting their vehicle's roof to reduce the weight of the car. It weakens the pillar that supports the roof, making it hard for the roof to stay in place during a rollover accident
- Some vehicle manufacturers create vehicle roofs from fragile materials. Thin sheet metals will, for instance, not be able to withstand a rollover
There are vehicles with a higher rollover rate, and their manufacturers have, over time, failed to make their roofs safe from roof crushes. When a rollover accident occurs, such vehicle's roofs will crush inward, wholly or downward flatten out
Types of Injuries Commonly Associated with Roof Crush Accidents
Roof crush injuries can result in severe physical damages and fatalities. During a rollover accident, vehicle occupants are not able to utilize the safety systems installed in their vehicles. It leaves them with little or no hope of surviving injuries, especially if the vehicle's roof is already weak. When a vehicle rolls onto its side or roof, there is virtually no protection for its occupants. Things will get even worse if the roof is smashed during the crash. Some of the common injuries that could be experienced in such an accident include:
Traumatic brain injuries
These types of damages result from a sudden jolt or blow to the head. They disrupt the normal functioning of the brain due to the low, bump, or even a penetrating incident. Traumatic injuries to the bran vary so much in severity. Some could be a minor conclusion, and others could result in severe permanent damage to the brain. Accident victims who have suffered a traumatic injury to their brains could also experience all kinds of symptoms, ranging from a mild headache to confusion, loss of consciousness as well as commas.
A mild traumatic injury to a person's brain may affect their brain cells for a short period. Most victims recover permanently from such injuries. However, there are more severe forms of brain trauma that could result in torn brain tissue, bruising, and other physical damages to the brain. These injuries are usually long-term, are more complicated to treat, and could even result in death.
Spinal cord injuries
These types of injuries will occur in case there was damage to any part of the spine or the nerves at the end of the spinal cord. Most spinal cord injuries result from car accidents. An injury to the spinal cord can leave the accident victim in great pain for a very long time. Other symptoms may include paralysis, muscle weakness, and impaired breathing.
Severe cases of spinal cord injuries result in loss of function in one or more parts of the body. A person could, for instance, lose their mobility or feeling or both. Note that the person does not have to have suffered a severe injury to their spine for the loss of function to be experienced. The truth is that most people with injuries to their spinal cord have their cord intact, but the damage may cause them to experience loss of function.
There are mainly two types of spinal cord injuries: complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries. The complete injury causes the accident victim to lose the function below the level of the damage. An incomplete injury will leave you with some function below the level of the injury.
The leading causes of broken human bones and fractures are car accidents. Car crashes, especially rollovers, can be devastating, and the tremendous force that the victim's body is forced to take in can cause their bones to break. There are many types of fractures that a person can suffer in a road crash. The most common ones being compound, transverse, comminuted, buckle, and avulsion fractures. In most cases, surgery or cast can be used to facilitate the healing of the broken bones. The victim may also rely on pain medications for a while, and physical therapy to get better.
For many people, broken bones may not sound as dangerous as other physical injuries, but the degree and location of a fracture could make it minor or severe and complicated. Note that fractures could also complicate other injuries, causing them to take more time to heal.
What to Do If You Have Been Involved in a Roof Crush Accident
If a person has been involved in a rollover accident and their vehicle suffered a roof crush, they probably have sustained severe injuries or even lost their lives. What is important to note is that the state of Florida has apparent personal injury laws that could enable a car accident victim to seek compensation for their injuries. However, the accident victim or their family must understand these laws to be able to follow the right procedure in recovering compensation.
The most important thing is to seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney. A competent attorney will study your case, investigate to determine the actual cause of your injuries, and then advise you on the way forward. An experienced attorney will also deal with all legal formalities and ensure that all the legal documents are filed in court on time. People who have suffered injuries in car accidents, for instance, have four years from the date of their accident to file a legal claim in a civil court.
Hiring an attorney immediately after the accident will give him/her enough time to conduct an investigation, call in experts, go through police reports, investigate past similar accidents, and compile a compelling report against the at-fault party. It will ensure that you are getting the compensation that you deserve.
It is also vital to preserve the vehicle until all investigations have been conducted. If a car has experienced a rollover accident that resulted in a roof crush, it probably is no longer in operation. You may be advised to junk it away since you will no longer be able to use it again. However, even if the vehicle is completely damaged, it will become a valuable piece of evidence when the time to prove your case comes. Without that piece of evidence, you may not be able to demonstrate how weak its structure was and how its roof crashed. The court will also want to know how the crashed roof caused you the injuries you sustained.
What to Prove to Win a Car Accident Personal Injury Claim in Florida
Winning a personal injury claim in the state of Florida is not an easy thing. There are many processes involved and guidelines to be followed to ensure that the application you are filing will get you the compensation you deserve. For that reason, many car crash victims are unable to follow through the daunting process. Again, most accident victims do not have enough experience with the law. This is where the help of an experienced personal injury attorney comes in. With the help of your attorney, you will be able to prove all the facts required by the civil court to show that the other party was indeed responsible for your injuries.
Here are the requirements needed for a car accident victim to file a personal injury claim in Florida:
That the other party was negligent: When it comes to roof crush accidents, the focus will mainly be on the vehicle manufacturer and whether or not he/she built a crashworthy vehicle. Several factors will be put into consideration here, including how strong the roof of the vehicle was to protect its occupants against severe injuries during the crash. While other factors, such as the actual cause of the accidents, could be considered, the main element of consideration in personal injury claims is the exact cause of the victim's injuries. If it is established that the vehicle's roof crashed and was the leading cause of your injuries, the vehicle manufacturer will be held responsible for all the injuries you sustained.
That the other party's negligence was the leading cause of your injuries: Vehicle occupants are likely to suffer severe injuries in any type of car accident. However, the severity of the injuries varies significantly from one mishap to another. The injury victim will be required to prove that their injuries were a direct result of the roof crush and not as a result of another event.
Most vehicles have safety systems such as seat belts that are meant to protect passengers against severe injuries in case of a car crash. However, in the case of a roof crush, even the most protected passenger is likely to suffer serious injuries. There should also be proof that the vehicle's roof crushed because the manufacturer neglected his/her duty of care in the production of a safe vehicle for the users.
That the injured party suffered damages due to the injuries sustained: Remember that the essence of a lawsuit is for the injured party to recover the losses incurred as a result of the injuries suffered in the accident. There must, therefore, be enough proof that your injuries caused you damages. Some of these damages could be, for instance, lost income, medical expenses, and loss of future earning capacity, loss of consortium, pain, and suffering, among others. Note that damages, in this case, could be emotional, physical, or financial.
What Can a Florida Personal Injury Attorney Do For You?
Navigating the Florida legal system will not be a walk in the park, especially for accident victims. That is why you are advised to work alongside an experienced personal injury attorney. There is a lot that an attorney can do for you, including the following:
- Explaining and protecting your rights: Many accident victims do not know their legal rights. Even if you have been involved in a car accident in the past, you may still be unaware of our rights since the law is always changing. Understanding your legal rights is crucial, as it will dictate the options to take at that instant. By going through the facts of your case, your attorney should be able to explain what your legal rights are and the options you have to get the best outcome out of the lawsuit.
- Investigating the accident: Facts about car accidents are not always as straightforward as they seem. You need someone on the ground who understands the technicalities of auto accidents, to help unravel what happened. Your attorney will look into police records, interview witnesses, and call in experts just to have enough proof to support the lawsuit. He/she will also work hard to ensure that no information is lost or tampered with.
- Negotiate with insurance providers: In case the other party wants to settle the matter out of court, your attorney will be there to negotiate with the insurance providers. He/she will ensure that your best interests are served at all costs. For that reason, your attorney will not accept a settlement they feel is too low than what you deserve.
- Ease your emotional burden: Accidents can affect the victims and their families so much, physically, emotionally, and financially. In this trying time, there is a need to have someone working with you every step of the way to ensure that the legal paperwork and all court appearances are taken care of. When the legal matters are taken care of, you can now concentrate on getting better.
Find a Clay County Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
If you have suffered injuries as a result of a roof crush in an auto accident, it is advisable to get the best legal help if you want to file a legal claim for compensation. At Clay County Personal Injury Attorney, we have an excellent team of well-trained and experienced attorneys who can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us at 904-494-8242 if you are in Clay County, FL, and let us work together for the best possible outcome.