Roof crushes mostly happen in rollover collisions when the roof support of an auto is not strong enough to resist the combined weight and force of the car, making the roof fall in the passenger compartment. Severe spine, neck, and head injuries often result from a roof crush. Studies show that 89 percent of injured motorists sustain their most severe injuries after a roof crush.

If you have been involved in an auto accident where the car’s roof was crushed or caved in, you are entitled to compensation. Please reach out to the Las Vegas Car Accident Law Firm's experienced personal injury attorneys for legal help. The attorneys will help you determine whether you have a valid claim or suit against the liable party so you can recover just compensation. 

Resistance Standards of Roof Crush

The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) accident statistics are clear as far as roof crush and rollover accidents are concernedthey are highly likely to lead to fatal or severe injuries compared to other kinds of accidents. As the statics show:

  • About 10,000 die in rollover crashes every year.
  • Occupants wearing seatbelts in rollover accidents usually sustain their most severe injuries from coming into contact with the roof.
  • A collapsed roof hurts 15 percent of all motorists who sustain injuries in auto rollovers.
  • Roof Crush is experienced in 80 percent of all rollover accidents 
  • An intrusion by a roof crush possibly contributes to fatal or severe injury in 26 percent of rollover accidents. 
  • The extent of vehicle occupant injury in rollover crashes is substantially greater than the extent of vehicle occupant injury in non-rollover crashes. 
  • Statistically, there exists a substantial connection between the seriousness of injuries sustained by auto occupants and the amount of post-crash headroom/vertical roof intrusion. 
  • Roof collapse/crush is considered a factor in partial and full ejection in a rollover crash. These usually involve shattered windows but could also involve automobile body structure.

Considering the risks related to auto roof instruction, we have regulations concerning the roof's passenger compartment strength and the vehicle's structural integrity. These regulations include FMVSS 216, which generally states that:

  • Vehicles should meet headroom maintenance standards/survival space in the event of a rollover collision.
  • Vehicles weighing between six thousand and ten thousand pounds should have a roof structure able to sustain one and a half times the auto's unloaded weight. 
  • Any bus, truck, and car weighing 6,000 or fewer pounds should be manufactured with a roof able to sustain the auto's unloaded weight thrice in a two-sided test. This test requires vehicle manufacturers to satisfy force requirements whenever autos are tested on both sides.

Most industry professionals can testify that current regulations do not promote adequate auto roof strength. Per a study by the Institute on Development and Disability, every ten centimeters of roof crush relates to a sixty-four percent more likelihood of life-altering injury. Just ten centimeters of roof intrusion also increases the risk of a spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury by 44 percent. 

Roof Crush Dangers 

The roof's structural integrity is among the essential elements of an automobile's crashworthiness. Should the roof crush or otherwise deform in a rollover accident or any other kind of collision, it might directly encroach into the passengers' headspace. This can significantly increase the chances of suffering catastrophic injuries such as severe brain and head trauma, spine injury, neck and back injury, and paralysis (paraplegia and quadriplegia). 

If the crash is grave enough, the outcome can be deadly. Consequently, auto manufacturers are obligated to make safe automobiles equipped with enough roof support needed to inhibit roof collapses or the required roll bars. If a vehicle manufacturer fails in their duty, an accident could result. And if that happens, they could be held responsible for the damages resulting from their negligence.

Steps to Take After a Roof Crush

After a roof crush, you have to take the following steps to maximize your chances of recovering compensation:

Preserve the car— if your auto has to be towed, ensure that it is kept safe in a secure place. Ensure no one alters the automobile or its parts. The auto and auto parts should be inspected for any defects for your lawyer to establish if defectively manufactured or designed parts are the reason for the accident and injuries.

Ensure that proof of the crash is preserved— the police usually investigate roof crush accidents. You must make sure that the law enforcement officers or investigator have photographed the autos involved in the crash, accident scene, road, the path along which the auto traveled as it rolled, and any road dangers that could have contributed to or caused your accident. Ensure you have obtained the names, phone numbers, and addresses of all eyewitnesses, other parties involved in the accident, responding law enforcement officers, tow truck drivers,  paramedics, or any other emergency personnel.

Seek urgent medical assistance— usually, severe injuries result from a roof crush, and these injuries need urgent medical attention. It goes without saying that if you have been in a roof crush accident and sustained injuries, your top priority is being examined by a physician right away. If you sustained severe injuries, chances are you have already been treated with emergency care. However, at times, a certain injury may not appear to be severe right after the crash. The degree of a given injury will only manifest itself later. Consequently, seeking emergency medical care after a collision is always recommended. 

Contact a skilled lawyer right away— you have to act fast following a roof crush if you have been severely injured. The easiest way of ensuring that all the info we mentioned above is promptly obtained and the proof is well-preserved is by hiring an experienced and skilled personal injury attorney with the resources to handle these costly cases. 

Automaker Liability in Roof Crush Accidents 

Vehicle manufacturers are legally obligated to manufacture and design automobiles in a manner that guarantees auto occupants’ safety. This implies that manufacturers have to design and make cars or other autos in manners that inhibit certain predictable accident injuries, roof injuries included. Unfortunately, most of these manufacturers choose inexpensive and less effective methods for satisfying roof crush requirements. 

Proof from various cases has indicated that vehicle manufacturers sometimes have been aware that the roof design of autos destined for sale has been defective. Despite being aware that the vehicle design would subject a driver or passengers to the danger of severe injury or death, the same automakers have neglected to take any action. This kind of neglect has led to unnecessary injuries and fatalities. It is evident from various cases that the primary motive for this kind of detestable inaction is to save cash and avoid delaying vehicle production. 

In other cases, evidence has emerged that design flaws that would result in roof crush accidents were disclosed to automakers during their vehicle testing. In some instances, the automakers concealed the results and approved the automobiles for production, the unreasonable possibility for a fatal accident notwithstanding. 

Less prevalent but equally hazardous are cases that involve manufacturing faults. In one case in California, faulty welds caused a roof to collapse, resulting in the driver sustaining a spine injury, leaving them with quadriplegia. Here, the motorist’s injury happened close to the end of the crash, when the auto was slowing down. As the vehicle made its last crash on the motorist’s side, the roof's pillars caved in, leading to a severe injury to the neck.

Whether the flaw that results in a roof crush accident lies in the roof’s manufacture or design, the maker of a vehicle manufactured with a weak roof must be held liable for any resulting injury. 

Other Liable Parties

It could happen that apart from the vehicle manufacturer, another party or parties contributed to or caused the roof crush and injuries. Individuals and entities that could be held responsible are:

  • A vehicle parts manufacturer— the vehicle part manufacturer could be liable for the accident if a part they manufactured or designed contributed to or caused the accident.  
  • Another driver — a different driver other than you may be partially or fully liable if their negligence contributed to or caused your accident.
  • A government entity — a government entity may be held accountable if the accident you were involved in occurred due to a roadway hazard or any other highway condition or road defect. 

An experienced and competent personal injury attorney can examine the facts surrounding the case to ensure all the guilty parties are listed in a claim or lawsuit, thus ensuring you recover damages from all the liable sources. 

Proving Liability In Your Roof Crush Lawsuit or Claim 

After being involved in a roof crush accident, you may be aware that you must pursue legal action. However, you might not be aware of where to start. Contact personal injury lawyers at Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm right away, and they will begin investigating your incident. In the course of building your lawsuit or claim against the responsible party, we will:

  • Take pictures and gather any available video footage. 
  • Collect witness statements that support your side of the story. 
  • Work hand in hand with top professional experts to fully account for what happened.
  • Have investigators evaluate auto damages. 
  • Analyze medical and police records. 

Your injuries could have been prevented had it not been the liable party's sheer negligence or oversight. Using an indisputable legal argument supported by compelling proof, we will demonstrate this fact of your case. If the responsible party does not agree to a full, fair settlement agreement, we will proceed to court and fight aggressively to obtain the most favorable outcome for you. 

Types of Damages You Can Recover

If you have sustained injuries in a roof crush, you may qualify for monetary compensation for your losses if you win your lawsuit or claim. Damages you could be eligible for are: 

Pain and suffering— the pain and suffering you experience after involvement in a roof crush accident are often compensable. These damages compensate you for the long- and short-term impairments upon your health that prevent you from enjoying life, for instance, paralysis, incontinence, chronic headaches, and any other effect resulting from conditions and ailments brought by the collision. 

Loss of future earning capacity and earnings— the roof crush accident may impair your capability of earning future wages. This impairment is also compensable if you prevail in your claim or lawsuit. Calculating the value of these damages is based on each victim's facts. One victim of roof crush may have a low level of education yet has persistently earned a good amount of money in his type of job. Another may have a high level of education and highly-paying employment.  Yet another crash victim may be a child whose future earning capacity is unknown. Some roof crush victims may be capable of resuming their jobs, but their work-life will be reduced if their injuries are degenerative. Others will need retraining and vocational counseling to obtain gainful employment in areas their disability allows. Some roof crush victims may never be capable of returning to work. Every victim of a roof crush may recover money as compensation for their special lifetime lost earning capacity. 

Lost income— you may qualify to obtain your future, current, and past earnings if the accident renders you incapable of working. 

Future medical expenses— severe injuries usually require significant future treatments, care, and costs. In case of a catastrophic injury, you can incur costs constantly throughout your entire life. If any of your injuries require long-term medical assistance or care, your lawyer should submit a life care plan to the insurance company or court that includes all your future medical-related costs from every source, from inpatient rehab centers to in-home care providers. 

Current and past medical expenses for your injuries— if you are a roof crush victim, you may be eligible for compensation to pay for the medical bills you incurred. These damages could be considerable in a roof crush case, which usually involves severe injuries that require hospitalization and surgeries. 

Diminished quality of life— your life as you know it may change forever because of how severe your injuries are. You may recover monetary damages as compensation for your reduced quality of life, the increased possibility that you might suffer from infections or health complications, the increased chance of surgeries and other medical procedures, and a decreased life expectancy. 

You may also recover punitive damages if the liable party acted with malicious intent. These damages are not meant to compensate you for your losses. Instead, they are meant to punish the responsible party and discourage others from behaving similarly. 

Wrongful Death Claims In Roof Crush Accidents

Many deaths also occur due to roof crush accidents. When the roof of a vehicle falls on a person, the impact is too strong to bear. Apart from that, the worn-out roof parts and sharp debris may cause the victim to suffer deep cuts. Eventually, they may lose a lot of blood and pass away due to the wounds. 

If your loved one died due to a roof crush accident, you might be eligible to bring a wrongful death claim and recover wrongful death damages. These damages include:

  • Loss of consortium
  • Medical bills for the period the deceased was nursing their injuries
  • Funeral expenses
  • Burial expenses
  • Loss of companionship

Choose the Appropriate Roof Crush Lawyer

Roof crush crashes are intricate and costly to handle. You must ensure you choose a skilled accident lawyer with the financial resources to retain expensive but requisite experts and finance crash reconstructionists. These are the various types of duties a personal injury lawyer should perform and the expertise they should have: 

  • Investigating your injuries and losses— your lawyer should start a swift and thorough investigation into your case. Investigations in roof crush cases should kick off after you are involved in the accident. The un-interfered with accident scene can provide essential information to help your lawyer and hired experts to reconstruct the collision and establish what caused the accident. 
  • Federal standards— a skilled lawyer may navigate the intricate national standards associated with the strength of a vehicle roof and the mandated testing manufacturers should carry out. 
  • Testing roof strength— a competent and experienced accident lawyer understands the effect of the various procedures and testing methods manufacturers adopt. A prevalent defense in roof crush accidents is the auto manufacturer adhered to federal standards. But keep in mind that these standards are minimal. Therefore, your lawyer should be able to attack this defense skillfully. 

Manufacturers usually hotly contest roof crush claims or lawsuits. These cases need a skilled, well-founded accident attorney. Manufacturers plus their hired experts typically argue that the injuries you sustained were due to other factors that are not the roof's intrusion into the passenger compartment, like the severe nature of the crash or high speed. To win these kinds of arguments, a skilled accident lawyer will use an expert witness to show your accident's mechanics, including how the roof enhanced or caused the injuries, 

Keep in mind that you may have been ejected from the vehicle during a rollover crash, but the underlying reason for your injuries could still have been the roof crush. The roof's caving in may cause the malfunctioning of the airbags and seat belts and the shattering of the windows. A skilled accident lawyer may be capable of proving to the jury or judge that you were ejected because of the roof crush and not because you were not wearing a seat belt. 

Experts Are Crucial

Experts in different areas could be hired in roof crush cases that have resulted in injuries and significant damage. A competent accident lawyer will employ the right experts to assist the jury and judge in understanding the circumstances of the accident plus any injuries you sustained. There are several kinds of experts that your lawyer may find beneficial based on the severity of your injuries and the intricacy of your case. Some of them include:

  • Economic experts— an economic expert quantifies the amount of lost income a victim has and will incur related to their (victim) rehab and future and past medical expenses, including the future expenses of medical care and life expectancy. 
  • Lifecare planners— a life care planner usually analyzes and accounts for any realistic medical expenses that a severely injured individual may face, including assisted living, hospitalization, and rehab center costs. 
  • Medical experts— medical experts may include neuro-psychiatrists, neurosurgeons, neurologists, and orthopedic surgeons. They usually testify about the medical condition and the future and past treatments an injured victim may need. 
  • Vocational rehab experts— a vocational rehabilitation expert ascertains the potential impact of major disabilities and injuries caused by accident, including psychological, cognitive, and physical limitations. They recommend services the injured victim may need, for instance, counseling and training, to enable them (the injured person) to earn a living and function as well as possible after the crash. 
  • Technical experts— technical experts are inclusive of engineers. Your lawyer can retain them to explain and explore the reason for the accident and the circumstances surrounding it. 

The Statute of Limitations In Roof Crush Cases

The statute of limitations is a law that sets a timeframe within which legal action must be pursued. California statute of limitations for personal injury claims/lawsuits and wrongful death claims/lawsuits for roof crush injuries is two years from when the accident happened. 

Even if the jury determines that your behavior may have contributed to your injuries in rollover accidents, you can still recover damages per the state's comparative negligence rule. 

Contact a Roof Crush Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me to Help Me Recover Compensation 

As somebody who has incurred losses because of a roof crush accident, you have the right to seek to recover damages from the liable party. Act fast and contact a personal injury lawyer to start working on your claim. For decades, we at the Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm have been aggressively defending the rights of clients who have suffered considerable losses because of car accidents. We will utilize our resources, skills, and expertise to assist you in obtaining the maximum possible compensation. To share and discuss the specific facts surrounding your case with us in a comprehensive consultation, contact us at 702-576-0010 today.