Standard 216 is the legal standard by which the NHSTA judges the performance of vehicles’ roofs during a rollover event but it is not the only way to determine the effectiveness of roof design during an accident. Advocates have been pushing for years to have the standard changed because other methods of testing the integrity of roofs have proven that merely meeting Standard 216 doesn’t cut it anymore.
Over 10,000 people die each year due to injuries sustained in rollover accidents and that group represents 30% of the total fatalities that occur in car accidents overall. When the roof of a vehicle collapses on its occupants during a crash, the force of the impact is directed directly onto the victims’ heads, necks and spines, causing injuries that most of them are unable to walk away from.
Ways in Which Roof Crush Causes Injury
Roof crush can contribute to severe injuries regardless of whether the victim is belted or not and while seatbelts have proven to save lives in all types of accidents, roof crush has the ability to cause additional harm to occupants who are restrained in an upward position. The ways that roof crush impact injuries include the following.
- Creation of “exit paths”— When the roof loses its structural integrity, it can provide ways for occupants who are not belted to leave the vehicle. Roof crush may shatter the windows and windshield and open exit points in the body structure itself that occupants are ejected through.
- Collapsing on the occupants— Seatbelts are designed to keep the occupants in a colliding vehicle restrained in an upward position. When the roof collapses, the seatbelts actually put the occupants in position to sustain spinal injury by keeping them in a rigid position as the roof contacts their heads. This does not negate the effectiveness of seatbelts— it just demonstrates the need for the roof to maintain its integrity in order for the seatbelts to prevent injuries.
- Creation of harmful debris— Roof crush tends to shatter glass and other structural components of the vehicle, which instantly become sharp objects capable of causing lacerations.
What Makes Auto Companies Liable for Injuries?
In 1960, Standard 216 didn’t exist yet most of the vehicles produced and on the road greatly exceeded it and provided greater protection to occupants than vehicles do today. Since then, designs have had varying efficacy in regard to protecting passengers. Whenever people are hurt due to a design flaw or the use of poor materials, the manufacturer may be proven liable if it was aware of the issue and failed to recall the product or fix the design.
Automakers have been aware of many safety issues regarding their products and have chosen to place profits above the safety of those who purchase their products. This level of negligence is intolerable and it is the goal of the auto product liability attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers to ensure that anyone who is unduly harmed because of defective products or designs is rewarded with compensation equal to the financial burden that those injuries bring. Many of the injuries sustained by roof crush either kill the victim or cause lifelong conditions such as paralysis.
If you or a loved one has been severely injured in an auto accident in which roof crush was a factor, contact us today to arrange a free consultation so that we can explain your rights to you, go over the details of your case and help you on your path forward. We have the experience and resources needed to win your case and will never ask for payment unless we claim damages on your behalf.