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Date Modified: August 17, 2023
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This is the Ultimate Guide to Compensation for Los Angeles Vehicle Rollovers. Roof crush accidents frequently happen with SUVs, with these vehicles typically crushing their roofs when rolling over off embankments near unsafe or non-existent guardrails.

What Are SUV Roof Crush Accidents?

Any type of roof-crushing vehicle occupant heads will be catastrophic. Common roof crush injuries include brain damage, to paraplegia, quadriplegia, and even death.

The DOT Does Not Typically Classify Light Trucks, Including SUVs, And Passenger Vans, Are As “passenger vehicles.”

Because of this, most of these vehicles never achieve equivalent safety standards as passenger wagons and autos, building these non-passenger vehicles with unpredictable rolling motion.

Our law firm’s reputation for representing severe injury victims wounded during a rollover traffic accident remains historically significant, garnering peer and client fame, including talk show appearances. Vehicle builders have a ton of money, willing to fight tooth and nail to avoid paying claims for harming people like you.

Consequently, these remain the most challenging personal injury cases to win after hellish calamities caused by SUV roof crush cases. Only the best vehicle rollover injury attorneys can assist you properly. The legal advocates working at Ehline Law Firm are among Los Angeles’s most excellent automobile accident attorneys.

As you may have seen in the news, many car manufacturers spend millions designing and marketing their SUVs safely, often using marketing propaganda to avoid recalling defective vehicles. Our attorneys know more consumers will be at risk unless we can publicly win money for you or your loved one’s severe injury or wrongful death.

Rollover accidents occur daily in sports utility vehicles (“SUVs”) throughout Los Angeles, California. Like big rig tractors, SUV construction involves a center of gravity much taller than passenger car protocols. Your SIVs wheelbase width rarely compensates for the higher ride height. This article by Los Angeles SUV rollover attorney Michael Ehline discusses the aspects of these cases.

Often, when the SUV rests on the roof, it crushes people inside to death.

Here, we will delve into the causes of these accidents. Then we will discuss how an injured victim can recover money under the negligence law.

SUV Vehicles Sold in Commerce Should Not Roll Over Under Normal Driving Conditions?

That is correct. Automobiles and all other types of cars are not supposed to roll over. So they should be safe under normal, expected driving conditions for the kind and model.

But often, auto manufacturers have put profits over people. Of course, we also know that some consumers take their SUVs off the road or drive them in ways the manufacturer says no to in this regard. As lawyers, we must look at the totality of the circumstances to avoid junk lawsuit filings.

But if the evidence shows the automaker refused to design reliable automobiles, this is a great case to prosecute or try. So this can make them roll over and cause death or severe damage. The victims are primarily individual vehicle occupants. But sometimes, they can result in a chain collision.

SUV – Propensity to Flip Over?

Yes, these vehicles have a propensity for flipping over when making turns. So cornering or lane changes carry a greater flipping danger than small cars. And the fact they roll over onto weak roofs crystallizes the risks. When the SUV rests on the top, it often crushes people inside to death.

Top-heavy passenger cars, vans, and off-road vehicles like trucks and SUVs remain at higher risk of a rollover because these conveyances are inherently unstable. SUV rollover accidents risk other people’s lives because drivers can roll their trucks in situations where an average car would not lose control.

In particular, babies and little kids can face emotional trauma. Also, they often end up with lousy brain injuries and crushed bones. Plus, these are frightening incidents. Some children see their parents die right in front of them.

Things that contribute to rollovers include:

  • Defective Tires.
  • Many other factors.
  • Defective vehicle design.

In any event, this is also called a single-vehicle collision. For example, sometimes, a weak or failed Electronic Stability Control designed to counter a rollover will cause drivers to crash during emergency driving conditions. And this single federal law example demonstrates how legal mandates sometimes place vehicle drivers at graver risk when purchasing newer Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system-equipped vehicles.

Also, news reports raised public awareness, helping lower sheer numbers involving SUV wrecks, but these events can and do happen. Sometimes vehicle manufacturers will fail to install modern safety technologies to cut manufacturing costs, and the technology would have prevented an accident. Vehicle manufacturers must design SUVs to not roll over during expected driving conditions, regardless of how much technology they deploy.

Your vehicle rollover could have been caused by the following:

  • A defectively built SUV or part,
  • The automakers’ failure to warn foreseeable victims adequately,
  • Or some other design defect.

A single-vehicle rollover crash can happen, too, especially when SUV drivers have a false sense of security from sitting higher than passenger car operators. SUV drivers will often receive a false feeling of strength similar to how you might feel driving a tank into battle, possibly causing SUV drivers to go faster, even during poor weather conditions, according to many traffic safety experts

NHTSA statistics buttress these expert findings.

  • About 90% of rollover vehicle crashes are solo accidents.
  • And something like 11,000 fatal rollover crashes takes place each year.
  • Nearly half of fatal rollover crashes are single-vehicle accidents.
  • An estimated 36% increase exists for injuries to occupants.

What Is The Connection Between Taller Vehicles And SUV Rollover Accidents?

Some newer vehicle models, like the Ford Bronco, Ford Ranger, Mazda B series, and other trucks, as well as 15-passenger vans, have been in the news over the years. The common factor here is that these are taller vehicles than passenger cars, built with a higher center of gravity than your typical compact or subcompact car.

These small truck manufacturers have been the subject of many class-action lawsuits for single-vehicle crashes. An expert witness is usually needed when a motor vehicle, like a sports utility vehicle, rolls over and causes an injury.

This professional can help determine the mechanism of harm. This proof is how a lawyer shows liability. And proving fault is how you get paid when these highway vehicles cause catastrophes. Plus, your chances of a head, spinal cord injury, or wrongful death will increase exponentially in roof cave-in and crush cases. Sometimes, even when you buy with proper insurance coverage, victims will fail to recover enough money to cover their injury claims fully. So you must consult with and hire highly aggressive and experienced personal injury attorneys to win a full and fair compensation damages award. Most of all, you must retain legal counsel when faced with multi-vehicle crash claims, especially when defending as an injured cross-complaining plaintiff.

How About Unreasonable SUV Manufacturers?

Over the last few years, technology, state and federal regulations have skyrocketed. And reasonable motor vehicle manufacturers will adopt policies to make truck conditions safer, comply with stricter laws, and help obviate roof crush/vehicle rollover claims. But these laws remain a floor, not a due care ceiling, requiring carmakers to be reasonable, not just comply with bare-bones safety regulations. Automakers must make your vehicle safe, preventing injuring others.

Victims must protect and collect vital evidence by hiring qualified lawyers, beginning the arduous insurance claim settlement process, and possibly suing after an impasse. For you, the daunting task of identifying and filing a lawsuit against all parties in the chain of commerce, including parts makers and vehicle manufacturers, will require legal help from a top-notch, charismatic attorney. Carmakers created metal coffins, and California consumers can secure legal compensation rights for this insult, injury, or wrongful death action.

SUV Off-Road Accidents

Off-road vehicle rollovers are less regular than highway SUV rollovers but cause severe personal injuries or worse, with many insurance policies excluding coverage for off-roading accidents and crashes. Before you give up, you must seek legal counsel because exceptions or other insurance policies may apply, affording you financial coverage/protection.

Q: What is Ehline’s Clear Difference?

A: Better Service, Better Results.

Ehline Law helps with roof crush cases, with vast experience recovering money from injured passengers and drivers. But we do not stop there.

First of all, we have great legal assistants at the office.

Part of our legal team’s job means answering your questions with compassion, striving to deliver clients a great attitude, accompanied by superior legal service, and seeking to be your 5-star attorney for life!

Our results and online reviews show one common thread. The evidence shows clients who retained our services are happy with their products and payouts.

Does Michael Ehline Have Up Close and Personal Experience as a Rollover Victim?

As a teenager, Michael Ehline, Esq himself, was in a jack-knife rollover. And this was when he lived in Anaheim Hills off Santiago Canyon Road. He experienced the breaking glass and roof caving in over his head. He witnessed weeping, gory vehicle occupants around him. Michael’s thoughts of the car resting upright on burst tires are locked in his memory, with all this distress and calamity driving him to end the suffering caused during a rollover collision.

Other survivors will have more than just emotional scars, including brain damage and skull, or neck injuries, with some injuries appearing much later after the adrenaline and pain receptors begin feeling again. What is the good news for SUV rollover victims? Michael learned from his wreck, using that experience to fuel his fight for you.

Hiring Ehline Law Firm means three important things.

  • First, we feel your pain.
  • Second, we want to ensure we impart our experiences to your case.
  • Third, we hope our partnership with you will positively aid your life.

Most of all, Ehline refuses to be an arrogant big firm, so we offer small firm service with significant strong results, offering potential new clients a free initial case consultation.

Are SUV Deaths Caused By Flipping Over A Real Threat?

As discussed, the most common injuries are traumatic head injuries. But death soon follows. In 2006, SUVs became hugely popular vehicles for people, especially housewives.

  • Then there were 10,142 roadway fatalities.
  • And 8,345 of them were from single-vehicle rollover accidents.

But this does not indicate how many of the 8,345 deaths were SUV rollovers. But many deaths occurred in one of the models of vehicles that have the propensity to flip over.

The causes of this type of accident can include various things. Often it involves running off of the roadway. So flipping into ditches is common. Also, sliding on asphalt, speeding, icy or wet roads can cause the driver to lose control.

And potholes all around L.A. contribute to these events. Now combine this with the over-correction of steering. Under these conditions, one can quickly flip an SUV.

When drivers lose control, the narrow wheelbase and center of gravity work against them, resulting in a rollover mishap. Another cause is a collision with another vehicle. That makes the SUV rollover. Most of the time, it will land on its side or roof.

What About SUV Roof Issues?

When an SUV is in a rollover mishap, the roof will make a significant impact. Due to the failure to make the top safe on many models, they did not meet the safety standards. Hence, they failed the NHTSA regulations. Once builders knew they were prone to this accident, automakers welded rollbars into later vehicles. Still, not all SUVs were updated, resulting in many SUV recalls to increase roof safety during a rollover.

But these government mandates standards ensure complete safety while traveling in a vehicle, and any model SUV rolling over will place most of the force on the SUV’s roof. And because some automakers used inferior construction methods to build some models, vehicles will have a greater tendency to inward roof collapses, a significant cause of grave injury or death inside the occupant shell.

Some permanent harm from rollovers include:

For What Rollover Situations Will Our SUV Accident Attorneys Provide Help?

Learning what we do helps you grasp our herculean efforts taken. A law firm for rollover cases must preserve vital evidence, gather essential facts, staying in touch with witnesses because these people can disappear. Also, witnesses might forget important information, requiring your representative to record and document testimony correctly for later court use, typically by hiring a notary.

There are numerous categories of these claims, as follows:

  • Ramp Rollover: The automobile will roll when entering or exiting the ramp elevates in this type of vehicle. Then it tips over on the opposite side as it moves onto a ramp. But it could be any elevated object. So if you have gone on or off a freeway ramp too fast, you may have noticed your SUV started to tilt, triggering your vehicle to flip over. Another example includes SUV drivers forced to take evasive action to avoid road hazards, causing loss of vehicle control. (Ex: swerving to avoid a small child retrieving his ball). You will get speed wobbles by weaving back and forth, flipping your SUV, and crushing your occupants and you. Most auto-makers realize SUVs’ design must include rollover prevention methods during evasive action maneuvers. However, consumer watchdogs accuse auto-makers of placing profits over people for a good reason.

How Do You Show an Unstable SUV via the External Trip Mechanism?

To win in court, you must identify the external trip mechanism and prove the SUV was unstable, arguing it was never capable of being made safe for its design and class. You may remember the Suzuki “Rollover” as an inherently unsafe vehicle. So now you know, in a nutshell, those trendsetting attorneys won by making these arguments.

  • Lateral force rollover: Occurs when the auto travels too fast for approaching curves and dips. The SUVs’ high center of gravity makes SUVs roll.
  • Side-slop rollover: In this hypo, a four-wheeler could be forced off the road, typically by a drunk driver flipping the SUV.
  • Sideways skid rollover: When your vehicle’s rear end peels out or goes sideways after spinning tires, a skid takes place, causing lost traction, making these trucks flip, or driving SUVs to fishtail. SUVs out of control can hit a curb or another object throwing the SUV airborne off-center.

These cases are no joke, made worse by inclement, stormy weather with heavy rain. In any event, when you or a significant wage earner in your family gets hurt, you need legal help during this catastrophic period.

So when a truck or big SUV like a Mercedes GL 550 or a Chevy Blazer rolls, consider receiving support from top-notch lawyers. Let the lawyer report to explain who may be at risk of paying you. Now you can be confident your insurance and court claim is in good hands.

What Are Some Other Causes of SUV Rollovers?

So it could be an object, another driver, or a roadway obstruction. In turn, that can flip your truck. But the maker and seller may have played a role. And this may make your threatening injuries worse. We will see if these defendants failed to warn you.

So we will see if it was terrible user guides, a design, or a factory flaw. For example, it could be faulty equipment that caused the roof’s collapse. Examples include bad welds, missing bolts, etc. Maybe the rollbars were insufficient for such a huge truck.

If we discover that flaw, our law firm stands at the ready. Then we can help you hold the lousy actor’s feet to the fire. And if you are now struggling to pay for pain medication and past due bills, we understand. We have compassion for victims laid out in hospital beds from bad wrecks.

Hence, we have sympathy for you. Due to our experiences, we are kindred spirits and not just attorneys. We will battle the defendants on the courthouse steps if we cannot force a settlement now. And we will take your complaint to trial if we have to. Do or die, Ehline Law makes it happen!

What are Some Steps Our SUV Rollover Attorneys Take To Get You Money?

Getting justice means getting maximum compensation for serious injuries and taking various steps to maximize your lawsuit’s overall value. A reasonable attorney will seek to determine who was at fault. Negligence law in the California Code of Civil Procedure section 1714 will guide them.

Victims must prove the driver, owner, maker, seller, or reseller caused their injury. And if they meet their burden, they may recover money damages for their pain, losses, and injuries. For example, an exploding airbag could deploy without warning, causing you to swerve, losing vehicle control, landing you in the hospital, or worse.

How About Determining Fault?

As with other accidents, figuring out who was at fault is critical. The same goes for cases of defective tires, door latches, etc. And these could all be part of why the SUV flipped or how injuries worsened. For example, what if the SUV landed on its roof and the door latches became jammed? Now imagine a gasoline leak ignition. What could have been a head injury case that just turned into a wrongful death by fire claim?

But now we have to find evidence the doors jamming was a cause of the injuries or death. Crucial to this will be gathering witness statements while memories are fresh. Also, ordering the police reports promptly and preserving vital evidence becomes vital. So we act swiftly, like wild banshees.

Also, SUV accidents make up the majority of negligent wrongful death cases. The influx of rollovers is a reasonably new phenomenon. And this is expected to continue being a leading cause of roadway tragedies. Hence, rollover roof crush risks are more significant than small cars, even with safety advances.

Do We Deliver On Our Promises?

Because we are a boutique law firm, we are a cut above vagabonds. So we are big on results, not promises. Because of this, we give you one-on-one attention. So now you can relax and carry on your regular life and heal your wounds.

Let us deal with the legal red tape. Our aggressive advocates will handle your case. We will also keep you in the loop while seeking your informed consent every step of the way on your behalf.

Tutorial Review: What are the SUV Rollover Facts?

You always risk injuries when you travel on Los Angeles freeways and highways. But SUVs are in a whole category unto themselves, with these crashes involving severe head injuries caused by this large, heavy vehicle rolling over on its roof, caving the roof in, and the top hitting and crushing the occupant’s head. It damages the victim’s brain and spine or kills them most of the time.

Comparing Passenger Cars and SUV Dangers

More often than not, SUV accidents are far-reaching. Government statistics prove that an SUV’s roof will crush 60% of the time inwards during a rollover, contrasted by only 19% of the time when a traditional passenger car flips over. SUVs are more dangerous from their high center of gravity than automobiles, with SUVs far higher up and much more “top” heavy. SUVs flip over far easier than small cars, mainly for these reasons.

80% Of Sports Utility Vehicle Fatalities Happen After The Roof Caves In From Flipping Over

Groups like the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) gather SUV accident statistics. The NHTSA claims around 80% percent of SUV vehicle occupants will die when their vehicle’s roof caves in, usually crushing their heads, compared to around 40% for light vehicle roof crush cases. Passenger cars are less likely to involve roof crush deaths.

Despite the statists and facts militating against owning an SUV, people buy more and more! Also, gasoline costs a lot of cash. But in fairness, these are colossal vehicles. And they have lots of room for occupants and cargo. They are great for soccer moms and construction workers. But they are equally great for the lawyer or businessman who transports files all over the place. So a catch-22 arises. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

What are Your Methods of Recovery – Products Claims?

SUV rollover cases get started by suing all in the chain of commerce. The auto designer and builder are liable for building an inadequately designed SUV. If they do, you can sue them based on a theory of tort recovery called product liability. Product laws make all those in the distribution chain liable, allowing other parties to seek contributions from companies like Ford or Chevrolet for problems with vehicles created in their assembly plants. What’s important? Victims must get paid money for their injuries. That’s what’s important.

You must deploy skilled lawyers because we see more and more cases tried on technical merits rather than substantively. Because of this, automobile builders will respond, advancing overwhelming amounts of tainted scientific and technical evidence by hiring retained and non-retained expert witnesses. Automakers will use crack defense attorneys skilled in deception arts, including skulduggery, to beat you in court.

What Is The Plaintiff’s Burden?

It is the plaintiff’s burden to prove their case. So they must counter defense experts, which becomes pricey. More than anything, case expense will be high. Since your frugal attorney is advancing your costs, they must win your case or remain unable to collect these costs from a verdict or settlement. But the client will be on the hook. So it is financial suicide to handle cases like this alone unless you have legal training, including a considerable bankroll. But before hiring a lawyer, you must learn more about proving your case by having a civilized, enlightened phone conversation with Ehline Law Firm’s talented, expert staff to learn more about your potential claim.

What Is the Difference Between Traditional Negligence And SUV Negligence?

In a traditional auto v. auto claim, the plaintiff must prove the defendant driver breached the duty of care. Then they must prove that the breach caused you damages. (Such as a rear-ender.) As discussed above, negligence law sets forth the standards.

But when you sue an SUV builder for product defects, you use a third party. So negligence cases differ slightly from getting hit by a rear-ender on the freeway. In this case, you must argue that a defect or failure to warn caused your freeway crash. So the rules are a bit different.

How Do You Go About Suing For Third-Party Negligence?

As noted, sometimes you are not suing another motorist. For example, you are pursuing a vehicle maker in a rollover case. Here is where it gets tricky. There are many available theories. Hence, product cases may include many causes of action.

  • What is a Cause of Action?

A cause of action is a claim inserted into the complaint. In a personal injury case, a typical cause of action is general “negligence.” Under this theory, the plaintiff is not suing for breach of contract. But he may want to amend the complaint later after your lawyer locates supporting evidence because the plaintiff can make general allegations, conduct discovery, and amend the plaintiff’s complaint, once as a matter of right.

What if the defendant files a demurrer or motion for summary judgment over negligence or some other cause of action and wins?

Can the Complaint Amend Once as a Matter of Right?

Yes. The claim is amendable once as a matter of right, allowing the victim may add additional causes of action. For example, the plaintiff may decide that GMC sold him the SUV, asserting that in addition to his negligence case, defendant GMC owed him a contractual duty not to sell him an everyday driving vehicle so easily susceptible to receiving a crushed roof. The plaintiff could also sue, claiming GMC is strictly liable or breached other warranties.

If the plaintiff proceeds under these theories, asserting negligence is no longer necessary. Still, the attorney will leave it in the complaint because some facts support this theory, but not another. Either way, the judge can issue jury instructions making things easier, setting all the minutia aside, and judging each theory’s distinct cause of action.

How Do You Prove Strict Liability Products Cases?

Strict liability is just one of many more accessible theories available, usually added by the plaintiff to a mixed-bag pleading (a lawsuit with multiple claims). Thus, your case might include a breach of express and implied warranty causes of action, for example. Using this legal theory, you must prove that the SUV was defectively introduced to commerce’s stream. You may more easily confirm negligence when a recall is issued, making the plaintiff’s burden lighter. If you win your case, you may recover damages compensation as a matter of strict liability, no matter what. But how do you show a defect, introduction into commerce, and win your damages claim without a lawyer helping you?

Your True Battleground Will Be Proving A Vehicle Defect Existed When It Was First Publicly Leased Or Sold

SUV rollover claims will typically be crashworthiness based, relying on evidence the SUV (product) was defective. These cases will get heated because both sides’ price is high, with the plaintiff arguing their vehicle lacked a stable platform at high and low speeds. The defense attorney will counter-argue that your car met federal and state standards and will move to dismiss your case. No matter what, each side must call and pay experts at lengthy depositions, literally spending millions in the process, well before the issue sees the light of day.

So it makes sense for your lawyer to prepare like crazy. Our theory is that spending time and money upfront means no less time in or no court later, costing clients less overall, meaning more money pocketed by the plaintiff and the judicial economy preserved by the courts. Everyone wins this way.

Proving Crashworthiness Defects

SUVs are notorious for having narrow wheelbases than their typical ride height, which is why sports utility vehicle (SUV) truck accidents continue to increase. But because SUVs are such popular motor vehicles, many of them are cruising along California roads, especially in a crowded location like Greater Los Angeles.

External Trip Mechanisms – “The Crashworthiness Doctrine.”

Let’s assume the SUV rollover happened due to “external trip mechanisms.” Appeal courts will use the stability at high and low speeds test called the “crashworthiness doctrine.” This doctrine holds the SUV builder liable under unique facts holding the defending SUV maker accountable if the SUV makes the injury worse than an ordinary crash-worthy SUV.

SUVs that are not crash-worthy can cause serious, deadly injuries, including broken bones, crushed skulls, brain damage, and other serious problems, made worse by defective seat belts or lack of safety cage protection. Often the SUV’s roof will be so feeble its roof will cave in on your head during a rollover crash. Your injury would not have occurred if not but for negligence, and our position is it should not have happened at all.

If your SUV was not crashworthy, you might be able to sue the automaker based upon an “enhanced injury” theory, the most successful of these being claims for:

  • Defective seats and seatbacks,
  • Defective seatbelts,
  • Exploding fuel tanks,
  • Roofs crushing or caving in,
  • Lack of side impact protection, etc.

Our Goal – Delivering Windfall Style Settlements and Verdicts

truck rollovers on California Freeways
Extra cab SUV on 91 Freeway West.

Speak to a Sport Utility Vehicle Rollover Injury-Accident Attorney in Los Angeles

Our law firm’s fame for above-average outcomes speaks for itself. Our severe injury lawyers don’t just want a win; they want a windfall. But you must not let the statute expire in your defective SUV case, so you must contact a natural sage and intensely discuss your grievance.

If you were in a Los Angeles rollover accident, Ehline Law Firm in California could help you. First, we will give you a free consultation; then, we will go to work for you, using seasoned injury lawyers who are master litigators with the resources to address your case thoroughly. Call our top-notch, winning attorneys today at (213) 596-9642 to learn more about your potential SUV rollover lawsuit or by using our convenient website contact us form.


DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Admin 49 CFR Part 571 Docket No. NHTSA-2005-22143 RIN 2127-AG51 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Roof Crush Resistance

Consumer Reports.

Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients.
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Michael Ehline

Top Injury lawyer, Michael Ehline, Esq.
We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.