Three people, including an Orange County resident, were injured in a rollover accident the morning on March 26, 2010, after the SUV they were traveling in went out of control and crashed in Santa Barbara. The Daily Sound reports that the 2004 Chevy Trailblazer was traveling at 75 mph in the northbound lanes of Highway 101 near Gaviota Beach Road. California Highway Patrol officials said that the driver, for unknown reasons, lost control of the Chevy Trailblazer and the vehicle rolled over before coming to rest on its roof.
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The driver sustained a large cut to his hand, chest pain and bruises. One of the passengers had a fractured right foot, head and neck pain while another passenger had leg pain and facial injuries. All three were buckled up at the time. Officials said alcohol or drugs were not a factor. The injured victims were transported to a local hospital for treatment.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are approximately 10,000 rollover accident fatalities in the United States, each year. That number accounts for 25 percent of all traffic accident fatalities nationwide. In Santa Barbara County as a whole, there were 35 fatalities and 1,952 injuries as a result of car accidents in 2008, according to CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS).
Causes and Liability Issues
Based on this news report, it is not entirely clear how this rollover crash occurred. Officials say the driver was not intoxicated and that the SUV was traveling at about 75 mph. All occupants were wearing seatbelts and the article does not state that the driver was distracted or fatigued. So, the question arises whether there was a vehicle defect or a mechanical malfunction in the vehicle. SUVs are more prone to rollover accidents because they have a higher center of gravity and a narrower track width. In many SUV models, inadequate roof strength causes roof crush. What this means is that when the vehicle overturns, the flimsy roof caves in, crushing its occupants. This can cause catastrophic injuries such as brain and spinal cord injuries.
If an auto product defect is suspected, the vehicle must be preserved in tact, so it can be examined by an expert. In such cases, injured victims would be well-advised to contact an experienced California personal injury lawyer, who will analyze all aspects of the incident and make sure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.
The BISNAR|CHASE personal injury law firm is not representing any of the parties mentioned in this article at the time the article was posted. Our information source is cited in the article. If you were involved in this incident or a similar incident and have questions as to your rights and options, call us or another reputable law firm. Do not act solely upon the information provided herein. Get a consultation. The best law firms will provide a free consultation. We provide a free, confidential consultation to not at fault persons named in this article. The free consultation offer extends to family members as well.