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California Car Roof Crush Attorneys

Please call us today at 949-203-3814 for free consultation.

roof of a car is crushed inwards trapping driverThe nationally renowned auto defect law firm of Bisnar | Chase stands behind its commitment to represent clients who have been seriously injured as a result of roof crush accidents.

Our litigation team has successfully concluded a number of cases involving large automakers such as Ford and General Motors. In these cases, we have represented people who died as a result of SUV rollover accidents where the roofs failed and crushed the vehicle occupants.

Bisnar | Chase has been settling and litigating serious injury and wrongful death cases since 1978. Our auto defect attorneys continue to fight for the rights of catastrophically injured while fulfilling our roles as tireless advocates for improved vehicle design that will enhance safety.

Brian Chase has held companies including General Motors, Toyota, Nissan, Chrysler and Ford accountable and forced them to compensate victims who purchased SUVs and other vehicles that caused unnecessary deaths and injuries due to their inferior design and construction. We are passionate about getting you the compensation you deserve and we will not stop until we do.

Please call us today at 949-203-3814 for free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.

Auto defect and car roof crush expert Brian Chase discusses accidents caused by auto defects.

Why Roof Strength Matters

Roof crush occurs when the frame of a car is not strong enough to support the weight of the vehicle when it is flipped upside down in a rollover accident. Passengers who are already put at great risk of injury during the rollover can get crushed inside the car when the roof fails to support the weight of the car. Roof crush-related injuries are often the most severe injuries suffered in a rollover accident. In the absence of a roof crush, rollover accidents are often not fatal, unless the occupants were not properly buckled up at the time of the accident.

Over the last three decades or so, there has been much debate about the association between roof crush and serious head and neck injuries. These injuries occur because the roof buckles into the occupant compartment and makes contact with the people inside the vehicle. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), a strong vehicle "safety cage" is an essential part of making a vehicle crashworthy or to make it safe for its occupants in the event of a crash.

A 2008 study by IIHS found that strong roofs reduce the risk of a fatal or catastrophic injury in rollover crashes. Since then two government studies have also produced similar findings. The first study found that reduced roof intrusion is associated with lower injury risk and the second showed a relationship between higher roof strength and lower roof intrusion. Some crash tests also showed the possibility of occupants getting ejected from the vehicle due to weak roofs. This is because stronger roofs allow windshields and side windows to remain in tact and doors to remain closed often in rollovers. Research has found that these openings are common causes of ejection in rollover crashes.

Federal Roof Crush Standards

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 216 sets a minimum requirement for roof strength that is necessary to reduce deaths and injuries due to roof crush. In this test, a rigid plate is pushed into one side of the roof at a constant speed. The roof must be able to prevent the plate from moving five inches when pushed at a force equal to one and a half times the weight of the vehicle. This test has been in existence since 1973.

An updated rule, which was introduced in 2009, will require the roof to withstand an applied force equal to three times the vehicle's weight while maintaining enough headroom for an average size adult male. The new standard is being phased in beginning with 2013 model vehicles and full compliance must be accomplished by the 2017 model year.

Roof Crush Liability Issues

All auto manufacturers are legally required to manufacture and design vehicles that are reasonably safe. Vehicles must be built in ways to prevent certain foreseeable injuries including roof crush injuries. There are a number of vehicles on the roadway, however, that have a roof design that is deficient. In some cases, the auto manufacturer is aware that their design is defective and yet they have failed to act accordingly. This is a form of negligence that has resulted in needless deaths and injuries. Saving money by using substandard vehicle parts puts millions of drivers and vehicle occupants at great risk.

It is possible to hold auto manufacturers accountable for their actions when they knowingly put a defective vehicle in the market. Did they suppress evidence that their vehicles have a defective design? Were dangerous vehicles green-lighted for production despite being unable to retain their shape during a rollover? Did defective welding during the manufacturing of the vehicle make it prone to roof crush accidents? Does the vehicle have weak or inadequate roof pillars? When vehicle occupants suffer injuries as the result of a roof crush, negligent automakers can be held accountable.

Compensation in Roof Crush Accidents

Victims of roof crush accidents can seek compensation for damages including the following:

Medical expenses: This includes all past and current medical bills as well as future treatment costs. When a victim has suffered a catastrophic injury such as brain injury, spinal cord damage or paralysis, he or she can seek compensation for lifelong medical care or assistance.

  • Lost wages: This should include wages lost during the recovery period, lost future income and potential losses suffered as the result of losing one's livelihood and being unable to provide for the family.
  • Pain and suffering: This allows victims to seek compensation for the suffering they endure as a result of the accident. This pertains to suffering from chronic pain and other ailments caused by the roof crush accident.

Preserving the Vehicle

It is natural to want to repair or sell your vehicle after a serious accident. It is critical, however, to preserve the vehicle for a thorough inspection by a qualified expert who will be able to determine whether any defects, malfunctions or design flaws caused the victims' injuries. If the damaged car has to be towed, it is important that it is stored at a secure location. It is also vital to your case that the vehicle and its parts are not altered.

Immediately following the roof crush accident, it is important to take photos of the crash site. It will help your case to have photographic evidence of the roadway, any hazards on the roadway, the damaged vehicles and your injuries. It is also necessary to collect the names, addresses and contact numbers of anyone who witnessed the crash. It can even help to have contact information of the responding police officers, tow truck drivers and emergency personnel.

Seeking Medical Attention

If you have been involved in a roof crush accident, it is absolutely vital for you to seek out medical attention right away. Seeing a doctor should be your highest priority. Not only will it increase your chances of making a full recovery, but it will also establish proof of your injuries. With regards to roof crush accidents, it is likely that you have suffered a neck, back or head injury. Sometimes, the true extent of these types of injuries may only manifest days after the crash.


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    John Bisnar

    on what made him want to become a personal injury attorney

  • “I went to law school knowing I wanted to be a personal injury attorney. I wanted my life’s work to have a positive impact on other people’s lives.”

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    on what made him want to become a personal injury attorney

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Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. Any results set forth here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ from case to case.

Bisnar | Chase serves all of California. In addition, we represent clients in other states through our associations with local law firms. Through the local firm, we will be admitted to practice law in their state, pro hac vice, meaning "for this particular occasion." When in our client's interest, we employ the local law firm (at no additional cost to our client) to assist us with routine court appearances and discovery proceedings to more efficiently pursue our client's cause.

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