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Rules of Recovery in Car Rollover Litigation

Every year, tens of thousands car rollover accidents happen in California highways. Most of these rollover accidents involved cars and sports utility vehicles (SUVs), which are known to be prone to accidents of this kind. Experts say however that rollover accidents are due to manufacturing defects in some vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in most car rollover incidents, 62% result in death involving sports utility vehicles. According to the agency, rollover accidents happen when the vehicles tripped or when a vehicle leaves the roadway and slides sideways, digging its tires into soft soil or striking an object such as a curb or guardrail. The high tripping force applied to the tires in these situations can cause the vehicle to roll over.
Generally, rollover litigation against car manufacturers is based on product liability law. Hence, the rules of recovery in rollover litigation are different than in ordinary car accident.
Rules of Recovery in Roll over Litigation
Different rules apply for recovery in rollover litigation. Unlike in most personal injury cases where negligence is the underlying principle, rollover litigation is based mainly on product liability law, which focuses more on the technical and scientific aspects of the case.
These rules were created as a matter of social policy as agreed upon by the manufacturers and the car users. Between innocent victims who suffer harm from defective products and the manufacturers, distributors and sellers of such products, the product suppliers are in a better position to insure against such losses.
Most rollover litigation against manufacturers of SUVs and other vehicles focus on two design defect theories:
1. Vehicle Instability - Most rollover accident victims complain the unstable condition of their vehicle when making sudden turns in the highway. This resulted in rollover accidents, which motorists say is a manufacturing defect. Testing revealed that the height of the car make it slid sideways during a sudden turn.
2. Crashworthiness - Some courts have held the SUVs' instability is due to an external trip mechanism. This feature makes car manufacturers liable under the crashworthiness doctrine. The doctrine is a theory of recovery in which the manufacturers of a product can be held liable for the defective design.
However, liability in motor vehicle defect cases is controlled by the doctrine of strict liability. If strict liability applies, the victim does not need to prove that the manufacturer was negligent, but only that the product is defective. Eliminating the issue of the manufacturer's strict liability allows victims to pursue their claim under the concept of "no fault" liability.
Pursuing A Claim
Most rollover litigation focus on these two design theories and victims may use the product liability law to pursue their claim. The need for skilled legal representation is needed in pursuing a claim in car rollover accidents. The amount of technical and scientific evidence would require the experience and expertise of a good accident lawyer.
An accident lawyer specializing in car rollover cases will help you pursue your claim and obtain the maximum recovery for your injury and damages.
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