A roof crush is generally defined as the failure of the roof of an automobile during a rollover incident. When a vehicle rolls over, and the roof structure intrudes into the passenger compartment of the vehicle, this is known as roof crush. Roof crush has been causally linked to death and injuries of passengers during the rollover event, particularly for passengers who are contained in the vehicle (i.e. those not ejected). The usual scenario is that the passenger impacts against the part of the roof that is intruding into the passenger compartment during the rollover.
When the above described incident occurs, traumatic brain, severe spinal and even death often result. The severity of the injury depends on the speed of the vehicle and accordingly the force of impact of the passenger into the roof. The impact is usually multiplied because in addition to the velocity exerted by the passenger, there is velocity from the force of the roof pushing in or "crushing" in the passenger compartment of the vehicle.
The roof is intended to maintain its integrity during the rollover event. The pillars or support bars of the roof are supposed to remain in tact and be strong enough to withstand the impact of a rollover. When the roof does cave in or crush, it is representative of a design defect. Part of the reason for so many roof crush incidents may be attributed to the federal standard for the minimum requirement of roof strength; the minimum is too weak and fails to adequately protect individuals involved in rollover events. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed more stringent standards, but the government has not yet mandated such requirements.
Roof crush problems are particularly prevalent, and have been subject to extensive litigation and debate in SUVs and other vehicles that have a higher propensity to rollover. The SUV has the highest rate of death in rollover incidents compared to any other type of vehicle, which is in part attributed to roof crush.
New technology has helped develop new safety features to help strengthen the roof and prevent roof crush. These include roll bars, roll cages, stronger windshields, and generally strong support bars. However, even with these changes, roof crush is a huge problem in the automobile industry that continues to be the cause of numerous injuries and fatalities.
These matters often require extensive knowledge, expertise and training, all of which Halpern Santos & Pinkert, P.A. can provide. If you or a loved one is injured as a result of a roof crush or rollover event, we would be honored to analyze your case. Allow us to be an advocate in your corner who will work tirelessly to maximize your recovery.