Two Cases Involving Sport Utility Vehicle Rollovers
- One vehicle failed to meet Federal regulation requirements to withstand certain impact loads to protect passengers.
- Despite known problems with the windows, another vehicle was manufactured while side-curtain air bags were still in development.
Kreindler has filed suit in two cases involving sport utility vehicle rollovers. Both cases focus on the ability of the vehicles to protect vehicle occupants in the event of otherwise survivable accidents.
The first case involves a rollover of a Ford F-250 pick-up truck. The accident occurred when the vehicle, while traveling at a reasonable rate of speed, hit black ice. During the accident sequence, the driver’s side roof was crushed and nearly flattened causing the driver, who would otherwise have survived the accident, to die from positional asphyxia. The passenger side roof was not compromised and the passenger walked away with minor scratches. By federal regulation, the motor vehicle’s roofs are required to withstand certain impact loads to protect passengers. The roof of the F-250 failed to meet these requirements.
In the other case, a Ford Expedition rolled over after its driver swerved to avoid a deer on a highway. During the accident, the side rear windows blew out and allowed the two third row occupants to be ejected from the vehicle. The remaining passengers survived the impact. The Ford Motor Company had identified concerns regarding the rear windows and recognized the need to protect passengers with either side curtain air bags or advanced window glazing. Ford began to develop side curtain air bags for the vehicle but it took years to integrate them into the design. Rather than use the advanced glazing system in the interim, Ford did nothing to solve this known problem. The accident vehicle was manufactured while the side curtain air bags were in development.
The cases are being jointly handled out of the Kreindler Boston and New York offices.