Handling an SUV Rollover Lawsuit

By: Nick Johnson

Screech! You've had an accident and have either been injured as a result, or someone involved in the accident has been killed. Your accident may have been caused by any number of reasons, and as those reasons are explored, it may be in your best interest to investigate the option of filing an SUV rollover lawsuit. Before you make the first appointment with an attorney, there are a few important things you must consider to ensure that everything possible can be done in order to make you whole again after your accident.

First, the circumstances of the accident need to be fully explored. Accidents often have more than one contributing factor, and they are seldom as simple as they may appear to be. Therefore, you must carefully evaluate all aspects of the accident and ensure that you have the appropriate documentation to back up anything that may have contributed. Major contributing factors you will need to evaluate include the condition of the SUV and any propensity towards rolling over, the condition of the tires and any propensity towards blowing out, the weather conditions during the time of the accident and the subsequent road conditions, the factor of speed in the accident, and if any other vehicles were involved in the accident.

If your vehicle is found to have been unstable, whether as a result of being top-heavy or constructed poorly, your automobile manufacturer will be the target of your lawsuit. Testing can be done on the vehicle following the accident to determine how likely it is that the construction of the vehicle caused the accident to occur. Acting in collusion with the construction of your vehicle is the quality of your tires. In recent years, Firestone tires have come under criticism because certain models were more likely than other models and brands to experience random blowouts of such a proportion as to cause your vehicle to roll. Most of the models that came under fire were those commonly used on sport utility vehicles. As a result, the number of SUV rollover lawsuits increased substantially in the first few years of this century.

Weather and speed can also be a contributing factor in the accident you have experienced. They are often not the only factors at play, however. In most cases, qualified experts can determine what percentage of an accident is due to weather and speed, so that the other percentages can also be assigned and damages recovered. For instance, let's say experts determine that speed on wet roads contributed to the accident, but that the vehicle was also prone to rolling over due to equipment design.

In this example, those experts may decide that weather and speed contributed 40% to the cause of the accident but car design contributed 60%, you can still press a suit against the manufacturer to recover 60% of the damages caused. Therefore if the cost to repair the vehicle is $10,000 and the cost of your hospital bill totals $1,500, you can seek damages totaling $6,900 from the vehicle manufacturer. It is highly likely that the manufacturer will see out their own experts to assign percentages and assess damage values. Cases are often settle for the amount that divides the difference between the plaintiff and defendant's assessments.

You'll also need to account for the role any other vehicles played in your accident. Did another vehicle swerve in your direction, causing your accident? Were you rear-ended or hit head-on? Did another vehicle lose control, causing you to do the same? SUV rollover lawsuits can often have more than one defendant named; again, experts can be used to assign percentages of responsibility to determine which defendants are responsible for what damages.

After assigning blame, you'll need to determine whether or not to seek punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. Punitive damages are used as a means to "punish" defendants for their actions. When you consult with an attorney prior to filing your SUV rollover lawsuit, they can advise you on whether or not punitive damages are appropriate in the case of your accident, and if they are appropriate, to what extent they are sought.

Finally, whether the accident caused injury or death must be carefully considered. Obviously, the affect of a death is far greater than an injury and will likely cause you to seek far greater damages. When seeking damages for your family because of a death, you must consider loss of wages, loss of enjoyment, loss of companionship as well as other factors and losses you will suffer because of the death.

Once you have compiled all of the information and documentation you need and consulted with a qualified attorney, you will be able to pursue an SUV rollover lawsuit that can bring closure and compensation to yourself and your family.

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