$600,000 Settlement – Defective Roof Design / SUV Rollover

The firm represented a family of a husband, wife, and three children. In 2002, the family was heading southbound on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey in a 1996 SUV. In the rear seat were the three children. The SUV lost control when the driver swerved to avoid a vehicle that cut him off, after which the SUV rolled over.

During the rollover, the SUV’s roof crushed in causing the side windows to break. Because the side glass in the SUV was tempered glass, it immediately broke away leaving a large hole in the side of the vehicle. As a result of that opening, three of the passengers were ejected from the vehicle and sustained numerous injuries. The driver and passenger who remained in the vehicle during the rollover sustained only minor injuries.

Since its release, this particular SUV has experienced an unusually high number of rollover accidents with serious injuries. During its testing and development, the vehicle manufacturer’s own engineers recognized the problems with this SUV, and suggested ways to fix its stability and roof design deficiencies. It took more than a decade for this manufacturer to finally address some of this SUV’s problems by increasing roof strength, using laminated glass and/or inflatable side curtain air bags to prevent ejection; and utilized several alternative suspension designs which could have remedied the SUV’s obvious stability problems much earlier.