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How Safe Are Sunroofs in Rollover Crashes?

Dover Car Accident Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Can Help You if You Have Been Injured in a Rollover Collision.

Sunroofs are a popular feature on many vehicles. They allow more sunlight to brighten the interior, increase airflow, and provide more general comfort for you and your passengers.

However, when there is a hole in the roof of your car covered by glass, it is reasonable to wonder about potential safety issues. You might be especially concerned about the sunroof if a rollover accident were to occur.

Fortunately, a sunroof does not make your vehicle more dangerous during a rollover car accident. Your vehicle’s design and safety features should protect you and your passengers.

How Does the Cabin and Roof Protect Passengers During Rollovers?

Car manufacturers account for the potential of rollovers and other types of accidents when designing vehicles with sunroofs. They design and build vehicles that are not weakened by the inclusion of a sunroof.

The porthole that contains the sunroof does not weaken the cabin or roof. All vehicles have four pillars that create a rigid structure that runs from the frame to the rooftop. The roof also is designed to withstand hard impacts and support the weight of the vehicle if it rolls onto the roof.

The cabin also is designed to create a secure seating area for passengers. The addition of seat belts and airbags helps to protect against rollover injuries.

The sunroof has virtually no effect on your vehicle’s ability to maintain its structural integrity during a rollover accident. It does not weaken the roof or make it less likely to withstand the effects of a rollover accident. Additionally, the glass of a sunroof should be laminated by the manufacturer to prevent it from shattering.

Wearing seat belts will prevent ejections from the vehicle, so having a sunroof should not create any significant dangers during a rollover.

Ejections Are the Greatest Danger in Rollover Accidents

Ejections make rollover accidents among the deadliest types of auto accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says rollover accidents account for about 30 percent of vehicular fatalities, meaning rollovers cause about 12,000 traffic deaths every year.

A partial or full ejection from a vehicle leaves a person completely vulnerable to deadly injuries. The person could land on pavement or be struck by the rolling vehicle. A tremendous amount of injury causes ejections, and there are no safety devices that protect a passenger who has been ejected from a vehicle. If your sunroof is open, that could raise the potential for part or all of your body to be ejected during a rollover.

Vehicle ejections can occur during rollover accidents. Open windows and unbuckled seat belts also enable ejections from vehicles during rollover accidents. Rollover accidents account for 47 percent of passenger fatalities in light trucks, more than double the 22 percent rollover fatality rate among passenger cars.

How to Help Prevent Ejections During Rollovers?

You need to keep your vehicle in good driving condition to help minimize the potential for a rollover accident. The less prone that your vehicle is to a rollover accident, the lower the odds of a potentially deadly ejection of one or more passengers.

  • Make sure your tires and suspension components are in working order. A sudden failure by a tire, tie rod end, a ball joint, or a similar part could cause the sudden loss of control at the wheel. Tires and suspension components are especially important for reducing the potential for a rollover accident.
  • Regularly inspect and rotate your tires, checking air pressure and tread. If you have a sudden tire failure, your vehicle might roll.
  • Regular maintenance of the suspension, steering, and wheel will help to prevent rollover accidents.
  • Ensure that you and any passengers wear seat belts while traveling. Seat belts are designed to hold you in place during an accident, including a rollover. The NHTSA says you are 10 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle if you are not wearing a seat belt.

Potential Third-Party Liability if Injuries Occur

If you suffer injuries in a rollover accident, third-party liability might apply. Vehicles and their components must be designed and built to reasonably minimize potential injuries.

  • The sunroof might shatter if it was improperly designed. The manufacturer of the sunroof and your vehicle might be liable for your injuries.
  • If your vehicle rolled and the roof collapsed, a faulty body design might be responsible. The automaker might be liable for those injuries.
  • Claims for third-party liability require you to reasonably demonstrate two things: evidence of negligence and evidence of the harm done.
  • Evidence of negligence is the more difficult to prove. You could do so by showing statistics from other accidents that demonstrate that a particular model of vehicle is especially prone to rollover accidents due to its design.
  • The sunroof might have been made without a protective coating to prevent shattering. If so, you could argue that it was not made reasonably safe.

Proving harm or negligence is easier when showing evidence of the damage and injuries caused by said negligence. An experienced car accident lawyer is the best resource for building a strong case for liability and damages.

Dover Car Accident Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Can Help You if You Have Been Injured in a Rollover Collision

Sunroofs could contribute to serious injuries during a rollover collision. If you have been injured in a rollover collision, our Dover car accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. can help. Call 302-656-5445 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. With offices in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we represent clients in Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.