Accidents can be unpleasant and inevitable at times, resulting in tragic outcomes. One such horrifying road accident is a roof crush. It happens when a car’s roof caves in and falls. The result of this is pretty obvious. Individuals in the vehicle during the crash will suffer serious injuries. Accidents often occur due to factors that can be avoided, like other motorists' recklessness on the roadway and poor road maintenance and cleaning.

Our attorneys at the Foos Gavin Law Firm in Sacramento are skilled in handling personal injury lawsuits and assisting our clients in ensuring they get fair compensation for their injuries. We also offer legal advice to those aggrieved on managing settlement agreements once their compensation eligibility has been determined.

An Overview of Roof Crush Accidents

Roof crush accidents occur when a vehicle's roof caves in and collapses during a crash. Roof crush is typical when an automobile rolls over, and the entire weight is exerted on the vehicle's roof. Automobile roofs are designed to endure intense pressure during an accident.

An automobile’s roof is more likely to collapse under pressure if it is made of poor-quality components or improperly installed. Roof crush is most likely caused by rollovers, which are also quite dangerous. The following are some possible causes of roof crush:

  • They used inferior parts to make the roof
  • Engaging untrained individuals to repair the vehicle with cheap items to save money
  • Minimal and inadequate vehicle inspection
  • Gluing over significant gaps instead of replacing or repairing the materials
  • Failure to carry out needed maintenance and repair

Victims of car accidents suffer serious injuries or even succumb to the injuries, depending on the severity of the impact. If you sustain injuries in a roof crush, you will be eligible to get compensation. Also, if your loved one died due to roof crush injuries, you could pursue a wrongful death claim. However, you must demonstrate fault in the collision before getting compensation.

Leading Cause of Roof Crush Collisions

As a driver, you should know the common factors leading to roof crush accidents. Understanding the causes can help you avoid tragic events that could harm you, your family and friends, and other road users.

The common causes of roof crushing incidents include flaws with the vehicle's structural design, assembly, and fittings. They can also occur when cars roll over and land on their roof. If the vehicle crashes and lands upside down, the top will most likely crush on the occupants.

Roof crush accidents are usually caused by the following:

Multiple Vehicle Collisions

Car accidents often occur at intersections due to the numerous roadways and lanes that cross and meet at intersection points. Therefore, if a motorist fails to follow the traffic laws when approaching a crossroad, he or she could cause several vehicles to crash.

Violent car accidents caused by excessive speed driving can cause cars to roll high and crash on their roofs, resulting in a roof crush. Furthermore, some would violently roll over and land on another vehicle's roof.

A roof crush accident is unavoidable if a falling car lands on your vehicle's roof. The situation gets even worse if the vehicle in question is significantly heavier and more significant in weight. For instance, if a truck flips over and crashes on your automobile's roof, the pressure would be too great for the roof crush resistance of your vehicle. Consequently, you could sustain severe injuries due to the roof crush.

Defective Tires

Car manufacturers should appropriately fit car tires to the rims to prevent them from detaching or rolling away while the vehicle is in motion. When the tire casings easily separate and leave the automobile unstable, it could swiftly lose stability and tip over. Furthermore, the driver could lose control and collide with other vehicles.

Defective tires are also the ones that deflate quickly, resulting in flat tires. A flat tire can cause a vehicle to topple over, especially while driving at high speeds. If the rollover accident is extreme, the vehicle's roof could easily cave in and crash on the occupants within the car.

Rollover Accident

A vehicle heading down a sloping road may roll over repeatedly before landing. Once the vehicle stops, the roof is usually destroyed and collapsed. Driving at excessive speeds is a leading cause of rollover accidents. Hitting the brake pedal abruptly after speeding for a period can result in a change in the vehicle's center of gravity.

As a result, the vehicle will tumble and roll over. Sharp speed bumps are an excellent example of overspeeding-related causes of rollover accidents. If the motorist did not spot the speed bump in time, he or she would try to slow down quickly enough to evade it. When the effort fails, the vehicle rolls over, leading to a roof crush.

Sharp corners are another common cause of rollover car accidents, specifically if the motorist is unaware of them. Motor vehicles get unstable when the wheels get turned abruptly. This would more likely cause the car to roll over.

The pressure exerted on the vehicle's overall body is enough to result in irreversible damage to the automobile. The damage extends to the roof as well. Furthermore, occupants in the car stand a high chance of sustaining fatal injuries while rolling. These occupants can easily lose their lives from the injuries suffered by debris and pressure exerted on them when rolling over.

In some cases, the roof would completely crush and detach from the vehicle due to the accident. Therefore, occupants get ejected quickly from the car when part of the roof is missing. This is risky because victims are exposed to more danger, resulting in long-lasting physical injuries.

Center of Gravity

When a vehicle's center of gravity is considerably high, all its weight is shifted to the upper part. The vehicle's high center of gravity (COG) makes it more unstable, and any sudden brakes or turns made could force the car to flip over and crash.

Buses and heavy trucks are the most commonly affected by rollovers caused by a high center of gravity. Huge trucks will likely roll over and incur a roof-crush catastrophe if the weight of the cargo and passengers they are transporting shifts the center of gravity to the top.

If the vehicle's roof is not strong enough, it will fall off and disengage entirely from the vehicle's body. The destruction caused by this type of incident is severe, given that the weight shift is primarily due to the cargo carried.

Low-Cost Manufacturing

Despite the mandated roof crush resistance standards, some manufacturers use low-cost materials and cheap labor during manufacturing. Quality control officials are often duped by the tactics used by unethical manufacturers after obtaining substandard or counterfeit material that appears to be identical to the genuine materials.

Manufacturing companies who make inferior car roofs rarely consider the consequences of their actions since car owners are at risk of roof crush incidents due to substandard roofs. In most situations, even if a lighter vehicle crashes and lands upside down, a car manufactured using inferior materials would quickly crash and endanger the occupants.

Faulty Installation

A car's roof would often meet the required standards. However, if the manufacturers did not correctly install the vehicle's roof, it could collapse or detach from the entire body, exposing the occupants to further injuries. For instance, if the gap left to fit the car roof's length does not match the installer's mount, the top will not hold properly. As a result, if the vehicle is subjected to slight force, it will fall off.

Faulty installations also affect vehicles that were once in good condition but now require extensive repairs at a service shop. If the professional in charge of the roof re-installation is unfamiliar with the model of the vehicle or the appropriate installation methods, then he or she would put you at risk of getting a roof crush in the future.

Roadside Debris

Objects and materials cause several roof crush accidents on the roadways. These materials are also known as debris. If rocks are in the middle of the road, an unknowing motorist may run over them, thus causing their vehicle to flip over.  Such events could quickly turn into a rollover accident and crush the vehicle's roof.

Roof crush incidents can also be caused by debris in multiple vehicle accidents. When a vehicle collides with another, the impact could toss oversized and heavy pieces of debris in the air and fall on top of other cars.

Depending on the force exerted on the vehicle's roof, it could be disfigured or crashed enough to develop holes. The falling debris will cause a motorist or other passengers to sustain fatal head injuries if it reaches the automobile's interior through the roof's cracks.

Faulty Design

Drivers in convertibles or automobiles with sunroofs would be more vulnerable to roof crushes. The increased risk is due to the vehicle's design, which creates a weaker front for the vehicle's roof to get smashed than regular steel roofs would.

Suppose the hydraulic system of a convertible vehicle fails to appropriately set the vehicle's roof back in place due to a malfunction. In that case, it could easily crash in a road accident. Furthermore, some of the vehicle's sunroofs are built on solid pyrex, which is meant to be long-lasting.

Despite the durability tests, glass-like materials are more vulnerable to damage than traditional steel used in automobile roof design. Therefore, if the vehicle's unique design features are flawed, motorists using them have a higher risk of experiencing roof crushes if an accident occurs.

Injuries Caused by Roof Crush Accidents

Accidents involving roof crush undoubtedly result in some of the most severe injuries to the victims. Individuals may suffer long-term consequences due to hazardous situations and would be forced to live with that condition for the rest of their lives.  The effects are significantly worse for occupants who have not worn their seat belts, especially if they're ejected from the vehicle.

They are more prone to falling, injuring crucial body organs, or fracturing their bones. Personal injuries caused by roof crush tragedies include the following:

     1. Brain Injury

If a vehicle's roof collapses on the occupant's head, they would almost certainly sustain serious brain injuries. First, the skull would fracture, exposing the brain's sensitive tissue to lethal force. The consequences of brain trauma are catastrophic because the brain controls most of the body's functions.

A brain injury would, at best, result in concussions or chronic headaches. Another common sign of brain injury is dizziness, especially if it's recurrent. Painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications may treat the patient's persistent and chronic symptoms. However, in severe brain injury cases, most of the brain's matter is often severely damaged. As a result, the victim may enter a coma and remain in a vegetative state for varied periods.

The patient may also go in and out of the coma, discouraging friends, family, and professionals caring for them. Occasionally full recovery is unattainable, and the injured person may remain dependent for an extended period.

Most medical professionals advise the victim's immediate family to grant permission for the doctor to stop the treatment if a full recovery is not possible. Therefore, a catastrophic brain injury could result in wrongful death.

     2. Wrongful Death

Roof crush accidents also result in a high number of fatalities. When a vehicle's roof crashes on a person, the impact is too intense to bear. Aside from that, the victim's body may sustain severe injuries from the sharp debris and damaged roof parts. They could lose a lot of blood and succumb to injuries.

Death occurs mainly because the brain's blood supply is required for the body's normal functioning to continue. Additionally, enough blood must flow to the heart to keep it pumping regularly and at the appropriate pressure. Therefore, death could be unavoidable if an individual loses a lot of blood.

In other cases, death occurs when the injured person is already in the hospital and seeking medical care. Doctors may overlook key indicators of organ failure, which can lead to death. For instance, if a car accident victim develops blood clots that reach the heart veins, they could die suddenly due to such a minor condition. Therefore, doctors should thoroughly examine vehicle accident victims to eliminate avoidable deaths.

     3. Bruises

If a person is fortunate enough, then he or she would escape with minor wounds. Such injuries fall on the less severe end of the fatal injury spectrum since they can range from slight to mildly painful bruises. Patients generally get bruises due to the sharp metal edges that could hurt them when the vehicle's parts fall apart.

Bruises are often easy to manage. They need to be dressed and cleaned constantly. The next step is ensuring no bacteria can penetrate the exposed region because the body will be more susceptible to disease-causing pathogens.

Complications are much more likely to occur if microbe exposure occurs. The infections can be severe and necessitate intrusive procedures such as surgery to manage the issue.

     4. Fractures of the Bone

Bone fractures are a common injury suffered by car accident victims. If a roof collapses into the automobile, your initial instinct could be to shield your head using both arms to safeguard your face or head from sustaining injuries. Even though doing this is beneficial, it exposes the arms to the massive weight of the metal roof.

As a result, your arms could suffer from serious fractures. The fractures mainly damage the radius, ulna, and humerus bones, which sustain your arm from the wrist to the shoulder.

Additionally, you could fracture your legs if thrown from a moving car. You could be ejected from the automobile with great force if the roof is defective and tears open. You will most likely use your legs to land.

However, the impact of landing can completely break or fracture your bones. Leg fractures have a wider effect on victims since they severely restrict their ability to move. When a person suffers severe injuries, they must seek medical attention and use braces or plasters to manage the fracture. Any patient who uses the plaster could suffer discomfort due to its rigidity.

     5. Spinal Injuries

The spinal cord could be subjected to undue force when you land on your back after being ejected from the car. Your backbone gives your body stability and allows you to stand or sit straight. Consequently, the overall body posture could drastically deteriorate if it sustains substantial injury in a roof crush incident.

Additionally, the spine is crucial in housing nerve fibers transmitting key information throughout the body. Some of these are sensory receptors that send messages in response to temperature changes or touch. Such nerves could be destroyed and inhibited from working correctly when the spine is injured.

As a result, you could suffer from full or partial paralysis. A paralysis dysfunction tends to cause significant alterations in the sufferers' daily lives since many lose their motor function. They cannot move part or most of their body parts due to the lack of locomotive function.

As a result, they become reliant on other people because most of these individuals are bound to wheelchairs. However, with appropriate treatment, such as physical therapy, patients could make slight improvements and finally return to normal physical functions.

Compensation Claims for the Victims of Roof Crush Accidents

You have a right to financial support for all losses and damages sustained as a roof crush victim. The court must correctly determine who should be held accountable. The California comparative negligence law is applicable in civil cases, including compensation claims.  As a result, you can only obtain a full settlement once your personal injury lawyer can legally demonstrate your innocence.

Should the judge determine that you were negligent, you and the defendant will each be responsible for a percentage of the damages.

You can make the following claims to obtain compensation:

Loss of Potential Earnings

Some injuries might require you to leave your job since they completely alter your daily routine. For instance, working at a construction site might be difficult if you are required to be in a wheelchair permanently.

As a result, the responsible defendant is obligated to pay for any potential future income losses. To be able to provide a precise number, you may need the assistance of actuarial science experts.

Before approving the payout, the court also considers other aspects, such as your projected retirement date and if your position was subject to an expiring contract. Irrespective of the reasons taken into account, you'll still be compensated financially if the injury denies you the opportunity to continue working.

Healthcare Costs

The healing phase is particularly difficult for victims of roof crush accidents. They need to go to the hospital frequently for checkups and follow any prescribed new treatment regimens. For instance, if you're recuperating from severe brain trauma, you need several MRI examinations to monitor your progress.

Additionally, medicine costs are relatively high, particularly if you require recurrent prescriptions. In other circumstances, you might continue to be an inpatient at the hospital for observation.

Because all expenses are not always your fault, you're entitled to compensation for the amount spent on obtaining treatment. The burden lies on the accused to reimburse you for all the funds incurred on these treatments.

Pain and Suffering

You can go through great suffering and pain due to the roof crush incident, primarily due to the physical harm and mental anguish you sustain. Your mental state can be drastically altered as a result of the accident. Thus, you are entitled to compensation for your suffering, mainly if it keeps you from carrying on daily activities like commuting to work or school.

Wrongful Death

You are legally entitled to compensation for losing future earnings or companionship if a loved one perishes in a roof crush. Due to the unpredictable nature of each of these circumstances, the judge could also approve payment for funeral costs.

You're not required to take on the responsibility of overseeing all important events. As a result, obtaining restitution from the offender guarantees that the burden of the loss is lifted from your shoulders as you concentrate on your physical and mental healing.

Find a Sacramento County Personal Injury Attorney Near Me

Receiving compensation after being involved in a roof crush accident is challenging without the assistance of a personal injury attorney. We at the Foos Gavin Law Firm would like to make your compensation procedure go as smoothly as possible by providing skilled legal counsel and advocacy.

We look forward to hearing from you and extending our assistance to assist you in making up for any losses. Give us a call today at 916-779-3500. We serve the City of Sacramento.