Few weeks or months go by without news of another passenger van accident that catastrophically injures or kills multiple passengers. Our experienced van rollover lawyers have learned, through years of litigation against the car manufacturers, that 15-passenger vans suffer from a multitude of design defects making them some of the most unsafe vehicles on the road. Our attorneys and staff of nurses, paralegals, investigators and accident reconstruction experts have shared the pain and loss of all too many parents, children, churchgoers, and students who would have never stepped foot inside these unsafe vehicles had they known about the defects and dangers.
Sadly, because these vehicles can carry a large number of people and the van drivers are not required have a special commercial drivers license, entities with limited budgets like elementary schools, high schools, and churches — unaware of the dangers of these defective vehicles — often use 15-passenger vans for trips to events and parties. Although more than thirty American states prohibit schools or day care centers from using 15 passenger vans, there are still many states that permit use of unsafe passenger vans for transporting schoolchildren and there is an ever-increasing number of church groups, convention groups, and vacation groups using fully-loaded 15-passenger vans while unaware of the dangers.
Van Rollover Crashes Are Often Caused By Defective Van Design
Government research and research done by the world’s largest automobile manufacturers indicates that there is a significant risk of rollovers, deaths and catastrophic injuries involving 15-passenger vans when they loaded with ten or more passengers. The additional passengers raise the van’s center of gravity, creating an unsafe instability, particularly when the driver encounters a road hazard and attempts an accident avoidance maneuver. Some times, the high center of gravity combines with defective tires or inexperienced drivers to cause the rollover.
When the passenger van is fully loaded, it is 6 to 7 times more likely to flip over than a van containing only the driver. In a single-vehicle crash, the rollover rate of 15-passenger van loaded with more than 10 passengers is extremely high — over 85%! — compared to a 28% rollover rate for vans carrying fewer than 5 people. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has noted that a fully loaded 15 passenger van is more likely to rollover than any other type of passenger vehicle, including minivans, cars, SUVs and trucks.
In the 1970s, the major automobile manufacturers Chrysler, Ford, Dodge, and General Motors originally designed these vehicles as cargo vans. Those companies then expanded the cargo vans and installed passenger seats yet never modified the designs to account for the higher center of gravity and to ensure the safety of passengers, such as by installing steel plates roof reinforcement or laminated windows necessary to fully protect passengers during a rollover event. When loaded with ten or more passengers, the van’s high center of gravity makes the van prone to rollover but the roofs and supporting structure are simply inadequate to protect the occupants of the vehicle in the event of a rollover crash.
Van Rollover Accident Lawsuits Hold Companies Accountable For Putting Profits Over People
When these rollover crashes occur, automobile manufactures almost inevitably blame the driver instead of taking responsibility for their own defective design. Extensive research performed by lawyers of The Beasley Firm together with some of the world’s top experts has revealed that passenger van manufacturers knew about these defects, as shown by internal corporate correspondence and their own safety testing, in which even some professional test drivers were injured. Yet, the major automobile manufacturers and dealers continue to sell these vehicles due to the high profit margin on these mass-produced vehicles.
Passengers and drivers injured or wrongfully killed in a defective van rollover accident have a legal right to hold the manufacturers responsible for their physical and financial injuries. Our experienced van rollover lawyers have proven in court, after careful examination of hundreds of thousands of corporate documents concealed from the public and hundreds of hours taking sworn deposition testimony by corporate employees, that manufacturers are more concerned about profit than safety, and so continue to produce these “unsafe at any speed” vehicles without the necessary rollover crash protections or redesign to lower the center of gravity.
Contact Our Experienced Van Rollover Accident Lawyers
If you would like a free no obligation and completely confidential consultation with one of our experienced 15 passenger van rollover lawyers contact my office at 215-948-2718 or by using the form below.