Van Accident Lawyer Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Passenger vans are popular for people who are traveling in large groups because these motor vehicles can accommodate many people and large loads of cargo. However, because vans are so large and carry so much weight, collisions with these vehicles can be fatal. In fact, out of all vehicles, vans are the most likely to be involved in rollover auto accidents. The rollover risk of vans is exceptionally high. Statistics show passenger vans have contributed to accidents causing hundreds of serious injuries and deaths.
The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued several warnings to users of 15-passenger vans because of an increased rollover risk under certain conditions. When there are many passengers in a van, or when a van is going above 50 miles an hour, vans become much more unstable than SUVs, pick up trucks or other vehicles. Statistically, large 15-passenger vans are five times more likely to roll over when filled with passengers than when there is only one person in the van. The greater passenger weight in a fully loaded van raises the van's center of gravity and shifts it toward the rear. As a result, the van has less resistance to rolling over in an accident or emergency.
In addition, because vans handle very differently from smaller passenger vehicles due to their size, they require additional reliance on the side mirrors for changing lanes, more space, additional braking distances, and have a higher risk of crashes and rollovers if not properly driven and maintained. According to the Department of Transportation website, NHTSA research showed that in majority of cases the high risk of rollover is due to:
1) Inexperienced drivers;
2) Improperly sized and/or inflated tires;
3) Incorrectly loaded cargo and passengers that affect center of gravity.
When van drivers fail to exercise caution, and other driver's are injured, the passenger van driver or passenger van company can be held liable. After a person has been injured in a van accident, he/she is legally entitled to seek compensation from the passenger van driver or passenger van company. A van accident victim may seek monetary damages for his/her: medical expenses, injuries, lost wages, lost future income, physical and mental impairment, property damage, and pain and suffering. The Lassen Law Firm, Pennsylvania van accident lawyers, have been representing passengers injured in rollover accidents for over a decade. We are a dedicated team of experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorneys whose work is focused on getting the injured party the highest compensation available under the law. If you have been the victim of a van crash, and have sustained serious injuries, please call the Lassen Law Firm, Pennsylvania van accident attorneys, to see how we can help you recover a money award for your damages arising out of the crash.
Safety Tips to Avoid Rollovers
Rollover crashes account for over 33% of all passenger fatalities each year. More than 10,000 people are killed in rollover accidents annually. The following is a list of measures that can prevent rollover accidents:
Do Not Use a Passenger Van as a School Bus
School buses are generally designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in avoiding crashes and preventing injuries. In fact, school buses are the safest mode of transportation for transporting children back and forth to school. A school should not use a passenger van as a school bus for safety purposes. Pre-primary, primary and secondary schools should not use 15-passenger vans for transporting school children, as they do not provide the same level of safety as school buses. In addition, federal law prohibits schools from buying new 15-passenger vans for school transportation purposes.
Church groups, other non-profit organizations and colleges should exercise caution if they keep older vans in service longer than usual.
Fasten Your Seatbelt
Passengers are 75% less likely to be killed in a rollover accident if they are wearing a seatbelt. The importance of wearing a seatbelt cannot be overestimated. In 2011, the majority of passengers who sustained serious bodily injuries were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.
Do Not Overload the Van
15-passenger vans are very sensitive to loading and should not be overloaded under any circumstances. NHTSA research shows overloading not only increases rollover risk but makes the vehicle more unstable in any handling maneuvers. The driver should know the maximum allowable load and should avoid exceeding the weight limit.
Check Tires Regularly
Tire maintenance is paramount to preventing tragedies, such as rollover crashes, from occurring. Users of vans need to ensure the vehicles have appropriately-sized tires that are properly inflated before every trip. Tires tend to degrade over time. For this reason, it is recommended that spare tires not be used as replacements for worn tires. In fact, many tire manufacturers recommend that tires older than 10 years not be used at all.
Proper tire pressure is also an important part of maintaining tires. Before taking a trip, a van driver should examine tire pressure and make sure there are no signs of wear. Correct tire size and inflation pressure information can be found in the owner's manual.
Chances of being injured in a rollover accident may be reduced by observing speed limits and not drinking and driving.
Drive the Safest Van Possible
Generally, taller, narrower vehicles are more likely to roll over. It is prudent to research the safety features of a van before buying one. Because the driver of a van is responsible for many passengers whom he or she will be transporting, the driver owes them a heightened duty of due care. Usually, newer vans are designed to be safer than older vans and they feature more safety devices to protect the van from a rollover.
The Lassen Law Firm only deducts a 29% contingency fee, not the standard 45% like other firms. We serve ALL of Pennsylvania. We can sign you up over the phone and start working on your case today.
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Authored by: Christian Lassen