Few vehicles have a poorer safety record than 15-passenger vans. In fact, the propensity to roll over is so hazardous that 80% of van rollover accidents result in death. And when death occurs, often it is for multiple victims. The legal issues in a van rollover can be complicated, and a New York van rollover lawyer can help you understand your rights following such an accident.
15-passenger vans are so dangerous the federal government has enacted laws prohibiting transport of school children in them. This unfortunately does not keep unwary adults from using them for day care centers, youth and adult centers, 4-H Club and YMCA outings, and sports events. Imagine your daughter taking a van to an after-school soccer match, only to end up a tragic statistic.
Why Are Vans So Dangerous?
Many New York van rollover attorneys argue that what makes 15-passenger vans so dangerous is design flaw. They are higher than most other vehicles, and therefore have a higher center of gravity. This renders them unstable, particularly when they travel at speeds above 50 mph. Put the van on a curved or rain-slickened road, and the risk is even greater. Moreover, though these vehicles are designed to hold 14 passengers and a driver, studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that they are significantly more unstable when ten or more passengers are aboard, and are five times more likely to roll over. If the roof is loaded with luggage, the van is little more than a death trap.
Countless incidents of Sunday School children and Girl Scouts succumbing in van rollover accidents has had little effect on manufacturers who could make design changes. Indeed, in 2003 the NHTSA issued the Action Plan for 15-Passenger Van Safety, but almost nothing has come of it. A stability control system was designed in the 1990s which has been adopted in Europe, and may help save lives, but manufacturers in the U.S. have not added it to vans sold here.
Who Is at Risk?
Meanwhile, 15-passenger vans continue to be used to transport those most vulnerable to injury – children and the elderly – with the specter of a tragic rollover looming behind the next curve in the road. If you or a loved one suffers an injury in one of these vehicles, however, a New York van rollover lawyer will be able to assist you in recovering damages for medical costs, loss of wages, pain, and suffering. If a loved one is lost, remuneration for funeral costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, as well as other expenses, may be possible.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a New York accident, the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options. Please contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). We can also help with personal injury cases in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.