Articles Posted in Roof Crush Injurries

Just as every catastrophic injury is unique and every victim is unique, so are the teams of medical and legal experts needed to handle the catastrophic injury victim’s care and their personal injury claim.

catastrophic injury treatmentExperts Utilized in Catastrophic Injury Cases — Severe Burn Injuries

The most common causes of major burn injuries in the United States are fires and scalding from hot liquids.  Although much less common, catastrophic injury burns from electricity tend to be severe because of the high temperatures involved with electrical arcing.  Severe burn injuries will require specialized treatment in burn centers that are often attached to major trauma hospitals.  Immediate dangers that must be managed include shock from fluid loss and edema.  Following that, infection is the complication most often seen with major burns due to the body’s loss of the skin as the primary barrier against microorganisms.  Once these immediate dangers are countered, other medical specialists become involved in longer term care:

In recent crash testing, minicars (such as Fiat 500 and Honda Fit) were the worst performing group with regard to safety in the small overlap frontal crash test.  Only one minicar achieved an acceptable rating in that category, the Chevrolet Spark.  That particular test measures the result of a front corner of one vehicle in a collision with another vehicle or object.  Twenty-five percent of the tested vehicles’ front end comes in to contact with a set obstacle at 40 miles per hour.  The small overlap front crash test bypasses the tested vehicles front end crush zone, making it more likely for the occupant’s compartment to collapse in the collision.

Of course, common sense would tell us that these very small vehicles have a built-in safety disadvantage, so choosing one with the highest rating possible with regard to occupant protection is crucial.  With the exception of the Chevy Spark, every other minicar rated marginal or poor for structure, which is the most important element in terms of protecting the vehicle’s occupant(s).  If the vehicle’s structure fails during a collision, the risk of injury is high.

Frontal crash tests must stay within the vehicle’s weight class, and these are light vehicles.  Obviously, they would fare much worse in a frontal crash versus a heavier vehicle.  Unless or until everyone on the road is driving a minicar, choosing one as your vehicle will put you and your occupants at a disadvantage in a crash with a larger vehicle.  Of course, many have chosen that increased risk in order to save at the gas pump, or for environmental purposes.  However, there is absolutely no denying that these vehicles represent an exchange of fuel efficiency for safety.


Rollover crashes remain one of the most deadliest of collisions.  One of the reasons they remain so deadly is due to roof crushing that occurs after the rollover.

In some cases, the fatality occurs when the roof of the vehicle hits the ground,  crushes inward toward the vehicle occupants and strikes them.  The other scenario that occurs with roof crushing is the windows, windshields or doors break or open up when the roof hits the ground.. The now deformed shape of a vehicle has wide gaps that can cause the vehicle occupants to be ejected from the vehicle.

The U.S. government passed a law in 1973.  Part of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Act. (Part 216)  required vehicle manufacturers to build vehicles that were ‘roof crush (resistant) over the passenger compartment.’  This was a good start but sadly this rule changed little in the vehicle manufacturing world.  As seen by the direct quote of the act, the rule was quite broad.  It only told the manufacturers to consider the strength of the roof but provided no specific guidelines.

The first study looks at the total count per year of spinal injuries in automobile crashes using data from 1994 to 2011. It looked at the rate of spinal cord injuries and fracture-dislocations of the vertebrae. Data from 1994-2011 was used to determine the rate of spine injuries for drivers and front seat passengers involved in a crash.

There were greater than 5,500 fracture dislocations and slightly more than 100 spinal cord injuries per year from automobile accidents. Most injuries occurred with collisions involving frontal impacts or vehicle rollovers; the least happened in rear accident. The overall rate in all accidents for spinal cord injury was at 0.054 percent and the greatestrate occurred in rollovers at 0.22 percent. For fracture dislocations of the spine, the greatest rate was 1.55 percent while the lowest rate was at 0.065 percent in rear impact accidents. Seat belt use gave an 81 percent effectiveness of reducing spinal cord injuries. The area where most injuries occurred was the C-spine (or cervical spine) which accounted for 66.3 percent of all injuries, while the thoracic spine accounted for 30.5 percent and the lumbar spine accounted for 3.2 percent. Serious head injuries happened 13.3 times more frequently than spinal cord injuries.

Basically, spinal cord injuries were present in one out of every 1,860 drivers and front seat passengers involved in a severe motor vehicle crashes. Seat belts helped reduce the risk of spinal cord injuries. Fracture dislocations happened at a rate 5.3 times as frequently as spinal cord injuries and seat belts prevented these types of interviews as well.

Most attorney’s  representing an accident victim, focus on the behavior and driving of their client and the other driver. Occasionally, there might be focus on what happened before the accident to contribute to it. Perhaps the roadway was not maintained correctly resulting in a buildup of ice, or perhaps there was a defect in road design.

In Catastrophic injury cases, however, its important for an attorney to check out the condition of the vehicle after the collision. Many many serious injuries result when a car rolls over on its roof. Studies have shown for about $100, car manufactures can put in supports that prevent the roof intrusion into the passenger compartment on most occasions.

Many years ago, Federal standards required roofs to stand up to 1.5 times pressure from the weight of the car. Many continued years of carnage on the roads have led to pressure to move that standard to 2.5 times the car’s weight for all cars and trucks over 5,000 lbs.  Car Manufacturers are united in fighting this increased standard even though they know it would save thousands of lives.

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