If you have been injured in an accident in Los Angeles involving an SUV and need a lawyer please do not hesitate to contact me. The call is free and I have helped the injured recover millions in compensation.
What defines an SUV?
An SUV is a sport utility vehicle. While various vehicles fit the description, such as the Chevrolet Suburban, released in 1935, most consider the first SUV to be the Jeep Cherokee. SUVs exploded in popularity around 1992.
How Are SUV Accidents Different Than Car Accidents?
SUV accidents can be different than passenger car accidents in several ways.
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First, SUVs are typically bigger, heavier and often built with more and stronger safety features. In a head-on collision, an SUV will usually do far more damage to a car than a car will to an SUV. People injured in SUV accidents could be the driver or passenger of an SUV. Or, another driver may have been injured by someone driving an SUV.
Secondly, SUVs are more likely to roll over than cars. This isn’t as important when other people and vehicles are involved, but in a one-vehicle accident, it’s much more dangerous for an SUV than it is for a car. Death is more likely in an SUV rollover.
Overall, modern SUVs are much safer than earlier versions, and the drivers know it, which presents a very different issue: complacency. SUV drivers understand, even if subconsciously, that they have an advantage. This tends to lead to drivers accepting higher levels of risk. That doesn’t mean that they speed or drive aggressively, but rather that they, say, sometimes do things like merge and let the other guy figure it out. Or they may follow too close.
In other words, the psychology of feeling secure on the road can cause problems. This isn’t likely to happen in, say, a Cooper Mini, because a small car is at everyone else’s mercy in a way an SUV can never be. Just as an SUV can cause a driver to be complacent, a very small car forces a driver to contemplate his or her mortality on a daily basis.
Types of SUV Accidents
Although many SUVs may be “safer” than normal passenger vehicles (think of the greater size, weight, more airbags and safety features built into the body of the vehicle), this category of vehicle has unique risks as well, in Los Angeles and worldwide.
In particular, many SUVs have a much higher center of gravity than do normal passenger cars and are thus much more likely to roll over. Passenger cars have roughly a 10% chance of rolling over in single vehicle accident; SUVs have between a 14% to 23% chance of rolling over. Many of these rollovers are caused when the SUV is “tripped,” meaning that it hits a curb or low spot of some sort.
Rollovers can also happen when a driver falls asleep and overcompensates upon waking up, or when swerving to avoid hitting a deer.
An SUV also has potentially deadly advantages in collisions with smaller vehicles.
The much heavier SUV tends to cause severe damage to smaller cars in collisions. In addition, some are high enough to simply crush the front ends of passenger cars – and potentially the passengers as well. The parts of an SUV designed to deal with accidents are simply higher than those of cars and the “hard parts” win over the soft meat of the hood, windshield and interior of cars.
Imagine a particularly small car, say a Mazda RX-7, then imagine how it would stand up in an accident with an SUV.
It’s a battle a car really can’t win.
SUVs have other issues as well. They can make it hard for smaller vehicles (even smaller SUVs) to see around them. The other driver may not be able to see lights, signs or other vehicles.
In addition, some large SUVs may offer limited sight on the side and in the rear.
By now, most of us have heard of someone backing out of the driveway and running over a child who couldn’t be seen – sometimes even one’s own.
Rear-mounted cameras have been introduced to help deal with this.
Anyone who has driven an SUV immediately realizes – this is a bigger thing than I’m used to.
They simply take more space. This can pose real dangers to bicyclists.
On a more prosaic level, bigger vehicles are harder to park, and parking accidents are therefore fairly common.
Common Injuries in SUV Accidents
Although SUVs are in many ways safer than other passenger vehicles, they are much more vulnerable in single car accidents. They’re prone to rollover accidents, which have a high fatality level. SUV rollovers are only 4% of the total traffic accidents, but they result in 30% of all traffic deaths.
A rollover can also cause back and neck injuries, spinal cord trauma, traumatic brain injuries and/or brain damage, paralysis, fractures, lacerations and internal bleeding.
Fractions and lacerations can cause disfigurement that may be with you for the rest of your life.
Trauma can be defined as the transfer of energy to the body from an outside force. Trauma to the brain and spine are potentially very dangerous.
Injuries to the brain and spinal cord can be life changing. You could face months or years of arduous rehab and some injuries simply can’t be overcome. Medical science has no answer for paralysis and traumatic brain injuries can change your personality and limit your independence.
Side impact airbags are specifically designed to prevent traumatic head and spine injuries. If you buy an SUV, you should look for one with side airbags and you should also seek a vehicle with Electronic Stability Technology, which will help limit the chance of a rollover accident.
SUVs are also subject to blind spot crashes. Because of the height and size of these vehicles, it’s often very difficult to see what’s in your blind spot. An SUV driver can be very careful and still miss someone in the blind spot, resulting in a crash.
A far more tragic problem with SUV blindspots involves backover accidents, where SUVs back over people, often small children, who cannot be seen in a rearview mirror.
Many SUVs now offer backup cameras to help mitigate this.
What Are The Safest SUVS Available?
If you decide that an SUV is the automobile which best suits your needs, as with any purchase, you should thoroughly research your choices and buy one which offers maximum safety for your travels around Southern California.
There are three basic categories of SUVs currently: small, midsize and luxury midsize.
Here are the safest recent SUV models, according to the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (link). In particular, you may want to look into Electronic Stability Technology (EST), which limits the danger of rollover accidents.
- 2016 Audi Q3
- 2015 Buick Encore
- 2015 Chevrolet Trax
- 2015 Honda CR-V
- 2015-16 Mazda CX-5 4-door SUV
- 2016 | 2015
- 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander
- 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
- 2015 Nissan Rogue
- 2015 Subaru Forester
- 2015 Toyota RAV4
- 2015 Chevrolet Equinox
- 2015 Ford Flex
- 2015 GMC Terrain
- 2016 Honda Pilot
- 2016 Kia Sorento
- 2015 Nissan Murano
- 2015 Nissan Pathfinder
- 2015 Toyota Highlander
Midsize luxury SUVs
- 2015-16 Acura MDX 4-door SUV
- 2015 Audi Q5
- 2015 Infiniti QX60
- 2015 Lexus NX
- 2015 Mercedes M class
- 2015 Volvo XC60
- 2016 Volvo XC90
Recent 2015 Los Angeles SUV Accidents
On July 3, 2015, a driver lost control of his SUV on the 215 near Perris, resulting in a rollover accident. Four people were ejected. Three others were also injured. All injuries were classified as major and all seven passengers went to the hospital. (CBSLA)
On July 5, 2015, an SUV rolled over and fell 40+ feet into a ravine near Azusa. Two children, a 12-year-old girl and a seven-year-old boy, died in the crash. Their parents and a 13-year-old daughter were found outside the vehicle. (KTLA)
On August 13, 2015, a man lost control of his Ford Explorer and crossed all lanes on Northbound 405 before colliding with a box truck. The box truck hit the Explorer on the driver’s side. The driver died at the scene. There were four other passengers in the Explorer, a woman and three children. One, six-year-old Luz Yanet Sifuentes, was pronounced dead at the hospital. Three passengers in the truck also went to the hospital. (KTLA)
Choosing an SUV accident Lawyer
When choosing an accident lawyer be sure to select an attorney who has experience with car accidents. Here, I work directly with all of my clients. You are not just a number like at some other firms. If you have been injured you have many questions and are probably (and rightfully so) worried about others taking advantage of your situation. Call me, Allen Vaysberg, today for help.