The parents of 15-year-old Skylar Carpenter are suing General Motors for her wrongful death. In theirTexas SUV rollover lawsuit, the family contends that their daughter died because the 2007 Chevrolet Suburban she had been riding in had multiple defects and was never properly tested. Becky and David Carpenter also believe that the automaker had been well aware that the sport utility vehicle would not provide adequate protection in the event of a rollover crash.
Skylar died in February 2011 when the driver of the Chevy suburban she was a passenger in lost control of the SUV, causing it to veer onto the side of the road., skid into the culvert, soar into the air, and turn over several times. At the time, Skylar and five other students were riding with a teacher to a Future Farmers of America competition.
In their SUV rollover lawsuit, the Carpenters are accusing GM of negligence in the design, manufacturing, assembly, and testing of the 2007 Chevrolet suburban. They claim that when this vehicle was made, General Motors did not conduct rollover testing. The plaintiffs also list 12 auto defects that they say the manufacturer knew existed. Their auto products liability lawyers claim that side curtain airbag failure and seat belt malfunction contributed to Skylar’s death.
Rather than keep her contained in the auto during the rollover accident, they say that the side curtain air bag was seizing and binding up, which created a huge ejection portal for occupants to be thrown through and out of the vehicle. As for the seatbelt, they believe that it did not provide the necessary restraint when it unlatched at the most inopportune time possible even though Skylar had thought it was securely fastened.
The Carpenters are accusing General Motors of making a vehicle that was “unreasonably dangerous and defective” and violated crashworthiness principals. They want damages for disfigurement, mental anguish, pain, suffering, medical bills, burial expenses, funeral costs, legal fees, and loss of care, support, maintenance, services, counsel, advice, consortium, companionship.
SUV Rollover Accidents
In its recent release of its Traffic Safety Facts for 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2010 rollover crashes were the cause of over 35% of all vehicle occupant fatalities. Among that percentage, 57% of rollover crashes deaths involved SUVs.
That said, auto manufacturers have known for some time that SUVs by design generally tend to be more prone to roll over under certain conditions and in situations than most vehicles. It is their job to minimize the risk of rollovers and in the event one were to occur to make sure that all the necessary steps have been taken to prevent serious injury or death. When negligence or defects contributes to someone getting hurt, the victim and his/her family may have grounds for an auto products liabilitycase.