Advocating for Victims of Defective Vehicles – Chicagoland Passenger Van Rollover Lawyer
15-passenger vans constitute an enticing transportation option for church youth groups, school field trips, recreational sports teams, senior citizens on nursing home outings, and many other groups. The appeal of these large passenger vans is that they provide a method for transporting a significant number of passengers and gear for a much lower price than the cost of a bus. Although 15 passenger vans are often entrusted with children, senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and other people who are particularly vulnerable to injury, these large passenger vans are among the most dangerous vehicles traveling the roads of Chicago and the surrounding areas. Passenger vans that seat 15 occupants pose an exceptionally high risk of causing catastrophic injury and wrongful death because they are prone to rollover in a collision.
Our knowledgeable and experienced Chicagoland 15 passenger van accident attorneys are well-versed in the handling limitations and safety risks posed by these vehicles, which are often used for group excursions. We have in excess of 45 years of collective experience representing people who suffer severe, debilitating injuries and wrongful death in 15 passenger van accidents, and we have recovered over $40 million in settlements and verdicts for our clients. Our Chicago 15 passenger van rollover accident lawyers have the litigation war chest, extensive experience, and tenacity to take on manufacturers of these defective vehicles. We work closely with nationally renowned experts in areas like vehicle engineering, vehicle safety, and accident reconstruction. Our lawyers also assist clients in seeking medical treatment, so that prompt evidence can be gathered regarding the cause and extent of a vehicle occupant’s injury.
15 Passenger Vans Prone to Rollover Accidents
Safety concerns regarding 15 passenger vans arose as far back as the 1990s because of the vehicles’ tendency to rollover in a collision. Between 1994 and 2004, these vehicles were involved in over 1,500 fatal collisions. Despite an increased focus on the safety of these large top-heavy vehicles, a study conducted in 2007 found that fatalities involving 15 passenger vans had increased by almost twenty percent over the prior year, and the number of fatalities in vans that actually rolled over increased 73 percent. The rollover risk associated with a 15 passenger van increases along with the load from additional passengers and cargo. Research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that a 15 passenger van with at least ten occupants was almost three time more likely to rollover than one transporting only 4 occupants.
While these vehicles are naturally prone to rollover because of their high center of gravity, the danger is exacerbated by higher number of passengers or more cargo. When weight is added to the vehicle by increasing the number of occupants or cargo, the vehicle’s center of gravity becomes higher and shifts toward the rear of the vehicle. This shift impacts the handling of the vehicle, so it is less stable, which creates a higher risk of drivers losing control while executing emergency handling maneuvers. While electronic stability control (ESC) systems are now mandatory on all new vehicles, many older models still on the roads are not equipped with this safety feature that can help drivers maintain control when a vehicle enters a skid.
Factors Increasing the Risk of 15 Passenger Van Rollover Accidents
Although an increased passenger or cargo load constitute the most likely factor that contributes to 15 passenger van rollover accidents, there are other factors that also increase the risk:
- Tire Maintenance: When tires are underinflated, old, or worn, the risk of a rollover accident rises significantly because a tire blowout can force the driver to exercise emergency maneuvers and lose control of the vehicle.
- Inexperienced Drivers: 15 passenger vans do not handle like a typical vehicle, so they should be driven by professional drivers experienced with their unique handling issues. Organizations often enlist a member of the organization or parent to drive the vehicle who lacks the training necessary to safely operate these large top-heavy vehicles.
- Seatbelt Use: Although rollover accidents are always dangerous, the decision to buckle up can mitigate the risk of suffering catastrophic injury or death in a 15 passenger van accident. A study conducted by the NHTSA found that only twenty percent of vehicle occupants killed in 15 passenger van rollovers were wearing a seat belt.
If you are involved in a crash involving a 15 passenger van, you might have a right to pursue compensation from a number of potentially negligent parties that include:
- Driver of the passenger van
- Organization that set up the excursion
- Manufacturer or retailer of the van and/or defective components/parts
- Driver of a vehicle other than the passenger van
- Public entity for unsafe roadways
- Employer of the driver
- Owner of the 15-passenger van
Contact Stein & Shulman Today
We invite you to contact us if you or someone you love has been injured in a crash involving a 15-passenger van. Our Chicago 15-passenger van accident attorneys at Stein & Shulman, LLC can provide the perfect balance of experience, expertise, empathy, diligence, and tenacity to help you obtain the best possible outcome for you and your family. If you or your loved one has suffered a serious injury in a 15-passenger van rollover crash, contact us today at (312) 422-0500 or email us to schedule your no obligation free consultation.
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