The Willis Law Firm has heard many such questions from Americans who suffered a wrongful death in their family due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing. The answer to such questions may involve filing a product liability lawsuit claiming payments from a negligent manufacturer or seller whose product — in this case, a pickup truck — caused someone’s death, as in a rollover accident.
Your State has Product Liability Laws
There are no federal laws about product liability. Rather, each state has its own laws concerning product liability lawsuits.
In general, all states’ laws allow you to sue for a wrongful death caused by a product due to a defective design or manufacturing failure, or if the maker or seller failed to warn consumers properly about possible risks of the product.
Keep in mind that a fatal traffic accident also can be due to driver error. That could mitigate — or lessen — the extent to which you could claim that product defects were responsible and blame the manufacturer. But this doesn’t mean that product liability laws in your state couldn’t still be applied if the vehicle involved in the death proved to be defective and those defects contributed to the rollover.
In the case of a pickup truck, being able to file a product liability lawsuit would depend in large part on pinpointing design or manufacturing defects which led to the vehicle having a fatal rollover accident.
Many pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs are taller than most passenger vehicles, and that means they have a higher center of gravity. That, in itself, can lead to a rollover.
What Triggers a Rollover?
While another vehicle could strike a pickup truck and contribute to a rollover, another vehicle may not even be involved in a fatal pickup rollover crash.
Instead, a pickup truck or some other vehicle could strike a barrier, such as a curb or a guardrail, or perhaps encounter a change in surface material of the roadway, and then lose contact with the road. The vehicle then could roll over onto one side or even upside-down. Some vehicles even roll over several times before coming to rest, perhaps on a side or on their roof.
Hitting a barrier and rolling over is known as a tripped rollover. Such rollovers comprise almost all single-vehicle rollover wrecks. As for the few untripped rollovers, these can involve a vehicle flipping over when it turns at a corner, perhaps too quickly, and destabilizes, then rolls over without first striking anything.
Pickup Trucks Can Be Dangerous
Not all vehicles are prone to rollover accidents. But as noted above, pickup trucks, like SUVs, are among those which can be more likely to roll over.
Whether that is due largely to design or manufacturing defects depends on the individual case. It may be that defective tires or other defective parts caused a fatal pickup rollover crash. Or the original design of the vehicle itself may have contributed to the rollover.
Whatever the case, pickup trucks can be dangerous. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recorded an increase of more than 200 percent in medium/heavy pickup truck fatal crashes from 2015 to 2018.
You May Need a Product Liability Lawsuit
If you lost a loved one in a fatal pickup truck rollover crash, you may be able to claim payments for your losses by means of a product liability lawsuit for wrongful death. Our law firm has many years of experience helping Americans claim such financial compensation — and justice.
Contact a wrongful death attorney with our law firm today for free legal advice and a free consultation about your case.