The 15-passenger van’s mid-range size makes it a popular choice for providing transportation to proms, wedding receptions, field trips, church outings, and other social events. However, the very design which makes the 15-passenger van ideal for transporting large groups also increases the risk of an accident occurring.
If you or one of your loved ones was injured in a passenger van crash in the Oklahoma City area, the attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook may be able to recover compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses. With more than 75 years of combined experience, our accomplished legal team is amply equipped with the knowledge and skill it takes to investigate the most challenging of claims.
Oklahoma auto accident victims who were injured through no fault of their own may have a right to compensation. Call the law offices of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040 right away to set up a free and confidential legal consultation.
Design Defects Increase the Risk of 15-Passenger Van Rollover Crashes
It’s accepted fact that some vehicles are safer than others. However, some designs are so susceptible to serious accidents it is astonishing they continue to be produced. The 15-passenger van is a vehicle which arguably falls into this category. Models in production include:
- Chevrolet Express 1-ton Extended
- Ford E-350 Super Duty XLT
- GMC Savanna/Rally 1-ton Extended
Various design flaws make the 15-passenger van notoriously prone to rollover accidents, in which the van overturns onto its roof or side. For example, a high, rear-set center of gravity makes the van difficult to control in the event of an emergency maneuver, a problem which is worsened by most drivers’ lack of familiarity with similarly-sized vehicles. Electronic systems have been introduced to new vehicles to improve stability, but older models may not be outfitted with this technology. Additionally, the vans’ unusual tire specifications result in under-inflation as much as 30% of the time, which merely heightens the risk of an accident occurring.
In one technical report published in 2004, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) uncovered the following facts:
- A total of 1,576 fatal passenger van crashes were reported between 1990 and 2002.
- Among 657 fatal single-vehicle crashes, nearly 350 — more than half — involved rollovers. According to the NHTSA, rollover accidents have a higher rate of fatalities than any other type of accident.
- More than 60% of the occupants involved in single-vehicle crashes were ejected from the van.
- Even vehicle occupants who were wearing their seatbelts were ejected nearly 20% of the time.
Common Injuries Suffered by Motor Vehicle Accident Victims in OK
The victims of passenger van rollovers and collisions often suffer serious injuries which require hospitalization, physical therapy, and extensive time off of work, sometimes causing the victim to lose their job at the very time they are facing enormous medical costs. Common injuries resulting from rollovers and other types of automotive accidents include:
- Bone Fractures — Bone fractures are extremely common in vehicular accidents. Depending on the type of fracture and which bone is broken, a full recovery can take months and may require expensive corrective surgery. Common fracture injuries include fractured wrists, broken arms, broken legs, broken ribs, and ankle fractures.
- Facial Injuries — Broken noses, broken cheekbones, and tooth injuries (e.g. chipped tooth, knocked out tooth) commonly result when van occupants strike their faces on the dashboard, window, or steering wheel.
- Road Rash/Skin Abrasion — As NHTSA data shows, even properly belted-in passengers are ejected at high rates, usually resulting in serious skin abrasion or “road rash” injuries. These injuries are excruciatingly painful to clean, are capable of causing permanent scars, and in extreme cases, may require skin grafts and surgery to repair.
- Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) — Depending on which portion of the spinal cord is affected, SCI can result in permanent paraplegia (paralysis below the waist) or tetraplegia/quadriplegia (full-body paralysis).
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) — TBI often results from a forceful blow to the head, or being hit with a loose object flying through the van. The effects of TBI can vary, but tend to be both permanent and severe, including impaired memory, muscle weakness, chronic pain, reduced mobility, incontinence, and increased risk of seizures.
- Whiplash and Neck Injuries — Whiplash is one of the most common automotive accident injuries, particularly in rear-end collisions. Whiplash, which is a soft tissue injury resulting from sudden, forceful overextension of the neck muscles and ligaments, may cause symptoms like blurred vision, jaw pain, upper back pain, and ringing ears (tinnitus). The most obvious symptom of whiplash is persistent neck pain and stiffness.
Oklahoma City Car Accident Lawyers That Have The Knowledge to Help Your Case
If you were injured while driving or riding in a passenger van in Oklahoma City, you may have a right to compensation, not only for the bills you’ve already received, but also for your projected costs and losses reaching into the future. Call the passenger van injury lawyers of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040 right away for a private legal consultation, completely free of charge. We will answer all of your questions and help you understand your options going forward.