Florida Couple Awarded $11M in Mitsubishi Rollover Case

A Florida couple has been awarded $11 million for the death of their son after their Mitsubishi Montero SUV (sports utility vehicle) rolled over. Their son, who was wearing his seatbelt, was thrown through the rear window and died within hours.

The case

The couple sued Mitsubishi claiming the company knew that the vehicle’s seatbelt system was defective as early as 2000, but did not correct the problem or inform consumers. The Florida jury awarded the couple $11 million - $10 million of that for pain and suffering.

SUV dangers

The dangers of SUVs have been known for many years, yet industry and legal analysts say that manufacturers have done little to address the issues – leaving consumers at serious risk of injury and causing manufactures to pay out big damage awards).

Rick Morrison, an attorney from Alabama whose firm represents accident victims, says that preventing rollovers and installing a safe seatbelt system are just two of the areas where manufacturers fall short. According to Morrison:

  • Seatbelts. SUV manufacturers should make sure the vehicle has a safe seatbelt system. Believe it or not, manufacturers will tell you that our traditional seatbelt systems weren’t designed to prevent a fatal ejection or rollover.
  • Preventing rollovers. A key issues with SUV rollovers throughout the last two or three decades has been the lowered center of gravity. One of the ways that manufactures are now using to prevent rollovers is what’s called electronic stability control. It’s a computerized system that will actually sense when the vehicle begins to trip over or rollover and will make an adjustment in the vehicle’s handling and steering to prevent the rollover. You’ll see them on higher end vehicles, but unfortunately, you do not see them on all SUVs.

The importance of staying inside the vehicle

Occupants will survive 9 out of 10 times if they can stay inside the vehicle during a rollover and if the vehicle keeps its shape, according to Morrison. He explained, “If manufactures are taking the appropriate steps to make sure that the seatbelt keeps you inside of the vehicle and keeps the roof structure strong to keep you in the vehicle during an accident, chances are that you’re going to be fine.”

If you’ve been injured in an SUV that has rolled over, contact an attorney whose practice focuses in this area of the law and who understands the differences between the various makes and models of SUVs and their safety records. To contact an experienced attorney near you, please click here.

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