Larger than a standard passenger vehicle but smaller than a bus, 15-passenger vans boast a higher passenger capacity but fail to provide additional safety measures. Crashes involving these vehicles often result in serious or fatal injury due to the difficulty of reaching victims trapped inside. If you have been involved in a 15-passenger van accident in Florida, you should consider discussing your case with a car accident lawyer.
When fully loaded, 15-passenger vans are much more susceptible to rollover accidents than normal passenger vehicles or buses. This is due to their basic design; the wheelbase is not as stable when the cargo area is weighted down, leading to a higher chance of a rollover when sharp turns are made.
When 15-passenger vans have to swerve to avoid road hazards and other vehicles or if they are turning at high rates of speed, the likelihood of a serious accident and rollover increases. Manufacturers defects in the design of standard 15-passenger vans have resulted in these stability issues and your injuries may be the responsibility of the manufacturer.
Your attorney will review similar cases settled in the past for accidents involving 15-passenger vans and help apply their findings to your case. In a recent lawsuit that involved a fatal rollover crash some of the primary safety concerns from manufacturer defects included:
- difficult handling conditions when fully loaded, due to over-steering and loss of control;
- stability issues when fully loaded; and
- design flaws of 15-passenger vans makes it difficult to extract and render aid to trapped victims.
Rollover Dangers with 15-Passenger Vans
Rollover crashes are dangerous no matter what vehicle they occur in, but they are especially deadly when 15-passenger vans are involved. This is due to many factors, but the main two are the high occupancy and the nature of the vehicle design.
Most 15-passenger vans are carrying a larger amount of passengers and cargo to go with them. Loose cargo in a rollover can cause additional injury when it shifts in the cabin during a rollover. The more close-quarters the passengers are, the more chances of injury there are as well.
Once 15-passenger vans come to a stop after a rollover, the orientation of the van is critical to rescue efforts. The positioning of the doors, as well as the tight layout of seating makes it very difficult to reach injured victims. The longer a victim has to wait for emergency medical attention, the more serious their injury can become.
5-Passenger Vans and Manufacturer Design Defects
Manufacturers of 15-passenger vans have been cited in many accident cases with claims that the van designs have serious flaws that contribute to rollover crashes. Passenger vans are not a new vehicle style on the market; they have been around for decades, yet improvements to stability and fixes to the top-heavy cargo problems have yet to appear.
You should discuss the possibility of investigating manufacturer defects with your car accident lawyer following any accident involving 15-passenger vans. Other drivers involved in your accident may not be the only party in a personal injury lawsuit if the negligence of the van manufacturer also contributed to the crash.
Dangers of Overloading 15-Passenger Vans
The more cargo and passengers you carry, the higher chances of injury when involved in a serious auto accident. You should never overload the van with more passengers than there are seat belts, and proper child restraints should be used at all times.
Many church groups, sports teams, and childcare centers use 15-passenger vans as a means of transporting their members. It’s crucial that all passengers be properly restrained, especially in the event of a rollover crash. The more restricted your passengers’ movement in the cabin, the less likely they are to be seriously injured.
Cargo being transported in a 15-passenger van should also be taken into consideration. Make sure things like coolers and sports equipment are secured in a sectioned off area or tied down properly to restrict movement. In the event of a 15-passenger van accident, the cargo could provide additional hazards by becoming a projectile within the cabin.