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Roof Defects and “Roof Crush”

When a vehicle rolls over, it does not always lead to catastrophic injuries or death of the occupants. In fact, many rollover accidents would not result in serious injuries or fatalities at all if the vehicle’s roof was properly constructed. Unfortunately, in an effort to save a few dollars per vehicle, many automakers have produced vehicles with inadequately supported and defectively weak roofs.

When a vehicle rolls over in an accident, a defectively designed or constructed roof can collapse into the passenger compartment in a scenario known as “roof crush.” Roof crush can result from a number of different design or manufacturing failures. Some of the most common defects that lead to roof crush include the use of weak or substandard metals in the roof pillars and rails, lack of reinforcement structures, inadequate welding and open spaces in the roof headers.

As with many other automotive defects, the cost of constructing a roof that is able to resist collapse during a rollover could cost as little as $20 per vehicle or less. It is hard to imagine that any manufacturer would knowingly risk the safety or lives of its customers for any amount of money, let alone over a savings of $20 per vehicle. Shockingly, documents discovered in several high-profile lawsuits establish that industry executives and managers did exactly that.

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