A panoramic sunroof is a very popular option on many vehicles. A panoramic sunroof is wide and located above the driver and front passenger seats. It is made from glass and allows sunlight to enter the passenger cabin.
A panoramic sunroof might open either mechanically and retract partly or wholly into a secured space beneath the back section of the rooftop. Others often open manually but generally remain in the same location on the rooftop. A hinged mechanism that lifts and locks into place enables you to manually raise the backside several inches on many commonly used sunroofs.
Whether cracking it open manually or retracting it mechanically, the open sunroof enables you to increase ventilation and keep your ride cool on warm days. That could raise concerns regarding a sunroof’s effect during a rollover car accident.
Fortunately, a properly designed vehicle with a panoramic sunroof should be just as safe as a vehicle with a solid roof.
Potential Dangers Related to Sunroofs
A sunroof poses two general dangers to passengers. Both potential dangers could result in serious personal injury and possibly death.
One danger is the potential that something might break the sunroof and send sharp pieces of glass into the passenger cabin. The other is that the sunroof might enable the ejection of a passenger during a rollover accident.
An automaker should use laminated glass that is similar to the windshield and does not shatter. The sunroof might break into small pieces, but the laminate should prevent it from shattering and showering sharp shards of glass into the passenger cabin.
Much like a door window, the potential for an ejection is greater if the sunroof is open instead of closed. A closed sunroof should prevent accidental ejections. It should be sturdy enough to stop you or a passenger from being ejected from one of the front seats.
An open sunroof does increase the possibility of an accidental ejection. Wearing seat belts should stop that from happening. As long as you use the included seat belts and other safety features, an open sunroof should not result in an accident ejection during a rollover or another type of accident.
Unique Construction of Passenger Cabins
It would be reasonable for you to wonder about how a sunroof might affect the vehicle’s ability to handle a rollover accident safely. After all, it does create a large hole in the top of the roof.
That hole in the rooftop could raise concerns about the potential for the roof to collapse during a rollover. That should not happen because of the design and construction of the passenger cabin.
The rooftop has four very solid pillars in all four corners. Those pillars help to make the passenger cabin more rigid. That should help to prevent the rooftop from collapsing during a rollover.
Many passenger cabins also have a reinforced section that acts like a rollbar. The intent is to enable the vehicle to roll and land on its wheels as much as possible.
Even if the vehicle rolls several times and lands on the rooftop, the pillars and reinforcement should protect the passengers from a rooftop collapse that might crush them.
Seat Belts Are the Best Insurance Against Ejection
Ejections from vehicles during accidents can be very deadly. An ejection during a rollover can be especially deadly because of the potential for the vehicle to land on the ejected passenger.
If you are thrown from a vehicle during an accident, there are no soft landings. And there are no safety features to lessen the blow. But some passive safety equipment could stop an ejection from happening.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says people who do not wear seat belts are 10 times more likely to be ejected during an accident. People who are ejected are more likely to suffer a catastrophic injury or death.
You can help to protect yourself and your passengers by ensuring everyone is wearing their seat belts while you are driving.
A more recent development in passive safety features is the rooftop airbag. Some automakers are including them in their newest models. The idea is to help people to remain inside the relatively safe passenger cabin during an accident.
Possible Third-Party Liability for Faulty Design or Materials
The faulty design or construction of a vehicle with a sunroof might contribute to injuries suffered in a car accident. If the vehicle rolls and the rooftop crushes down onto you, that crushed rooftop might cause serious injuries.
The sunroof might shatter and send sharp glass flying into the passenger cabin. If so, that might trigger a third-party claim against the carmaker and the maker of the sunroof.
A properly laminated sunroof should not shatter and fill the passenger cabin with broken glass. Also, a properly supported rooftop should not collapse and crush passengers.
If one or both occur, someone hurt in an accident could file third-party liability claims against the carmaker and other parties.
How to Prove Third-Party Claims?
Proving third-party liability from a defective design or poor equipment requires evidence of negligence and harm done. A collapsed rooftop or shattered sunroof that causes you to suffer injuries could be evidence of negligence by the carmaker.
The vehicle’s rooftop or the sunroof should be up to industry standards. If they were not designed or built properly, that could be evidence of negligence.
In addition to proving negligence, you also would have to prove that you suffered harm. A medical diagnosis and treatment costs would be ironclad proof of the harm. The harm also would include any related costs, such as loss of income.
An experienced car accident lawyer could help you to collect evidence and build the strongest case for third-party liability.
Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Clients after a Rollover Car Accident
There are many types of car accidents, and many causes of these crashes. If you were injured in a serious accident, reach out to the Washington DC car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. Our experienced legal team will be your advocate to obtain the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington, D.C., Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, we work with clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.