For many years, 15-passenger vans have been the travel vehicle of choice for large groups of people and their cargo. These large motor vehicles are often used for transporting church groups, school groups, and business groups. Unfortunately, 15-passenger vans also boast an unsafe track record for accidents caused by serious design flaws. If you or a family member was injured in a 15-passenger van accident, you should consult with an experienced Philadelphia 15-passenger van accident lawyer as soon as possible.
The Reiff Law Firm is committed to providing legal representation that is tailored to the unique needs of each of our clients. Our firm knows that a serious vehicle accident could substantially impact your life, and we are here for you in your time of need. To schedule a free legal and confidential consultation to discuss legal options for your potential lawsuit, contact the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940. You could also use our online submission form to schedule a free case review with one of our diligent attorneys.
Common Causes of 15-Passenger Van Accidents in Philadelphia
15-passenger vans are easily capable of transporting people from one location to the next, which makes the vehicle efficient and cost-effective. However, the convenience of a 15-passenger van may not balance out with the dangers that this type of vehicle presents.
One of the most dangerous issues regarding a 15-passenger van is that the vehicle has a high center of gravity, which means the vehicle is highly prone to rolling over under certain circumstances. If the driver of a 15-passenger van does not appreciate this risk, they could easily cause a serious accident that may leave passengers with life-threatening injuries.
The following is a list of common causes of 15-passenger van accidents.
An operator of a 15-passenger van should never overload the vehicle. Once the van reaches 15 people, no other passengers should be let onboard until the van has emptied. Note, however, due to the structure of 15-passenger vans; there is still a risk when transporting less than 15 passengers. For example, if 13 people are in the vehicle, but many have gathered in seats behind the van’s rear-axle, this could cause the vehicle to become unstable.
Additionally, the operator of a 15-passenger van should also be careful when loading cargo. If the vehicle is overloaded with items, it could throw off the balance of the vehicle.
The driver of a 15-passenger van should be highly experienced with operating these types of vehicles. An inexperienced driver could have difficulty maneuvering the vehicle, which could lead to a serious accident. It is also important for the driver not to become distracted as this would increase the risk of an accident.
Before using a 15-passenger van, the driver of the vehicle should check the tire pressure of the vehicle. If any tires appear worn down or do not have a sufficient amount of air, the tires should be replaced before using the van. Low tire pressure or old tires could affect the stability of the vehicle and increase the likelihood the van could flip over. Additionally, if spare tires are installed on a 15-passenger van, they should be checked to make sure that they are stable.
There are many other circumstances where a 15-passenger van accident may happen. If you need assistance seeking compensation after a 15-passenger van crash, you should continue reading and consider speaking with an experienced Philadelphia 15-passenger van accident attorney today.
Liability for a 15-Passenger Van Accident in Philadelphia, PA
If you were a victim of a 15-passenger van accident, you are likely concerned about how you could recover compensation for your injuries. Fortunately, there may be multiple parties that you could hold liable for your van accident.
One party that could be held liable for your 15-passenger van accident is the driver of the vehicle. If the driver of the van behaved negligently while operating a service to transport passengers, they could be responsible for the injuries sustained by passengers.
Additionally, if the driver of the van was operating the van as part of a service offered by a company, the company that employs the driver may also be liable for an accident. A victim of a 15-passenger van accident could hold the employer of the driver vicariously liable through the doctrine of respondeat superior. This doctrine states that when an employee commits a negligent act within the course of their employment, the negligent act of the employee could be imputed to the employer. For example, if the driver of the passenger van was speeding and lost control of the vehicle, the driver’s employer could be held responsible.
In some cases, the manufacturer of the 15-passenger van may be liable if the vehicle malfunctioned in some way. For example, if the axles of the vehicle were improperly placed, this could lead to an accident that a manufacturer is liable for.
If you are uncertain about who could be held liable for a 15-passenger van accident, our firm is here to help you determine your options.
Proving Negligence in a 15-Passenger Van Accident
To claim damages in a lawsuit after a 15-passenger van crash, you will need to prove how the defendant acted negligently. This may not be easy as you will need extensive evidence for your case, and you will have to prove the following four elements of negligence:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care
- The defendant breached their duty of care to the plaintiff
- The plaintiff sustained injuries and other financial losses due to the actions of the defendant
- The plaintiff suffered injuries that could be compensated in a court of law
Once these elements are proven, the plaintiff could be awarded compensatory damages. Compensatory damages may consist of the following:
- Medical bills
- Loss of wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
Our firm is here to help you fight for the damages that you deserve after a serious 15-passenger van accident.
The Reiff Law Firm Have Been Researching and Handling Thousands of Automobile and 15-Passenger Van Accident Cases Since 1979
Fifteen passenger vans can be very dangerous to ride in when they are fully loaded. Body design flaws with unreasonable and unrealistic capacity limitations are just some of the major problems associated with these kinds of vans. Design defects, such as cargo vans that are heavy on top while their rears go as far back as four feet beyond the back wheels, can increase the possibility of rollovers and/or fishtailing.
In 2005, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (Penn DOT) reported that light trucks, SUVs, and Van rollovers accounted for 36.8% of rollover deaths in over 4,500 total rollovers. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) calculates that the vans overturn more than half the time they are involved in single-vehicle crashes, compared to 33 percent of the time for other vehicles. Surprisingly, 81 percent of all fatalities in 15-passenger van crashes occur in single-vehicle crash rollovers. When a 15-passenger van is carrying 15 people and is overloaded with too much cargo, it has a 70% greater chance of being involved in a rollover accident. Here are more 15 passenger van facts:
- Since 1990, there have been over 400 reported fatalities involving single-vehicle, 15 passenger van rollovers
- Approximately 500,000 15-passenger vans are currently in use in the United States
- The US government has banned the use of 15-passenger vans for transporting school-age children
- The more passengers in the van, the greater the chance of rollovers
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued warnings and made recommendations about passenger van safety. SafetyForum also has information on 15-passenger vans.
To help reduce the risk of injury, always wear your safety belt. If you are ever in an accident, make sure everyone is ok and exchange information. Call 9-1-1 or the police to report the accident and never leave the scene of the accident. Double-check your insurance coverage and report the accident to the insurance company. There are three important factors to motor vehicle accidents: (1) liability, (2) establishing damages, and (3) determining where to collect the damages. Personal injury lawyer Jeffrey Reiff and the experienced Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm will examine the facts, evaluate your claim, determine which parties and insurance companies are responsible, and organize all of the details of preparing and presenting your automobile accident case.
Rely on an Experienced Philadelphia 15-Passenger Van Accident Lawyer for Help with Your Case
If you or someone you love was seriously injured in a 15 passenger van accident in Philadelphia, call The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940. You may also contact us online to schedule a free, confidential and no-obligation review of your case.