A vehicle that’s been “lifted” can pose a special danger to the occupants of other cars on the road. A collision with one of these “monster truck” type vehicles can turn a minor collision into a serious and devastating one. Such was the case for our client, Desiree Mendoza.
Desiree was driving her 1999 Ford Mustang down a county road when she was struck by a Dodge Ram 2500 truck after the truck driver ran a stop sign. The truck was equipped with a five-inch “lift kit” and 37- inch over sized tires that raised the vehicle’s front bumper 9-10 inches higher than the truck’s stock configuration.
When the truck struck the car, the bumper “overrode” the hood and driver’s side door resulting in the intrusion of the bumper into the passenger compartment as shown below.
As a result of the intrusion, Desiree’s head came into contact with the steel bumper (instead of her airbag) as her head was moving forward during the collision. The impact caused Desiree to suffer a traumatic brain injury. Although her condition has improved somewhat over time, her injury is permanent and she will suffer from cognitive deficits for the rest of her life.
Manufacturers of these lift kits are protected b y a powerful lobbying organization, the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA). Although a few states have imposed strict bumper height requirements, most do not. Texas has enacted regulation governing bumper heights, but it is so weak it may as well not exist. It basically allows most trucks to be modified without violating the lift law. In fact, the truck involved in this case would be legal to drive on the public roads of Texas.
One of our experts labeled these “lifted vehicles” the most dangerous vehicles on the road today. He was featured on Dateline in 1996 advocating for the regulation of these vehicles for use on public roadways. Based on his research and knowledge, he said that lifted trucks are 11 times more likely to cause a fatality than any other vehicle on the road.
The case involving Desiree Mendoza settled out of court for a confidential amount. If you have a case involving a lifted truck, or if you or a family member is involved in a collision with one of these vehicles, please call us immediately. We have the knowledge, expertise and financial resources available to prosecute your case.