Veronica Zimmermann, 17, of Napa, was killed in a Chevrolet Silverado rollover accident on October 26, 2008, according to a KTVU news report. Veronica was one of four teenagers traveling on First Avenue south of Hagen Road in the pickup truck when its 17-year-old male driver lost control. The Chevy Silverado rolled over and struck a power pole landing on its roof, California Highway Patrol officers said.
The driver, along with other teen passengers – Britney Moore, 17 and her sister Holly Moore, 15 – suffered minor injuries and were treated at an area hospital. Veronica Zimmermann, who was a passenger in the front seat, was pronounced dead at the scene. All four teens were wearing their seatbelts, CHP officials say. They also say alcohol or drugs were not involved in this tragic rollover crash.
My heart goes out to the families of all the young people who were involved in this horrific crash, especially the family of 17-year-old Veronica Zimmermann.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), there is an average of 10,000 fatal rollover accidents each year in the United States. A lot of these accidents involve badly designed trucks and sport utility vehicles, according to advocacy group, People Safe in Rollovers. Also according to the NHTSA, 24,000 people suffer catastrophic injuries in rollover accidents each year in the United States.
In this Napa rollover accident, all four teenagers were wearing their seatbelts, according to officials. And yet, Veronica suffered fatal injuries. If I were representing the family, I’d be looking for defects in the vehicle’s roof design and seat belt restraint system.
I would look at the accident sequence to see if the inherent design of the pickup or its lack of a stability control system caused or contributed to the rollover. Although the CHP is usually very good at documenting an accident scene and determining the cause, they rarely have the resources to analyze an auto accident for civil liability, especially for issues of a defective product.
The family of Veronica Zimmermann would be well-advised to quickly secure legal representation or at least a consultation with a nationally renowned auto product defect law firm. I’d suggest that they approach an attorney who has handled at least a few dozen cases against large auto makers and is especially familiar with rollover and seat belt defect cases. The best attorneys will provide a free and comprehensive consultation.