Getting into a rollover accident can be a traumatizing experience. These are accidents where the car tips over onto its side or upside-down, sometimes flipping over more than once. Rollover car accidents can be highly dangerous. They are associated with more serious injuries and higher fatality rates than other types of auto accidents.
Newer cars often come equipped with additional safety features that help protect drivers in the event of a rollover. However, even with these, injuries can be severe and may require legal action to offset the damages and costs. Knowing what to do after a rollover accident can help you be prepared if such an accident happens.
What is a Rollover? Common Causes of Rollover Accidents
If you or a loved one have been involved in a rollover car crash, you may need to understand more about how they happen and what causes them. Knowing the causes of these types of accidents can help in determining who is liable for your injuries and damages.
Frequent causes of rollover accidents include:
- “Tripping” — running over a rock, pothole, or other obstruction on the road
- Taking a turn too quickly
- Driving off of a cliff or into a ditch
- Unsafe distribution of weight (especially for vans and cargo vehicles; weight should be distributed evenly and more toward the rear)
- Defects with the car’s suspension system or tires
- Being struck from the side or “t-bone” accidents
- Poor driving judgment
- Striking or driving up onto a guardrail, median, barrier, or other roadway dividers
Most rollover accidents don’t involve collisions with other cars. The most common cause of rollovers is “tripping,” such as when a driver runs over a rock or other object on the road. What happens is that the trip causes the car to sway or tip to one side. It will then tip back to the other side with greater momentum, creating a pendulum-type swing until the car finally rolls over.
The two most dangerous situations for drivers in such a crash are getting ejected from the vehicle and “roof crush” injuries. Roof crush can happen when the car rolls over completely upside-down. The weight of the car may then crush the roof back onto the driver, causing serious injuries and sometimes trapping the driver and other passengers in the vehicle.
What to Do After a Rollover Accident
Rollover auto accidents can be highly damaging. If you have been involved in one, you should seek medical attention immediately, even if you feel you are not seriously injured. Certain injuries (like traumatic brain injury) may appear much later after the actual incident occurs.
You should never attempt to move anyone who has been ejected from the car in a rollover, or who has become trapped or crushed inside the car. If the person has severe neck or spinal injuries, moving them without the proper experience and equipment can cause even more damage. Instead, contact local emergency services and allow them to handle the situation with their tools and training.
After an accident, if you can, you should take note of various points about the rollover crash while you are still at the scene. This includes:
- Obtaining contact information from any other drivers involved
- Getting statements from potential witnesses
- Photographing or recording video of the car (this can sometimes prove liability)
- Writing down or making notes about the accident — when it occurred, what led to the accident, and other details
If a road hazard such as a pothole or an object on the road caused the rollover, you should take note of this and also try to take a photo of it as well. Cities and municipalities can sometimes be liable if they have failed to maintain safe roads.
What Types of Vehicles are Most Prone to Having a Rollover Crash?
Any car can be involved in a rollover accident. However, certain vehicles may be more susceptible to rolling over due to their size, design, structure, and other factors. These include:
- SUVs and light pickup trucks
- Trucks, especially “lifted” trucks that were modified to make them taller
- 15-seater vans
- Various commercial vehicles
Cars that have a higher center of gravity may be more prone to rolling or tipping over; SUV rollover car accidents are particularly common. As such, it is essential to exercise additional care when driving these types of vehicles, especially if they are loaded with cargo inside or on the roof.
To further understand rollovers and how serious they are, consider the following statistics gathered from studies:
- Excessive speed was an important contributing factor in many fatal rollovers, with many incidents happening on roads with speed limits 55 mph or higher
- Rollover crashes are more likely to result in fatalities than other types of auto accidents
- Rollovers account for about one-fifth of all fatal crashes
- Nearly three-fourths of drivers and passengers killed in rollover crashes were not wearing their safety belts; less than two-thirds were completely ejected from the automobile
- Drunk driving is often a factor with many rollover vehicle crashes
- Rollovers caused nearly 35% of all passenger vehicle crash deaths in 2010
Thus, taking any steps you can in preventing a rollover accident can be helpful in preventing injury and potential fatalities.
Preventing Rollover Accidents
Here are a few steps you can take to minimize the risk of a rollover vehicle accident:
- Exercise additional caution when making a blind turn or when driving on winding country backroads.
- Stay vigilant for potholes, objects on the road, and other potential “trip” hazards. Report these to local authorities so they can correct or remove them.
- Be extra careful when driving larger or taller vehicles with higher centers of gravity.
- Follow all speed limits, especially those posted on tight turns and exit/entry ramps.
- Avoid other drivers who show signs of aggression or road rage.
Certain types of accidents simply cannot be avoided, especially those involving the negligence of another driver. If you believe you were injured due to another driver’s carelessness, you may need to file a legal claim.
Contact an Experienced Injury Attorney If You Need Legal Representation
Rollover car accidents can cause serious injuries. Various parties can be held liable for an accident, including other drivers, car manufacturers, and even city governments. These types of accident cases can be complex and typically require the expertise of a personal injury attorney.
At The Flood Law Firm, our attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and resources to help clients obtain the compensation they deserve. We have helped thousands of clients get justice and have secured several multi-million dollar verdicts for them.
A damages award can help crash victims deal with losses such as medical bills, lost wages, and other costs. Contact us today at (949) 640-8222 for a free, confidential consultation. We are here to help you get your life back on track and guide you towards the best possible outcome.