While rollover accidents only accounted for 3.2 percent of auto accidents in the United States in 2019, they accounted for 21.6 percent of fatal auto accidents in that same year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool (FIRST). 3.3 percent of rollover accidents in 2019 were fatal, compared to 0.4 percent of non-rollover accidents.
Rollover accidents are accidents where a vehicle flips or tips over onto its side or roof. Rollover accidents can be very deadly because they can eject vehicle occupants from the vehicle, and because the vehicle’s roof sometimes caves in onto the heads of vehicle occupants in these accidents. Vehicle occupants who survive these accidents are often left with extremely serious injuries.
Any vehicle can roll over. However, rollover accidents are most common in vehicles with a high center of gravity, such as an SUV or a large pickup truck.
The two types of rollover accidents are:
- Tripped rollovers – most rollover accidents, about 95 percent, are tripped rollovers. Tripped rollovers are when vehicles leave the road and something, such as soft soil, a guardrail, a median or a curb, trips the vehicle, causing it to roll over.
- Untripped rollovers – about 5 percent of rollover accidents are untripped rollovers. These accidents tend to occur when vehicles with high centers of gravity swerve to avoid something and tip over in the process.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a rollover accident, you should contact the experienced car accident lawyers like Nadrich & Cohen immediately for a free consultation. Insurance companies won’t pay you the money you deserve and need for your injuries if you don’t have a lawyer, so you could be left being stuck with paying massive medical bills yourself if you don’t get a lawyer.
What Causes Rollover Accidents?
There are many causes of rollover accidents, including:
- Vehicles tipping over objects such as uneven pavement, guardrails or curbs.
- Vehicles turning too sharply or quickly for the speed they are traveling at. When a vehicle turns, cornering forces from the tires, below the center of mass, push the vehicle towards the curve’s center, while inertial forces, acting horizontally through the center of mass, push the vehicle away from the curve’s center. The vehicle’s weight acts downward, via gravity, in the opposite direction through the center of mass. The vehicle turns over when the inertial and tire forces overcome the force of gravity.
- High winds blowing over vehicles like vans, buses or trucks.
- Vehicles falling down embankments.
- Vehicles being struck by another vehicle on the side.
There are many things that can cause the above events to occur, including:
- Driver error
- Vehicle type; vehicles with higher centers of gravity are more likely to roll over
- Driving while distracted
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Vehicle design flaws
- Equipment failure
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Road conditions
- Driving too aggressively
- Excessive tire grip
- Inadequate tire grip
- Overloaded vehicles
- Improperly loaded vehicles
- Curved roads
- Exit ramps
- Inexperienced drivers
- Not being familiar with the road
Rollover accidents often occur when drivers lose control of their vehicle. This may occur due to striking an object, distracted driving or falling asleep while driving.
High speed is one of the primary causes of rollover accidents. High speed can cause a vehicle with a high center of gravity to tip over when navigating a corner, and vehicles can tip over onto their side or roof when they are involved in high-speed collisions.
Aggressive driving, like swerving and turning while speeding, is a common cause of rollover accidents because of the friction between the tires and the road it creates.
Driving under the influence is a common cause of rollover accidents. Rollover accidents often occur when impaired drivers lack the judgment and skill to drive safely.
Tire issues are a common cause of rollover accidents, especially rollovers involving vehicles with high centers of gravity. It is very difficult for drivers to control a vehicle when a tire failure or tire tread separation happens.
How Can I Avoid Rollover Accidents?
Rollover accidents are definitely something you want to avoid since they can be so deadly. There are numerous things you can do to prevent rollover accidents, including:
- Drive a vehicle with electronic stability control (ESC). ESC improves vehicle stability and prevents loss of vehicle control by detecting and reducing traction loss. ESC can automatically apply braking to wheels individually to counter oversteer or understeer. A Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study found that ESC reduces the likelihood of fatal single-vehicle rollovers by 77 to 80 percent.
- Drive a vehicle with a low center of gravity. Vehicles with high centers of gravity are more likely to roll over in a wide variety of situations.
- Don’t overload your vehicle. Vehicle stability decreases as vehicle weight increases. Overloading a vehicle with a high center of gravity like an SUV or a pickup truck is especially dangerous. Keep your vehicle loads in compliance with manufacturer load ratings and place heavy cargo as close to the center of the vehicle and as low to the floor as you can. Loading heavy objects on the roof of a vehicle is especially dangerous.
- Check your tires frequently. It is more difficult to keep control of your vehicle if your tires are too heavily worn. Make sure your tire pressure is balanced, as tire pressure being higher on one side than the other can increase the chances of a rollover. Make sure you have adequate tire pressure, as underinflated tires can blow out in hot weather.
- Replace your tires with similar tires to the ones the vehicle originally came with. Attempting to upgrade your vehicle with “performance tires” can lead to your tires having too much lateral grip, increasing rollover likelihood when you perform emergency maneuvers.
- Don’t tailgate. Leaving an adequate distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you makes it less likely that you’ll need to swerve very quickly in the event the vehicle in front of you comes to a sudden stop, and sudden swerving can cause rollover accidents.
- Don’t drive while distracted. If you get in an accident or need to perform an evasive maneuver, you need all of your concentration to keep control of your vehicle and prevent a rollover.
- Obey the speed limit. You are more likely to rollover in a crash when you are speeding.
- Be very careful on rural highways. Over half of fatal rollover accidents happen on rural roads with speed limits above 55 miles per hour.
- Carefully navigate corners. Speeding around corners is a primary cause of rollover accidents. Be especially careful on exit ramps, which can feature extremely sharp corners.
- Drive sober. Almost half of rollover accidents are due to someone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Don’t overcompensate or panic while you steer. Panic and overcorrection during emergency evasive maneuvers can cause you to roll over.
Rollover Accident Injuries
Rollover accidents can lead to many injuries, many of them severe, including:
- Chest, neck and head injuries
- Internal injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones/fractures
- Cuts, scrapes and bruises
- Emotion, memory, vision or speech impairment
- Hearing loss
- Vision loss
- Loss of teeth
- Chronic back pain
You should always wear your seat belt to prevent serious rollover accident injuries. Your seat belt will prevent you from being ejected from the vehicle in a rollover accident. Around half of all fatalities in rollover accidents involve ejection from the vehicle and almost three quarters of those ejected from a vehicle die.
Head, brain and neck injuries are some of the most severe and common injuries seen in rollover accidents. These accidents toss and whip bodies around, leaving the brain vulnerable to cerebral contusions and concussions. The neck and head may be fractured or suffer compressed, herniated or slipped discs. A vehicle’s roof can be crushed during a rollover accident, leading to severe head and neck injuries.
Rollover accidents result in extreme force and compression, which can cause serious spinal injuries which can lead to full-body paralysis, quadriplegia or paraplegia.
Vehicle parts and objects inside vehicles can puncture internal organs during rollover accidents. External objects can do so as well when vehicle occupants are ejected from the vehicle during a rollover accident.
These injuries can leave you with massive medical bills, possibly even for the rest of your life. Insurance companies don’t want to pay you for these bills, and they simply won’t if you don’t have strong, experienced personal injury lawyers like Nadrich & Cohen representing you. You should contact a personal injury lawyer today if you’ve been injured in a rollover accident so you can obtain the financial compensation you need and deserve for your injuries.
Vehicles And Rollover Risk
Rollover risk tends to increase as a vehicle’s center of mass is raised, as a vehicle’s axle track becomes more narrow, as steering sensitivity is increased and as speed is increased.
Passenger cars typically require over 1 g of lateral acceleration to roll over. Light trucks can roll over at 0.8 g of lateral acceleration. Large commercial trucks can roll over at as little as 0.2 g of lateral acceleration. Trucks have higher ground clearance and taller bodies than passenger cars, giving them a higher center of gravity.
SUVs are very prone to rolling over, especially SUVs with off-road suspension. Off-road suspension typically features increased suspension height for increased clearance, raising a vehicle’s center of gravity.
Full-size vans are prone to rolling over due to having increased body height compared to most vehicles. Full-size vans which can carry many passengers, such as the Ford E-Series, are notorious for rollover accidents because they require heavy-duty suspensions to carry large numbers of people, and these suspensions raise the vans’ center of gravity. These vans are more likely to tip over when they are carrying heavy loads, and when carrying loads on the roof of the van.
Rollover Accident Facts And Statistics
- 2.7 percent of passenger vehicle occupants died when the vehicles rolled over, compared to 0.2 of passenger vehicle occupants in accidents not involving rollovers, in 2004. 33 percent of passenger vehicle occupants who died in accidents died in rollover accidents in that same year. Light trucks were more likely to be in rollover accidents than passenger cars, and males and younger drivers were more likely to be in rollover accidents than other demographics.
- SUVs are more likely to roll over than pickup trucks, which are more likely to roll over than vans or passenger cars, according to the NHTSA.
- Older vehicles are more likely to roll over.
- Vehicles driven by younger, unbelted drivers are more likely to roll over.
- Vehicles with more occupants are more likely to roll over.
- Vehicles in speed-related crashes on roads with higher speed limits, in non-intersection areas, are more likely to roll over.
- Vehicles are more likely to roll over while passing than while turning.
- SUVs are the most likely vehicles to eject occupants during rollover accidents.
- Most fatal rollover car accidents are single vehicle accidents.
- Rollover accidents are more likely to involve fatalities than other accident types.
- About two-thirds of rollover deaths occur when vehicle occupants don’t wear their seat belt
- About half of rollover accidents involve fatalities.
- SUVs are more likely to roll over than other types of vehicles.
- Over half of single-vehicle crashes involve rollovers.
- About three quarters of rollover accidents involve SUVs, vans or pickup trucks.
- While commercial trucks have extremely high centers of gravity, only about 4 percent of rollover accidents involve these trucks.
- Most commercial truck rollovers are due to driver error.
- About half of single-vehicle rollover accidents occur when a driver tries to avoid a crash with a steering maneuver.
Do I Need A Rollover Accident Lawyer?
You need battle-tested rollover accident lawyers like Nadrich & Cohen on your side if you’ve been injured in a car rollover accident and want to obtain all of the financial compensation you are entitled to under California law.
Insurance adjusters are not your friends. Your welfare is not their top priority. Their top priority is their employers’ profit margin. Their job is to pay you as little as possible so their employers make more profit.
Insurance companies make a lot of money, so they can afford very expensive lawyers. Insurance companies know you can’t beat their very expensive lawyers in court if you don’t have a lawyer of your own.
Thus, if you’ve been injured in a rollover car accident, don’t have a lawyer, have tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of medical bills, and ask an insurance company to pay them for you, the insurance company will refuse to pay you what you are legally entitled to. They will offer you a fraction of what you deserve and dare you to sue them in court over it. They will do this because they know you can’t sue them and win if you don’t have a lawyer.
If you hire experienced personal injury lawyers with a reputation for success like Nadrich & Cohen, however, your rollover accident injury claim will likely settle out of court for the full value of your injuries and related damages. Insurance companies will likely see that you are represented by lawyers with a track record of success in court, know they will lose if they are sued, and settle out of court with you to avoid expensive legal fees.
In addition, the process of putting together and making an injury claim with an insurance company is a long, difficult and dangerous process for the layperson. The process of collecting evidence, including expert testimony, and developing a theory establishing another party’s liability for your injuries is time-consuming and complex, and it’s the last thing you should be dealing with while you’re recovering from potentially catastrophic injuries. Personal injury lawyers can take care of this process for you so you don’t have to do anything but get better. Insurance adjusters are also trained to trick you into admitting fault for an accident so they don’t have to pay you anything. Personal injury lawyers can deal with the insurance companies for you so you don’t have to worry about accidentally incriminating yourself.
Also, if you can’t afford medical treatment for your injuries, experienced personal injury lawyers like Nadrich & Cohen have networks of doctors who can treat you on a lien, meaning you won’t be charged for your medical care until your case is over. This allows people of all income levels to obtain the finest medical care for their injuries.
Do I Have A Valid Rollover Accident Lawsuit?
You have a valid rollover car accident lawsuit if:
- You have been injured in a rollover accident
- The accident was at least partly due to somebody else’s negligence
Negligence is defined by California Civil Jury Instructions as “the failure to use reasonable care to prevent harm to oneself or to others.” In other words, if an accident was due to somebody else’s negligence this means the accident was somebody else’s fault.
California law holds those who injure others via negligence liable for those injuries and any damages relating to them. This means that you are entitled to recover financial compensation for your injuries from anyone who causes your rollover accident injuries or, most likely, their insurance company.
You can even recover financial compensation for your injuries from negligent parties if you were partially at fault for your rollover car accident. This is because California is a comparative negligence state. If you are ruled to be 40 percent at fault for an accident, the damages you recover in your accident lawsuit will simply be reduced by 40 percent.
The process of proving negligence in a rollover accident lawsuit is a long, complex one. It involves a lot of evidence collection, including the hiring of accident reconstruction experts. It can involve using the discovery process to obtain evidence from a defendant. Experienced car accident lawyers like Nadrich & Cohen can help you with this process, helping you to build a strong case that your injuries were due to the negligence of another party.
How Much Do Rollover Accident Lawyers Cost?
If you’ve been injured in a rollover car accident, the type of lawyer you will want to hire is a personal injury lawyer. Personal injury lawyers like Nadrich & Cohen typically operate on a contingency fee basis.
A contingency fee is a percentage of any recovery obtained for a client which is not charged unless and until a recovery is obtained. In other words, you will never owe a contingency fee lawyer an upfront fee or any money out of your own pocket. Thus, anybody can afford a contingency fee lawyer.
What Can A Rollover Accident Lawyer Obtain For Me?
Rollover accident lawyers like Nadrich & Cohen can obtain many types of damages for you in a rollover accident claim or lawsuit, including financial compensation for:
- Past and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Wrongful death, in the event your loved one died in a rollover accident
Is There A Time Limit To File A Rollover Accident Lawsuit?
The statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in California is two years from the date of the injury. This means that you must file a rollover accident lawsuit within two years of the date of the accident, and if you fail to meet this deadline you will be forever barred from filing your rollover accident lawsuit.
Insurance companies are likely to try to delay the claims process until this time limit expires, so it’s important that you contact personal injury lawyers like Nadrich & Cohen as soon as possible after a rollover accident to ensure that there’s enough time to collect evidence, build a case and negotiate an out-of-court settlement before this time limit expires.