Traffic crashes are a major cause of death in the United States, claiming over 41,000 lives each year. Rollover accidents are a significant and growing contributor to this statistic. A rollover crash is a vehicular accident that is by nature, very violent as this type of crash is far more likely to result in the loss of life. While rollovers occur only in about three percent of all serious crashes, they account for about 30 percent of people killed while traveling in passenger vehicles. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tells us that next to head-on collisions, vehicle rollover accidents are the most deadly type of accidents that happen on US streets, roads and highways.
Causes of Rollover Accidents
Any type of vehicle can roll over when involved in some type of traffic accident. However, there are some vehicles which are more prone to rolling over including SUVs, vans and pickups due to these vehicles being taller and having a higher center of gravity than standard vehicles. Among the most common causes of rollover accidents include:
Drivers who over-correct their vehicles – When a driver finds him or herself veering off out of his/her lane, he or she may jerk the wheel back in the other direction with force, wherein a loss of control happens which can result in a rollover. Sometimes drivers fall asleep behind the wheel or they are distracted wherein they veer off the road and try to over-correct their vehicle, resulting in rollovers.
Drivers who run over “trips” in the road – A “trip” in a roadway is anything a vehicle can hit which makes the vehicle roll over such as a curb, median, guardrail, ditch or uneven pavement. Often times, a vehicle will run off the roadway and hit a “trip” of some type such as a tree or pole wherein the car rolls over.
Drivers operating top-heavy vehicles – Most rollover accidents taking place in the US involve SUVs or sport utility vehicles. This is due to the fact that these vehicles are top heavy which means their inherent high center of gravity often causes them to roll over when veering out of control.
Vehicles carrying too much weight – When an excessive amount of weight is carried on the top of a car or in a truck, that vehicle is at higher risk for rolling over. This is because these vehicles are weighed down wherein the center of gravity is further from the ground level.
Aggressive driving – When a driver operates his or her vehicle in an aggressive manner, there is a greater likelihood that a rollover accident will occur. Doing something like recklessly changing lanes at a high rate of speed can cause a driver to lose control, resulting in a rollover accident that injures or kills.
Hazardous roadways – Roadways which are dangerous such as those with uneven pavement, potholes, missing warning signs and poorly maintained surfaces can cause rollover accidents.
Tire failure – Defective tires can fail without warning, causing a driver to lose control of his or her vehicle. In some cases, defective tires can be the reason a car “trips” wherein the driver strikes an obstacle to result in a rollover accident. A driver can find it impossible to maintain control of his/her car when a tire suddenly blows out where traveling. Vehicles are difficult to steer off roadways when they experience sudden tire blowouts which often times leads them into careening uncontrollable wherein they strike other vehicles, pedestrians or roll over after leaving the roadway.
Defective auto parts – While car safety has come a long way, there are still auto accidents including rollovers which are caused by defective auto parts. When someone is driving on a roadway and something happens such as an airbag deployment which comes out of nowhere, a horrible rollover accident could occur wherein several people are injured or killed. Other types of defective auto parts which could play a key role in a rollover accident includes brakes, power steering mechanisms, accelerator pedals, transmissions and more.
If it is found that a manufacturer or auto parts supplier is at fault for causing the rollover accident due to a defective vehicle part it made or sold, the injured party may be able to file a product liability claim. In the case that a life was lost in an accident blamed on a defective auto part, the family members of the deceased may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the maker or supplier of the faulty part.
Weather conditions – The weather can cause a vehicle to roll over if a driver is not exercising due caution while traveling in a rainstorm, when its foggy or when road visibility is poor due to the weather.
Other driver behavior – Drivers who drive erratically, too fast or who do things like change lanes carelessly or pass in no-passing zones can cause rollover accidents as other drivers try to avoid becoming involved in an accident. An intoxicated driver can cause a rollover accident if he or she is swerving or weaving in and out of traffic. A negligent driver who was doing something like texting or talking on a cell phone, can drift out of their lane to cause a rollover accident. A sleepy driver also can cause this type of accident when he/she drifts out of their lane or crosses the center line to cause another driver on the road to quickly turn the wheel wherein a rollover accident occurs.
Rollover Accident Liability
If you’ve sustained injuries in a rollover accident, it is possible that you are not sure who or what caused the accident you were involved in. Even if you believe that something such as defective tires or a hazardous roadway played a role in what happened, you may find it difficult to prove your suspicions. This is why you should hire a California personal injury attorney who has experience with handling rollover accident cases. Your attorney will tap into every available resource to determine who or what was the cause of the injuries you sustained.
When you have a California rollover accident attorney working for you, he or she will work tirelessly to get to the bottom of what happened. Evidence will be gathered, witnesses found and interviewed and police reports will be reviewed to determine who or what was the cause of your injuries. One of the most important facts in any rollover case is whether or not a vehicle product defect or unsafe design played a role in the accident. An experienced attorney will dig deep into the facts to find out if a defective vehicle part such as faulty tires had anything to do with the rollover accident you were involved in. He or she will also conduct research into the type of vehicle that rolled over to see if that vehicle is known to have design flaws that can result in rollovers.
Types of Injuries Suffered by Rollover Accident Victims
Spinal cord injuries – Unfortunately, many victims of rollover accidents suffer spinal cord injuries. A patient who suffers an injury to the spinal cord could be left with life-long medical problems including mobility issues, pain and numbness. In the worst spinal cord injuries, victims are partially or completely paralyzed due to their spinal cords being severed.
Loss of limbs – Among the most gruesome injuries sustained by victims of rollover accidents are the loss of limbs. Often times the arms and legs of people trapped inside vehicles which have flipped over become pinned when the vehicle comes to a stop.
Fractures – Broken and crushed bones are common injuries often sustained by victims of rollover accidents. The incredible force exerted when a vehicle rolls over can cause a victim to experience a horrific bone fracture that requires surgery to repair. An individual with a very serious bone fracture may be out of work for an extended period of time and may even face numerous surgeries to repair the damage.
Traumatic head injuries – Among the most common injuries sustained in rollover accidents are traumatic head injuries. This is because often times in a rollover accident, the victim’s head strikes hard surfaces inside the vehicle as the car rolls or it sustains a powerful, direct hit by the collapsed roof. A head injury can be particularly severe if the victim was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident or if the victim’s airbags were malfunctioning. A sufferer of a traumatic brain injury or TBI may require around the clock supervision for the rest of their life due to not being able to adequately cope with life.
Internal organ damage – It is common for a rollover accident victim to suffer from life-threatening internal organ damage. The human body is no match for a powerful vehicle that becomes crushed to trap a driver inside. Sometimes internal injuries go unnoticed by treating paramedics on the scene which is unfortunate as internal organ damage can easily lead to death.
If you or someone you love is a victim of a California rollover accident, it’s important to hire an experienced personal injury attorney. You may be eligible to receive compensation for what has happened to you if it can be proved that someone else is responsible for the accident that cause your injuries. Serious injuries can lead to financial ruin as medical expenses can quickly spiral out of control. You also may be facing a loss of income due to the serious nature of your injuries. The team at Hogan Injury will work hard to ensure you receive the compensation you need and deserve so that you can fully recover from what has happened.