How Do These Accidents Happen?
Rollovers can be caused a few different ways. However, these accidents always begin by the vehicle somehow being turned sideways while in use. Some type of force acts on either the passenger or driver side of the vehicle and pushes it sideways before the rollover occurs. By identifying this force, we can begin piecing together the cause of the accident.
Types of Rollovers
Rollovers can be broken down into two broad categories:
According to the NHTSA, about 95% of single-vehicle rollovers are tripped. These are caused by a vehicle drifting off the road and coming into contact with either soft soil, a guardrail, or a steep slope. The driver will often overcompensate when trying to correct the mistake, and consequently cause the vehicle to roll over when it becomes “tripped”, or lifted up by the terrain or an object.
These only account for the remaining 5% of rollovers, and usually involve top-heavy vehicles. Untripped rollovers are usually caused by a driver trying to avoid a collision with another vehicle at high speeds.
According to the NHTSA, there are a few different catalysts which make a rollover accident more likely.
Not all vehicles roll over as a result of this sideways force. Some vehicles are more susceptible than others. Larger passenger cars, such as trucks, SUVs, and vans, are more likely to roll over because of their high centers of gravity.
Excessive speed has been determined to be a factor in about 40% of rollover accidents. 75% of these accidents have occurred where the speed limit was at least 55 MPH.
Undivided roads without barriers are more susceptible to rollover accidents. These accidents occur most often in rural areas.
Like all other accidents, alcohol is often a factor in rollovers. Almost 50% of rollover accidents involve alcohol. Intoxicated drivers are much more likely to lose control of their vehicle as a result of impaired judgment, muscular coordination, vision, and focus.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
Depending on the specific circumstances of the accident, there are a few possible at-fault parties for a rollover.
Many rollover accidents are sparked by driver error. For example, say an SUV is driving on the highway and is suddenly cut off without warning. The other driver hits immediate traffic and slams on the brakes, causing the SUV to swerve out of the way to avoid an accident. In the process, the SUV rolls over.
Some rollovers are caused by unsafe road conditions. The municipality could be held liable if the crash can be attributed to hazardous road conditions. Examples include uneven pavement, poor lighting, or a lack of warning signs for the unsafe conditions.
If a rollover was caused by an automotive defect, the vehicle’s manufacturer could be held responsible in a product liability lawsuit.
Recovering After An Accident
Victims of rollovers are burdened with some of the most serious car accident injuries, and rollovers create more grieving families than any other type of car accident. Surviving victims face some of the longest and most expensive recoveries, and those involved in fatal accidents may leave behind family members who are afflicted with a variety of financial hardships.
Many serious injuries require long-term medical care. While insurance may cover these expenses in the beginning, eventually an insurance cap may be reached. If the need for medical attention extends beyond the insurance cap, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to fully cover these expenses.
Car accident victims are often forced to miss extended periods of work while recovering. Some victims may lose their job after missing too much time. In these situations, the at-fault driver may be required to compensate for the victim’s lost wages.
Quality of Life
Some victims may never be fortunate enough to fully recover. Many are left with lifelong injuries or chronic pain which permanently disrupt their ways of life by preventing them from returning to work or engaging in recreational physical activities.
In the aftermath of a fatal accident, the surviving family members are left to deal with a variety of financial burdens. These include unpaid medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, and the loss of financial support from the deceased. These obligations can quickly become unmanageable and may require civil compensation.