Rollover accidents occur when a motor vehicle tips on its side or roof. They are some of the most violent and dangerous crashes that a driver or passenger can experience. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, more than 10,000 people are killed every year in rollover accidents. They account for one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities, while only accounting for two percent of all accidents that occur. In 75 percent of all rollover fatalities, victims were ejected from the vehicle. This often happens because they weren’t wearing seat belts. When people survive these crashes, it’s not unusual for them to suffer severe or catastrophic injuries.
Tripped and Untripped Rollovers
A tripped rollover involves a vehicle hitting an object on or near the road, such as a curb or a guard rail. Trips can also result from potholes or soft road shoulders. Sometimes, they might even involve a rollover after crashing with another vehicle. Untripped rollovers occur as a result of driver error involving steering and speed coupled with ground friction, especially on snowy or icy roads when the vehicle travels sideways and then strikes an object on or near the roadway.
Types of Vehicles with Higher Chances of Rolling Over
At the right speed and under the right conditions, any type of motor vehicle can be involved in a rollover, but the designs of some vehicles makes them more likely to rollover than others. These include:
- Pickup trucks
Overloading and speed are strong contributing factors in these accidents, but the NHTSA found that about 95 percent of all rollovers occurred after vehicles left the roadway. Alcohol use, distracted driving, and fatigue all increase the chances of a rollover.
Federal safety rules require manufacturers to comply with specific safety standards regarding the strength of a motor vehicle’s roof. Vehicles that weigh 6,000 pounds or less are required to withstand a force equal to three times their weight to the left and right sides of the roof. The roof isn’t permitted to bend enough to touch the head of an average size test dummy. Vehicles weighing 6,000 pounds to 10,000 pounds are only required to take 1.5 times of their own weight on the roof.
Other than a high speed head-on collision, rollover crashes cause some of the most debilitating injuries of all types of crashes. Common rollover injuries might consist of:
- Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Fractures of the upper and lower extremities
- Rib fractures and torn rib cartilage
- Organ damage
- Severe lacerations
No two accidents are alike, and no two injuries are alike either. Damages that are ordinarily allowed to be claimed in these types of cases include:
- Past and future medical bills
- Lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral and burial costs in the event of a wrongful death
You or a family member should contact an experienced professional such as the personal injury lawyer Washington DC trusts as soon as possible for a free consultation and case evaluation after being injured in a rollover accident.
A special thanks to our authors at Brynn Law for their insight into personal injury cases.