Rollover accidents are more rare than head-on, rear-end, or side-impact collisions. However, they are more dangerous and lead to fatalities more often than other types of accidents. Rollover accidents involve the vehicle flipping over on the side, onto the roof, or flipping over multiple times. Due to the strong forces involved in a heavy automobile rollover accident, passengers can be thrown around the interior of the vehicle, resulting in multiple injuries and even death.
Causes of Rollover Accidents
Rollover accidents can be tripped or untripped rollovers. In a tripped rollover, some outside force acts upon a moving vehicle, causing it to turn over. This could be caused by going off the side of the road, driving on different types of surfaces, hitting a curb, getting hit by another vehicle, or hitting a guardrail. In the majority of rollover accidents, the vehicle is tripped by some object.
An untripped rollover usually involves a car losing contact with the road while making a sharp, fast turn. If the vehicle loses stability around a turn, the force of the moving vehicle can cause it to flip over even though no other object impacted the tires or vehicle. Untripped rollovers are less common but can involve turning on wet or icy roads, traveling around a turn at a high speed, or involve vehicles with a high center of gravity.
The type of vehicle involved can have a significant impact on the likelihood that a rollover will occur. The lower the center of gravity in a vehicle, the more stable it generally is. A higher center of gravity makes the vehicle more likely to tip over, especially when traveling around a corner or after striking an object. Vehicles with a higher center of gravity include vans, SUVs, large commercial trucks, jeeps, and trucks with high ground clearance.
Rollover accidents can also be classified as arrested or non-arrested rolls. In an arrested roll, the rollover is abruptly stopped when the vehicle impacts a fixed object, such as a building, highway divider, or wall. In a non-arrested roll, the vehicle may impact multiple objects or terrain impediments before the car eventually comes to a stop. This could include rolling down an embankment, hitting trees or poles, or hitting other vehicles.
Most rollover accidents are classified as single-vehicle rollovers. These are accidents that don't involve hitting another car. Most of these are tipped rollover accidents, and often involve drivers in rural areas. A driver may veer slightly off the road, and the soft earth or steep hill could cause the forward force to shift, sending the vehicle over on its side. Nearly half of all rollover accidents involve alcohol, and many accidents involve speeding. Fatalities often occur when passengers or drivers are not wearing a seat belt.
Rollover Accident Injuries
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), some of the factors that can minimize serious or fatal injuries after a rollover accident include preventing ejection from the vehicle, seat belt improvements, and improved roof strength.
There are some things drivers can do to reduce the chances of a rollover accident or decrease the risk of injury in a rollover crash. This includes driving cars with a lower center of gravity, high roof strength, and electronic stability control. Drivers should also keep their vehicles in good condition, and make sure tires have the proper level of tread. Drivers should also avoid taking sharp turns at high speed, especially in wet or icy conditions.
According to the NHTSA, nearly 85% of rollover fatalities involved a single-vehicle accident. Almost 75% of rollover fatalities occur in rural areas, which may have undivided roads, and roads without barriers between the roadway, and the soft earth or hills. Almost half of all rollover fatalities involve alcohol. Additionally, almost 40% of fatal rollovers involve excessive speeding. Rollovers account for almost 35% of passenger vehicle deaths, but they represent only about 2% of all vehicle crashes. In many of the fatal accidents, drivers were not wearing a seatbelt.
Rollover Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one was injured in a rollover accident, you should talk to an experienced DC personal injury attorney about getting compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Your personal injury attorney will help guide you through the claims process and advise you of your options. Don't leave it up to the insurance company to write you a check. If you or a loved one has been injured in a rollover accident due to someone's negligence, please do not hesitate to call Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.