Many people drive SUVs because they make them feel safer on the road. An SUV is higher off the ground, giving the driver a better vantage point on the road. An SUV is a heavier vehicle, which drivers feel gives them protection against other cars on the road. SUVs also have larger interior space so that if another car were to hit the SUV, passenger inside may be protected by the buffered space inside. However, with all the safety features of a modern SUV, they may still be prone to rollover accidents.
Causes of Rollover Accidents
According to a Frontline report, in 2002, there were an estimated 70,000 SUV rollovers, resulting in almost 2,000 deaths. Since that time, car manufacturers have made some safety improvements. However, rollover accidents are still a major cause of serious and fatal SUV car accidents. There are a number of factors that increase the likelihood of a rollover accident, including high center of gravity, high speed, and uneven driving surface.
Rollover accidents can be classified as tripped or untripped rollovers. Tripped rollovers are the most common of the two and occur when an external force causes the vehicle to flip over. This can be caused by striking a curb, hitting a guardrail, or going off the side of the road. SUVs have a higher center of gravity than most passenger cars. When an outside force interrupts the vehicle's path, the center of gravity may cause the vehicle to tip over, resulting in a rollover accident.
Untripped rollovers are less common but just as dangerous. An untripped rollover involves the vehicle losing contact with the ground and flipping over without an outside force. This usually involves going around a corner too quickly, turning too fast and hitting the brakes, or cornering on a wet or icy road.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), SUVs and pickup trucks are twice as likely to roll over as passenger vehicles. In recent years, more SUVs have added safety measures to reduce rollover risk. One of the most important safety measures is electronic stability control systems. These computerized systems have sensors around the vehicle that measure speed, acceleration, direction, and braking to anticipate rollovers. These systems will apply the brakes to one or more wheels to avoid loss of vehicle control. While this used to be a luxury feature, more and more standard SUVs are installing such systems to reduce rollover risk. Stability control can reduce the risk of fatal single-SUV rollovers by as much as 80%.
Another safety feature includes side airbags. Side airbags deploy in a rollover accident to protect the head and face of the driver and passenger. It also acts as a buffer to keep the occupant's body from striking the side or top of the vehicle in a rollover accident. Combined with a seatbelt, airbags also help to keep the occupant in their seat and prevent their body from hitting the vehicle's interior.
Another cause of rollover accidents can be related to manufacturing defects. Tire defect can result in a blown tire at high speed, which can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle, resulting in a rollover accident. In some case, vehicle and parts manufacturers are aware of the defect but do not warn consumers. After an accident caused by a defective product, the injured victims may be able to seek compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
SUV Rollover Injuries
Single-vehicle rollovers have the highest rate of fatality of any other kind of motor vehicle accident. In other accidents, the occupant may be thrown in one direction. However, in a rollover accident, the occupant may be thrown in different directions as the car first starts to tip and then continues to roll over. The occupant may be thrown against the side of the vehicle, top, front, and floor. If they are not wearing a seatbelt, they may even be thrown from the vehicle, which often results in a fatality. Rollover accident injuries are often serious, including neck and back injury, internal injury, broken bones, spinal cord injury, head injury, and severed limbs.
SUV Rollover Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one was injured in an SUV rollover accident, you should talk to an experienced Maryland 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, and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Please do not hesitate to call Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.