Rollover car accidents can be more devastating than almost any other crash type. According to the NHTSA, rollovers account for only 2.1% of annual car crashes but are responsible for nearly 35% of the fatalities caused by wrecks.
That’s because while most cars can withstand collision crashes (i.e., hitting bumpers or stationary objects), they’re not intended to roll safely. After a rollover car accident, you’ll want to understand who is at fault and if you’re entitled to compensation.
What Are the Vehicles Most Likely to Roll Over
The vehicles most likely to roll over are those with a high center of gravity and tall bodies, including
However, other causes beyond car design can contribute to this type of car accident.
The Main Causes of a Rollover Car Accident
Here are a few elements that can lead to a rollover:
Sharp curves. Curves are among the highest causes of rollovers, particularly on roads where lanes aren’t even.
Turns. Slick roads, evading obstacles, or going too fast can make an otherwise harmless turn into a dangerous one.
Soft shoulders or curbs. Some vehicles roll when one side of the car drops off a soft shoulder or up onto a curb. Anything that disrupts your vehicle’s forward motion and significantly changes the velocity can cause it to roll over the side or, in extreme cases, end-over-end.
Driver error. Drowsy, distracted, or drunk driving can force a fellow driver off the road. Depending on the speed and road conditions, that can lead to rolling.
It’s worth noting that not all rollovers are the same. In fact, there are two different types of rollovers, with their own outcomes.
Understanding the Two Types of Rollover Car Accidents
There are two types of rollovers: tripped and untripped.
Tripped Rollovers. When you hit a pothole or a crack in the road, your vehicle bounces. This strong down and upward force pushes your wheels up sharply for a moment. This is usually perfectly safe; your shock absorbers handle it. However, when your wheels hit something that fully destabilizes your vehicle’s center of gravity, the car is at risk of rolling.
When your vehicle ‘trips’ over something—a curb, a soft shoulder, a low guardrail, or even debris in the road—it can cause one set of your wheels to go significantly up or down such that your vehicle begins to spin over its center of gravity.
Untripped Rollovers. An untripped rollover is the product of velocity. Untripped accidents occur when you turn or break a tall vehicle so sharply that it loses its center of balance and tips into a roll. These are far rarer than tripped rollovers, accounting for only 5% of all rollover accidents. But they can also be far more dangerous regarding secondary collisions and damage.
Untripped rollovers often happen when a tall vehicle brakes or swerves to avoid other cars or obstacles—the sudden change in velocity unbalances the vehicle and sends it tumbling.
Common Rollover Car Accident Injuries
Rollovers can be much more violent than two-car collisions, causing fractures, whiplash, and spinal damage. Because of the changing directions and forces, there’s also an unusually high chance of someone being thrown, resulting in severely broken bones, cuts, and burns. Even if you remain inside your seatbelt harness, blunt force alone can cause significant damage to your internal organs.
Common rollover car accident injuries include:
- Damage to the back, neck, and spine
- Broken bones
- Multiple fractures
- Severe cuts and burns
- Head injury, concussion, and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Internal damage to bones and organs
Either you are being thrown around in a rolling vehicle, hanging from your seatbelt at many dangerous angles, or being hit with items that were inside the car. Damage can be even more significant for those thrown out a window or windshield.
The 5 Things to Do After a Rollover Car Accident
Taking the proper steps after a rollover accident can help as you look to heal your injuries and seek the funds you may deserve.
- Seek medical care. Whenever you suffer injuries in a vehicle accident, call 911 immediately. Try not to move around—some injuries, including spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injuries, may not show symptoms immediately. Follow all instructions given to you by medical personnel.
- Collect evidence about the accident. You may have been able to move around the scene and take some pictures of the road conditions, other vehicles, or the other driver. You can also seek witness statements. Include a copy of the police report in your evidence file.
- Contact your insurance company. Regardless of who caused the rollover accident, let your insurance company know what happened. Your insurance company may also help you pursue compensation from the other driver’s insurance company if they contributed to your accident.
- Keep track of your medical records. Once you begin medical care, keep records of everything the doctors tell you about your injuries, medical bills, and any other information about your recovery, including photographs. These records can make it easier for you to seek compensation later.
- Contact a lawyer. If you suffered severe injuries in a rollover accident and it wasn’t your fault, you’ll likely need an attorney. Swor & Gatto provides substantial legal support for our clients here in Minnesota and beyond. If you need help filing your claim or pursuing due compensation, set up your consultation with our legal team or learn more about our services.
Determining Fault for a Rollover Accident
According to the NHTSA, 85% of all rollover fatalities are single-vehicle accidents, which means that driver behavior is likely to blame. However, that doesn’t mean you’re automatically at fault for your rollover accident. Consider these potentially contributing factors:
Another driver’s behavior. You may have swerved to avoid another driver’s reckless or distracted actions, causing your car to roll.
Poor road conditions. Around 75% of rollover accidents occur on country roads with a speed limit of 55 mph or more. If they are poorly maintained, have sharp drops, or have other hazards (road work, for example), that can increase the likelihood of an accident.
Improperly constructed vehicles. Top-heavy SUVs have a higher risk of rollover than other vehicles. In some cases, manufacturer defects may increase the risk of rollover and fail to adequately protect those in the vehicle, potentially leaving the manufacturer liable for some of your damages.
Do I Need a Rollover Accident Attorney?
If you suffer injuries in such an accident, you may need legal help to determine who bears liability in your accident. And you deserve justice if another driver forced you into a rollover situation or manufacturer oversights led to defects—their negligence should not cost you pain, suffering, and medical bills for the rest of your life.
Call Swor & Gatto for Dedicated Legal Representation
If you recently experienced a catastrophic rollover due to someone else’s mistake, our experienced personal injury lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve. At Swor & Gatto, we can help you sort out the facts at the crash site, prove who was at fault, and establish a sustainable payment to cover medical bills and post-accident counseling.
We’re dedicated to helping car crash survivors find support and hold the at-fault party accountable so that you can get the compensation you need to recover. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a consultation on your case.