Understanding Rollover Car Crashes

A rollover crash is one where a vehicle rotates on its roof or side. In some situations, a car might roll over multiple times. Thankfully, these events are somewhat rare. However, your chances of being seriously injured or killed is greatly increased if you are involved in a rollover accident. In fact, a rollover crash is among the deadliest of all car crashes.

Let’s take a closer look at this car accident type. Some of the topics we’ll discuss include:

  • Rollover crash statistics
  • Factors that increase your chances for being in a rollover crash
  • Common rollover crash injuries
  • Rollover crashes and personal injury settlements

Before we get started, please know that you can always pick up the phone or shoot us a message if you have a specific accident you’d like free legal advice about. There’s never a charge to have one of our Tacoma car accident lawyers hear what happened and let you know if we think we can help.

Rollover Car Crash Statistics

We looked over some reports at the National Center for Statistics and Analysis to see what we could learn about rollover crashes.

Here are some startling facts:

  • Rollover crashes account for almost 20% of all motor vehicle fatalities.
  • Nearly 75% of people who are killed in rollover crashes weren’t wearing seatbelts.
  • Most (90%) of rollover crashes happen on undivided two-lane roads. Most of these are on rural roads.
  • Alcohol is often a factor in fatal rollover crashes.
  • Most rollover crashes involve only a single vehicle, often leaving the roadway.
  • Speed is a key factor in many rollover crashes. Most happen on roads with speed limits of 55 mph or greater.

What Causes a Vehicle to Roll Over?

While any car has the potential to roll over, certain factors an increase the likelihood. Understanding these factors can help you take steps to avoid a rollover in the first place.

  1. Speeding. Pay particular attention to posted speed limits when traveling on rural and winding roads. Sharp turns and speeding are a dangerous mix.
  2. Alcohol and drugs. Your judgment and reflexes are slowed when you drink, making you unsafe behind the wheel. It’s also illegal. Just don’t do it.
  3. Tire pressure or tread. Make sure that your tires’ tread isn’t worn and that there’s good air pressure. Get your tires rotated on a regular basis.
  4. Higher center of gravity. Vehicles with a higher center of gravity, such as SUVs and vans, are at higher risk of toppling. Ideally, choose a vehicle with a lower center of gravity. Before purchasing, look up the NHTSA safety rating for the make/model you’re considering. One rating, known as Static Stability Factor, measures a vehicle’s rollover risk.
  5. Overloaded vehicles. An overloaded vehicle, particularly one with an already higher center of gravity, is at risk of rolling over. Use caution when loading your vehicle, taking care to distribute the weight evenly.

Of course, there’s always a chance you can end up in a rollover crash, no matter how careful you are. For this reason, please always wear your seatbelt.

Reduce your chances of a vehicle rollover crash

Injuries in a Rollover Crash

As mentioned before, a vehicle rollover is a particularly dangerous crash type. We often see more serious injuries and fatalities in a rollover than other crashes, such as rear-end or head-on collisions.

  • Traumatic Brain Injury. A primary concern whenever there is a rollover is brain injury. The roof of most vehicles provides little protection if it crumples. In our experience, traumatic brain injuries are some of the most devastating a victim can suffer. Some victims require assistance for daily tasks for the rest of their lives.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries. If the spinal cord becomes injured, there’s a real risk for a victim to become paralyzed.
  • Broken Bones. Arms, wrists, and legs can break as they forcefully strike the inside of the vehicle. The chance for broken bones increases if the victim is ejected from the car.
  • Other Catastrophic Injuries. A rollover crash is a violent event. Occupants could suffer a catastrophic injury such as loss of a limb, eyesight, or severe burns.
  • Trauma. It’s important to acknowledge the very real mental harm a victim can suffer after an incident like a rollover crash. PTSD, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and flashbacks are all common. A victim may be fearful of ever driving again.

Any of these injuries could require emergency treatment, hospitalization, surgery, plus ongoing care. Some victims may never quite recover from their injuries or require ongoing assistance with daily tasks.

Rollover Crashes and Personal Injury Settlements

Have you been injured in a rollover crash? If so, you may have questions about your personal injury settlement. Here are a few things to keep in mind that can impact your settlement amount:

  • Your fault percentage. In Washington, your settlement award will be reduced by any amount you’re found at fault. If it was completely the other driver’s error, you will receive the full amount. However, suppose you were speeding at the time of the collision or not wearing your seatbelt. In these instances, your settlement award may be proportionally reduced.
  • Insurance policies available and limits. If the driver that hit you was insured, their policy will cover your damages. In the event the driver was not insured, we hope you have uninsured motorist coverage on your policy. A similar coverage, underinsured motorist coverage, will kick in if the other driver’s policy doesn’t entirely cover your losses.
  • Severity of injuries. Unsurprisingly, the more severe the injuries, the higher the potential settlement. This is for two reasons. First, the medical expenses and care tend to be greater. Second, the impact to your life tends to be higher.
  • Use of an attorney. Studies show that car accident victims tend to receive higher settlement amounts when they involve an attorney. There is no risk to reach out to a local, well-rated car accident attorney to see if they can help. At Ladenburg Law, we offer free consultations which means you can explore that option before committing to anything.

Single-Car Involved Rollover Crashes

Sometimes, there isn’t a second car involved in a rollover crash. In fact, most rollover crashes only involve a single vehicle. For instance, it’s possible for a car to lose control speeding around a corner. You might be wondering if you would be eligible to receive a personal injury settlement in this situation. The answer is it depends. 

First, you should know that your Personal Injury Protection coverage should take care of your medical expenses, regardless of fault. However, the policy limits may not be high enough to cover bills from a very serious injury. In this case, your medical insurance could kick in.

In some rare instances, you may be able to file a claim against another party if you can prove their negligence caused your rollover crash. For example, you could file a claim against:

  • A city who failed to fix a known road hazard or post proper signage
  • A mechanic who made improper/incomplete repairs
  • A manufacturer for a design flaw

However, any of these scenarios requires substantial evidence of the other party’s guilt. In other words, these types of cases are more difficult to win than typical car crashes. Your best bet is to call an attorney to ask for their opinion on what happened. We’d be happy to hear from you and let you know what legal options you may have.

Talk to an Attorney about your Rollover Crash

Would you like to get a free consultation with a car accident lawyer about a recent rollover crash? The lawyers at Ladenburg Law would be happy to assist you. Just call or fill out the short form on our contact page. There’s never a fee or obligation to see if we can assist you. Plus, we work on a contingency basis, which means you’ll only pay us if we’re able to win you a settlement.

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