Rollover Accidents: Risks, Injuries and Factors

One of the most devastating types of car accidents is a rollover. A rollover occurs when the force of a turn or collision causes a vehicle to tip and roll onto its roof. In some cases, the collision force is so great that the vehicle rolls several times before its momentum decreases enough to stop.

In addition to the severity of the initial impact—which is forceful enough to tip your car—a rollover can cause your vehicle to slam into the ground several times. Each time the vehicle impacts the ground, the risk for serious injury increases. The impacts can throw passengers around, toss debris around in the vehicle, and damage internal vehicle parts which could ignite.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), only 3 percent of accidents cause rollovers, but they account for a third of all traffic fatalities. With numbers like this, it’s obvious that rollover accidents are deadly and need to be understood and avoided.

Rollover Risks

Taking a good look at some of the actions that lead to rollover accidents can help you take precautions and avoid unnecessary risks. Some of the primary causes of rollover car crashes are…

  • Driving a susceptible vehicle. Since rollovers occur as a result of the collision force, all types of vehicles can have the potential to roll over. However, as a result of weight and balance, vehicles with a higher center of gravity are more susceptible to rolling over than others. Cars like minivans, SUVs, trucks, and RVs have higher centers of gravity, which increases their risk of tipping over. Lighter vehicles such as sports cars and minis are also vulnerable to multi-rolls, as they can’t disperse the force of a collision as quickly or as efficiently as larger, heavier models.
  • Speeding. A car can rollover when it’s going as slow as fifteen miles an hour, but severe incidents (where the vehicles roll over multiple times) occur when the car is going at an excessive speed. According to the NHTSA, 40 percent of fatal rollover crashes occur when the driver goes over the speed limit, and almost 74 percent of all rollover fatalities happen where the posted speed limit was 55 miles an hour.
  • Driving while distracted. Most rollover accidents occur during routine driving—during daily commutes, school drop-off, grocery runs, etc. We have a theory as to why that is. We have noticed that many of our clients have been injured in accidents where the other driver was talking on the cell phone, or texting, or fiddling with their iPod; in short, they occur due to people not paying attention to the road. It isn’t hard to imagine someone drifting off into another lane while they text their friends and then jerking the wheel back in order to correct themselves. This is the sort of thing that causes rollover accidents. If you are driving, keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.

Common Injuries and Factors of Rollover Accidents

There is no such thing as a pleasant car accident. However, some types are better than others. From head-on collisions to being rear-ended, there are many different types of accidents that can cause injury, but one of the most deadly types is the rollover accident.

Rolling the Dice on Injury

Rollover accidents occur when the force of a collision causes a car’s center of gravity to ship, tipping over the vehicle. The force of the collision doesn’t just bump the car onto its side, but causes the car to roll until the momentum has subsided. In some cases, a rollover can cause a car to complete several revolutions before it settles, inflicting a tremendous amount of suffering on the passengers inside.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rollovers have a higher rate of fatality than any other type of collision. Consequently, they cause about one-fifth of all traffic fatalities and a significant number of severe injuries.

Due to multiple impact forces, passengers secured inside a rollover vehicle can suffer lacerations, broken bones, internal injuries, brain and spinal cord damage, or even death. In addition, if anyone in the car is not wearing a seat belt, the sheer force of the rollover can toss them around the vehicle like a rag doll, or even throw them from the vehicle.

Rollover Causes

Rollover accidents usually occur one of four ways:

  1. Hitting a low obstacle. Just as people can trip and fall over small obstacle, if a car hits an immovable object with enough force, it can cause the car to flip and roll.
  2. Swerving. If a driver begins to veer off the road or sees a hazard, he may swerve at too sharp of an angle. As a result, the car’s center of gravity becomes imbalanced, and the force of the curve can push the car over.
  3. Speeding in a curve. When a sharp turn is taken too quickly (55 mph or more), just as with a swerve, the sudden curve can cause the vehicle’s center of gravity to be thrown off and force the car to tip over and begin rolling.
  4. Colliding with another vehicle. Rollovers may also occur when a car is hit from the side or at an angle, causing the vehicle to flip over. This is especially common on rural roads where there are no medians or barriers to prevent the car from flipping.

Settling Upright

In order to ensure you and your passengers are safe during and after a rollover accident, be sure to…

  • Take turns slowly and carefully.
  • Verify that all occupants wearing their seat belts at all times.
  • Contact an experienced car accident attorney.

The team at Steven M. Lee P.C. has over 30 years experience helping car accident victims get the compensation they need for their injuries. Pick up the phone or click the Live Chat link now to see how we can help you turn your rollover accident around.

Most insurance companies do whatever they can to avoid paying the true value of an expensive accident claim. Despite your need for financial relief, these companies tend to care more about preserving their bottom line than worrying about your upended future. However, personal injury and car accident lawyer Steve Lee has spent close to forty years helping accident victims such as yourself get fair treatment from these unsympathetic insurance companies. Consequently, he takes these cases very seriously, and works to provide aggressive legal help and strategic planning to all his clients.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact our office today for a free case assessment by filling out the electronic form on this page or by calling us directly at 713-921-4171. We’re eager to start working toward turning your future back to right-side up.