California Rollover Accident Attorneys
The experienced California rollover accident attorneys at Bisnar Chase have several decades of experience successfully representing catastrophically injured victims and their families. We have recovered tens of millions in settlements from major automakers and others for accident victims and their families. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a vehicle rollover accident, please contact us at 949-203-3814 for a free consultation.
Brian Chase, auto defect attorney that specializes in vehicle rollovers discusses the dangers of roof crush in a rollover accident and the catastrophic injuries it causes.
Rollovers are dangerous accidents that have a much higher fatality rate than other types of crashes. A vehicle is classified as rolling over when it tips over to its side or overturns completely. Rollover accidents are usually violent and may lead to partial or complete ejection of the vehicle's occupants. This significantly increases the likelihood of injury and/or death.
According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), rollover crashes account for only 2 percent of all traffic accidents, but they account for more than one-third of vehicle occupant deaths. For example, in 21,347 passenger vehicle occupants died in all types of crashes and 7,420 of those deaths involved accidents where the vehicle rolled over.
Causes of Vehicle Rollovers
Most rollover crashes happen when a driver loses control of a vehicle and it begins to slide sideways. When this occurs, the vehicle can be tripped by something and then roll over. The tripping object could be a curb or a guardrail. Rollovers can also happen when a driver tries to turn a vehicle too aggressively, at a high rate of speed or in conditions such as making tight turns. Rollovers may also occur when one side of the vehicle is flipped up suddenly by a guardrail or a ramp-like object. Often, we see that forces in a multi-vehicle collision may also cause a vehicle to roll. For example, a vehicle may be pushed over due to a side impact collision. However, statistics show that more than half of all occupants killed in single-vehicle crashes are involved in rollovers.
Vehicles Commonly Involved in Rollovers
Rollover accidents often involve SUVs and pickup trucks. According to the IIHS, in 2011, 55 percent of SUV occupants killed in traffic accidents were in vehicles that rolled over. In comparison, 46 percent of fatalities in pickup trucks and 24 percent of deaths in cars were in rollovers.
The reason pickups and SUVs tend to be prone to rollovers than cars is because of the physical differences in these vehicles. Light pickup trucks are taller than cars and have greater ground clearance.
This causes the mass of these vehicles to be distributed higher off the roadway relative to the width of the vehicle. When the vehicle is loaded with more passengers and cargo, it can cause the center of gravity to become even higher.
Types of Injuries in Vehicle Rollovers
Due to their violent nature and intensity, rollovers have the potential to cause catastrophic injuries or even deaths. Some of the common injuries that may be suffered in a rollover crash include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, bone fractures, internal injuries and amputations. A catastrophic injury is said to have occurred when a victim is permanently injured and disabled - when he or she is unable to make a complete recovery.
Suffering a catastrophic injury means that a victim will never return to the pre-accident state. Victims may never be able to participate in activities such as playing with their children or doing housework such as cooking, cleaning or mowing the yard. They may never be able to return to work or earn a livelihood, which may affect the entire family financially. Overall, rollover accidents can result in significant emotional financial impacts for both victims and their families.
Tips to Avoid being in a Rollover Accident
There are a number of reasons why rollovers occur. Here are a few tips on how to reduce the chances of a rollover crash:
- Check your tires: It is important to have tires that are properly inflated.
- Understand your loading limits: Heavy cargo can make your vehicle more prone to rolling over.
- Avoid panic-like steering: If there is debris in your lane of traffic, it is important that you act calmly. Pressing down on your brakes while carefully maneuvering into a different lane is considerably safer than jerking the wheel suddenly to one side.
- Learn about proper maneuvering: If your vehicle leaves the roadway, gradually reduce speed. Do not fight to point your car back into traffic right away.
- Slow down: Many rollover accidents involve a substantial amount of momentum and inertia. If you are traveling at a speed that is safe for the roadway conditions, you are less likely to rollover.
- Avoid top-heavy vehicles: When purchasing a car, it is important to remember that narrow vehicles with a high-center of gravity are prone to rolling over.
- Use caution on rural roads: The NHTSA estimates that nearly 75 percent of rollover crashes occur in rural areas. When on an open roadway, it is easy to lose focus and allow your vehicle to leave the roadway where it can easily tip over.
- Remain sober and alert: Drivers who are impaired and fatigued are much more likely to be involved in a fatal crash.
Liability in Rollover Crashes
An important part of any personal injury claim is determining liability for the crash. It is necessary to prove whether the rollover resulted from driver negligence or from a defective design. When defective design contributes to a crash, the auto manufacturer can be held accountable. When a defective part such as tire causes a rollover, the manufacturer of the faulty part can also be held liable. When a dangerous roadway condition causes or contributes to a rollover crash, the governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can be held accountable as well. When the crash was a direct result of driver carelessness or recklessness, then, he or she can be held liable for the damages suffered by the passengers.
Whether you are pursuing compensation from an auto manufacturer or from a careless driver, it is important to understand the potential value of your claim. Accepting a settlement that does not cover all of your losses will prevent you from pursuing additional compensation in the future. Depending on the cause of the crash and the severity of your injuries, you may be able to pursue compensation for damages including:
- Medical bills
- Lost wage
- Permanent injuries, scarring or disfigurement
- Lost future income
- Loss of life's enjoyment
- Pain and suffering