Rollover Car Accidents: Causes, Consequences, and Steps to Take
Rollover accidents are among the most dangerous and lethal types of car accidents, often resulting in severe injuries or fatalities. Although they account for only a small percentage of total accidents, they have a higher fatality rate. Below, we delve into the statistics, common causes, and injuries associated with rollover accidents. Additionally, we discuss crucial steps that should be taken after being involved in such an accident.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rollovers account for a disproportionately high number of fatalities on U.S. roads. Despite only making up about 2.1% of all motor vehicle accidents, rollovers were responsible for approximately 35% of all passenger vehicle occupant fatalities in 2020.
The NHTSA data also reveals that:
Roughly 85% of rollover-related fatalities are the result of single-vehicle crashes. This suggests that driver behavior, such as speeding or alcohol impairment, plays a significant role in these accidents.
Sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickup trucks are more prone to rollover accidents due to their higher center of gravity. In 2020, these vehicles were involved in 47% of fatal rollover crashes.
The majority of those killed in rollover accidents (around 70%) were not wearing seatbelts. This statistic underscores the importance of seatbelt use in reducing fatalities in such crashes.
Common Causes of Rollover Accidents
Tire Blowouts: A tire blowout occurs when a tire suddenly loses air pressure, making it difficult to control the vehicle. This can cause the driver to overcorrect or lose control, leading to a rollover accident. Proper tire maintenance and ensuring adequate tire pressure can help prevent blowouts.
Road Conditions: Slippery roads, uneven surfaces, or obstacles in the road can cause a driver to lose control and result in a rollover accident. Drivers should always exercise caution and adjust their speed according to road conditions.
Reckless Driving: Excessive speed, impaired driving, and aggressive maneuvers can significantly increase the risk of rollover accidents. Adhering to speed limits, driving defensively, and avoiding distractions can help prevent such accidents.
Vehicle Design: Vehicles with a higher center of gravity, like SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks, are more prone to rollovers. Understanding a vehicle's limitations and driving accordingly can minimize the risk of a rollover accident.
Injuries Commonly Suffered in Rollover Accidents
Rollover accidents can cause severe injuries due to the force and impact involved. Some common injuries include:
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): The sudden impact of a rollover can cause the brain to move within the skull, leading to severe brain injuries.
Spinal Cord Injuries: The violent nature of rollovers can damage the spinal cord, potentially resulting in paralysis or loss of function.
Broken Bones: The force of a rollover can cause fractures in various parts of the body, including limbs, ribs, and the pelvis.
Internal Injuries: The impact of a rollover can cause damage to internal organs, such as the lungs, liver, or spleen.
Lacerations: Glass and debris from the accident can lead to deep cuts and lacerations.
What to Do After a Rollover Accident
Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. If anyone is injured, call for emergency medical services immediately. Even if you don't feel hurt, it's important to get checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible. In some cases, injuries may not be immediately apparent, and delaying medical attention could result in more serious complications.
Make sure you are in a safe location. If possible, move your car out of traffic and away from the road to avoid getting hit by other vehicles. Turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers of the accident. If you can't move your car, get out of the vehicle and move to a safe location away from traffic.
Once you are safe, call the police and report the accident. Provide them with your location and any information you have about the accident. This information could include the number of passengers in your car, the condition of the vehicle, and any other details you can recall about the accident.
While you are waiting for the police to arrive, exchange information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. Get their names, contact information, insurance information, and license plate numbers. If there were any witnesses to the accident, ask for their contact information as well. This information will be useful when you file an insurance claim.
If you re able, take pictures of the accident scene and the damage to your vehicle. Capture images of any skid marks or debris on the road, as well as the positions of the vehicles involved in the accident. These pictures can serve as evidence if there is a dispute about who was at fault for the accident.
After the police arrive, provide them with your account of what happened. Be honest and straightforward in your statements. The police will use this information to create an accident report, which will be useful when you file your insurance claim.
The Importance of Consulting with an Experienced Attorney
It is always a good idea to consult with an attorney after a rollover accident, even if you beleive the accident may have been your fault. The causes of rollover accidents can be complex and multi-factorial. A lawyer can help you determine whether you may have a personal injury claim against which party or parties that claim may be pursued.
Phillips & Associates has been handling rollover car accidents in San Diego, Los Angeles, and throughout southern California for more than 30 years. We offer free consultations and only charge a fee for our services if there is a recovery in your case.
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