Rollover Car Accidents
While all types of motor vehicle accidents have the potential to cause serious injury or death, rollover accidents are especially dangerous. It’s well-documented the fatality rate of rollover crashes is much higher than in other kinds of crashes.
Although rollovers occur in only 3 percent of serious crashes, they account for about 30 percent of all accident fatalities for those in passenger vehicles.
Fort Lauderdale auto accident attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm are dedicated to protecting your rights in the wake of a serious traffic accident.
It’s especially important in these cases to secure a legal team with experience because not only do the injuries tend to be more serious, but there may be the potential for a product liability claim as well. That is, was there some defect in the vehicle or with certain vehicle parts that contributed to the crash or made it unreasonably dangerous?Causes of Rollover Crashes
Rollover crashes can be complex, caused by a number of factors, including driver behavior, road conditions, vehicle type and environmental circumstances.
Although a rollover can potentially happen with any kind of vehicle, it’s most common in vehicles that are taller and narrower, with a higher center of gravity. So most commonly, this means:
- Sport utility vehicles (SUVs)
- Pickup trucks
- Vans (especially 15-passenger vans)
With that higher center of gravity, sideways forces are generated when there is a shift in direction – particularly with a sharp turn followed by an overcorrection. This results in a kind of pendulum effect, with increasingly larger swings that inevitably result in loss of control.
In single-vehicle crashes, the catalyst is usually when the driver swerves to avoid something: A pothole, an animal, a curb or a roadside shoulder.
Excessive speed is a problem no matter what kind of vehicle one is involved. But it’s an especially common factor in rollover accidents. The higher the speed of the vehicle at the time of a rollover, the more likely it is to be deadly.
In fact, 40 percent of all fatal rollover crashes involve high speeds, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. What’s more, 75 percent of all rollovers in which someone died occurred when the posted speed limit was 55 mph or higher.
While we tend to think of urban areas as being more perilous places, when it comes to rollover accidents, rural roads tend to be the most dangerous. The reason is there are no barriers and the roads tend to be undivided. In fact, nearly 75 percent of all deadly rollover accidents happen in areas that are rural and where the speed limit is 55 mph or higher.
Almost half of all deadly rollover crashes involve at least one driver impaired by alcohol. This is significant when you consider the number of overall crashes involving alcohol is about 33 percent. So intoxication is a major factor in rollover accidents.
Data from the NHTSA shows the vast majority – 9 out of 10 – single-vehicle rollovers happen when the motorist is engaged in routine driving. What this tells us is that in all likelihood, other driver behavior, such as speed, distraction or drunk driving, plays a more significant role in these cases.
Almost 85 percent of all rollover-related deaths happen in single-vehicle accidents. Here again, this suggests driver behavior is often to blame. That doesn’t mean we can’t rule out the potential of a defective or unsafe vehicle, but it depends heavily on the underlying circumstances.Personal Injury Claim Following Rollover
Whether you are the driver or the passenger in a rollover crash, if you were injured, you should consult with a Fort Lauderdale auto accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Our legal team will want to investigate to answer key questions:
- What caused the vehicle to go sideways?
- What caused the vehicle to rollover?
- What caused plaintiff’s injuries?
- Who is responsible?
The reason we start with why the vehicle went sideways is that this is the catalyst for almost all rollover crashes. Before a vehicle can flip, it has to go sideways. We may look at whether there was an especially sharp curve or avoidance of another vehicle or a collision or a tire blow-out.
In some cases, product defects set off a chain of events. In others, it was the negligence of another driver. In such cases, we would explore claims against the product manufacturer or other driver, vehicle owner and relevant insurance companies.
Then we look at why the vehicle rolled over. A lot of vehicles encounter sideways forces, but not all of them rollover. In analyzing what went wrong in this case, we can begin to determine who may be liable.
And then we want to know what caused plaintiff’s injuries. This might seem obvious, but it’s imperative in a personal injury case to show plaintiff’s injuries were proximately caused by the accident, as opposed to something else.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Fort Lauderdale rollover accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm by calling (954) 761-4011 or toll-free at (888) ANSARA-8.