Rollovers account for only about 3% of all major vehicle accidents in the U.S. However, they are the cause of roughly 30% of all passenger fatalities.
Many people die when they are partially or fully ejected from the vehicle during a rollover. If the victims survive, they may have to endure catastrophic, life-altering injuries.
How a rollover occurs
When there is a high center of gravity in a vehicle, it is top-heavier than, for example, a standard sedan. Examples are SUVs, vans and pickups. These vehicles are taller and narrower than traditional passenger cars. Top-heavy vehicles are more susceptible to the sideways forces that move the center of gravity to one side, as when the vehicle rounds a curve. These forces increase with speed or when the driver quickly changes direction. The result of making too sharp a turn followed by rapid overcorrection may cause the vehicle to roll over.
The “tripping” issue
According to the federal government, 95% of all rollover crashes happen when the vehicle “trips” on something, such as a pothole or the soft shoulder at the side of the road. Basically, the SUV, van or pickup leans to the side and the sidewall of a tire deforms under that pressure. The wheel rim connects with the pavement or shoulder, causing a tip-up. The driver loses control and the vehicle rolls over.
The responsible party
There are single-vehicle rollovers caused by debris in the roadway, poor weather conditions or driver fatigue, distraction, intoxication or inexperience. However, negligence may lie with another driver who forces the circumstances that result in a devastating rollover. Negligence may also lie with city, county or state governments if poor road maintenance was at fault, as in the case of a vehicle striking a pothole. If you sustain injuries in a rollover crash, explore your legal options. You may be entitled to financial compensation to cover your medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and more.