Understanding the Causes and Effects of Rollover Crashes

SUV with crushed rood from rollover crashRollover accidents are terrifying events, and they are overwhelmingly likely to cause serious injuries for the occupants of a vehicle. A steep curve, a swerve to avoid a collision, or even hitting a pothole can redirect the forward motion of a vehicle downward, rolling it over and over until it loses momentum—or hits another object.

Injuries Suffered by Passengers and Drivers in Rollover Accidents

Depending on the speed and trajectory of the vehicle, a car may tip over once or roll several times before coming to a stop, causing trauma to nearly every part of a victim’s body. When a vehicle rolls over, passengers can suffer severe injuries that may include:

  • Brain injuries. The repeated rolling of the vehicle can cause traumatic brain injury (TBI), skull fractures, concussions, whiplash, or contusions. If the car comes to rest on its roof, head and spinal cord injuries may result in permanent disability.
  • Fractures. Arm, leg, and hand fractures are common as a person’s limbs strike the vehicle’s interior, while tightening restraints may cause rib and pelvic fractures.
  • Internal injuries. Thoracic injuries, including organ damage and internal bleeding, are a common effect of a car rolling over several times.
  • Compression injuries. If the car lands on its side, occupants can suffer crushed limbs that require amputation or cause permanent nerve damage.
  • Lacerations and scarring. Glass from a shattered window or windshield may cause deep cuts that scar a victim’s face, while dental injuries and broken cheekbones can further increase the risk of disfigurement.
  • Psychological trauma. A rollover crash victim can suffer extensive emotional suffering, including the inability to ride in a car or persistent flashbacks to the event.
  • Death. Seatbelts are the best way to prevent fatal injuries in a rollover crash. Passengers who are unbuckled, or those whose restraints fail, may slam against windows and dashboards or even be ejected from the vehicle, causing fatal injuries.

Who Can Be Held Liable for a Rollover Crash?

Rollover crashes usually fall into two categories. Tripped rollovers occur when a vehicle’s tires strike something that cause a skid, such as uneven terrain or road debris. Untripped rollovers are not as common as tripped rollovers, and are caused by sudden movements in top-heavy or unevenly-weighted vehicles.

Many different parties could be held liable for a rollover accident, such as:

  • The driver of your vehicle. If you were riding as a passenger when a rollover occurred, you may be able to collect compensation from the person who was driving the vehicle.
  • The driver of another vehicle. Speeding is a factor in about half of all rollover accidents, and the majority of these crashes take place on roads where the speed limit is 55 mph or higher. If the at-fault driver was speeding, distracted, intoxicated, or otherwise negligent, you may be owed compensation from his or her insurance company.
  • Automakers. While any type of vehicle can roll over, certain vehicles are more likely to be involved in these types of accidents. Minivans, SUVs, and pickup trucks all have a high center of gravity, meaning they tend to tip over more easily than lower-profile vehicles. If the automaker did not properly test your vehicle or make attempts to reduce the risk of a rollover before releasing it onto the market, you may be able to file a product liability claim.
  • Tire manufacturers. Tire blowouts are a common instigating factor in a rollover crash, since they cause a driver to lose control at the same time the vehicle “dips” onto the blown tire. A tire company may be liable if your tires were defective, if the auto shop installed the wrong tires for your vehicle, or if the tire was not patched properly.
  • Municipal governments. Roads with sharp curves, potholes, lack of warning signs, ineffective barriers, or gravel and oil spills are common sites of rollover crashes. City and state governments may be liable for crash injuries if they could have done more to prevent the accident.

 If you were hurt in an auto accident that was not your fault, our injury lawyers can perform a full investigation to determine liability, and we do not collect anything unless we secure you compensation. To set up a free initial consultation, simply fill out the short contact form on this page. For more information, you can also request a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.

John Griffith
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Nashville Personal Injury Trial Attorney