What is a Rollover Car Accident?
A rollover car accident or rollover crash occurs when a vehicle tips over onto its side or roof. Rollover accidents occur far too frequently in Texas. This comprehensive guide will help you understand the causes, prevention strategies, and legal implications of the many fatal rollover accidents here in Texas.
How can Varghese Summersett help after a Rollover car accident?
Our personal injury lawyers can provide valuable assistance after a rollover accident in several ways:
- Case evaluation: We will review the details of your accident, help determine liability, and assess the potential value of your claim.
- Investigation: We will conduct a thorough investigation, gathering critical evidence such as police reports, witness statements, surveillance footage, and expert testimonies to build a strong case.
- Expert consultation: We will work with experts in fields such as accident reconstruction, engineering, and medical care to establish the cause of the rollover, the extent of your injuries, and future treatment needs.
- Legal guidance: We can help you understand your legal rights and options, and provide advice on the best course of action to pursue fair compensation.
- Negotiation: Many personal injury cases are resolved through negotiations with insurance companies or responsible parties. An experienced attorney can effectively negotiate on your behalf, ensuring you receive a fair settlement.
- Litigation: If negotiations fail or are not in your best interest, we will represent you in court, presenting your case persuasively to a judge or jury.
- Medical treatment coordination: We will help you get the proper medical care by coordinating with healthcare providers and ensuring that your treatment is documented for use in your claim.
- Damage calculation: Our personal injury attorney can accurately calculate the damages you have suffered, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses resulting from the accident.
- Protection from unfair tactics: Insurance companies may use various tactics to minimize or deny your claim. We will protect your interests by ensuring that you are not taken advantage of during the claims process.
- Peace of mind: Lastly, having a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury lawyer by your side can provide you with the peace of mind needed to focus on your recovery, knowing that your case is being handled professionally and efficiently.
What are the types of rollover car accidents?
Rollovers can be categorized as either tripped or untripped:
Tripped rollovers: These rollovers occur often when a vehicle leaves the roadway and slides sideways, encountering a force (such as a curb, guardrail, or soft soil) that trips the vehicle and causes it to roll over.
Untripped rollovers: These are rarer and typically involve high-speed maneuvers or collisions with other vehicles that cause the vehicle to become airborne and rollover.
Rollover accidents are a particularly dangerous type of car accident that can lead to severe injuries and fatalities.
Common Injuries in Rollover Accidents
Injuries sustained in car rollover accidents can range from mild to severe, with some of the most common injuries including:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs): These injuries can result from the force of the vehicle rolling over, causing the head to collide with the vehicle’s interior or objects outside the vehicle. TBIs can range from mild concussions to severe brain damage.
- Spinal cord injuries: Rollover accidents can place significant stress on the spinal column, potentially leading to fractures, dislocations, and even paralysis.
- Fractures and broken bones: The force exerted during a rollover can cause fractures in various parts of the body, including the skull, ribs, arms, legs, and pelvis.
- Internal organ damage: The impact of a rollover accident can cause blunt force trauma, leading to injuries to internal organs such as the lungs, liver, kidneys, or spleen.
- Lacerations and abrasions: Broken glass and sharp objects within the vehicle can cause cuts and scrapes during a rollover accident.
- Neck and back injuries: The sudden, forceful motion of a rollover accident can strain or damage the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the neck and back.
- Crush injuries: The weight of the vehicle and the force of the impact can cause crushing injuries to occupants, particularly if the vehicle’s roof collapses during the rollover.
- Ejection injuries: If occupants are not wearing seatbelts or the vehicle’s restraints fail, they may be ejected from the vehicle, increasing the risk of severe injuries or fatalities.
- Whiplash: This injury occurs when the head and neck are suddenly and forcefully thrown back and forth, causing strain and damage to the muscles and ligaments in the neck.
- Contusions and bruises: Blunt force trauma from a rollover accident can cause bruising to the skin and underlying tissues.
The Most Common Causes of Rollover Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) both provide information and guidance on rollover accidents to improve road safety and reduce the number of rollover accidents occur, fatalities and injuries. Both agencies have found the following as contributing factors to rollover accidents.
- Vehicle type: Taller, narrower vehicles like SUVs and pickup trucks have a higher center of gravity, making them more susceptible to rollovers.
- Speed: Excessive speed increases the likelihood of losing control and rolling over, especially during sharp turns or evasive maneuvers.
- Alcohol impairment: Driving under the influence of alcohol impairs judgment and reaction time, making it more likely for a driver to lose control and cause a rollover accident.
- Road conditions: Uneven or slippery road surfaces can cause a vehicle to skid and potentially roll over.
- Distracted driving: Using a cell phone, eating, or engaging in other distractions while driving increases the likelihood of an accident, including fatal rollovers..
Six Tips for Preventing Rollover Car Accidents
To reduce the risk of a single vehicle being involved in a rollover car accident, consider the following safety tips:
- Choose a vehicle with a low center of gravity and a wide wheelbase.
- Regularly maintain your vehicle, ensuring the tires are properly inflated and the suspension is in good condition.
- Avoid excessive speeding and aggressive driving.
- Always wear a seatbelt and ensure all passengers do the same.
- Refrain from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Stay focused on the road and avoid distractions.
Why is proper tire pressure important to avoiding Rollover Car Accidents?
Maintaining proper tire pressure is important for several reasons, one of which is reducing the risk of a vehicle rollover or accident. Here are some ways that proper tire pressure contributes to vehicle stability and helps avoid rollover accidents:
- Improved vehicle handling: Properly inflated tires provide better contact with the road surface, ensuring that the vehicle responds effectively to steering inputs. Underinflated or overinflated tires can result in reduced traction, making it more difficult to control the vehicle, especially during sudden maneuvers or in emergency situations.
- Enhanced stability: Proper tire pressure helps maintain a vehicle’s overall stability by evenly distributing the vehicle’s weight across all four tires. If tire pressure is uneven or outside the recommended range, it can cause the vehicle to become unbalanced, increasing the likelihood of a rollover accident during turns or abrupt maneuvers.
- Reduced tire wear and blowouts: Maintaining the correct tire pressure helps ensure even tire wear and reduces the risk of a tire blowout. A blowout or sudden loss of tire pressure can lead to a loss of vehicle control, potentially resulting in a rollover accident, especially at high speeds.
- Optimal braking performance: Proper tire pressure enables more efficient braking by maintaining consistent contact between the tire and the road. Inadequate tire pressure can impair braking performance, increasing the stopping distance and making it more challenging to avoid a potential rollover accident.
- Reduced risk of tire-related accidents: Maintaining correct tire pressure can help prevent tire-related accidents by ensuring that your tires are functioning at their optimal capacity. Tire-related accidents can include tread separations, blowouts, and skidding, all of which can potentially contribute to rollover accidents.
What changes have been made to vehicles to avoid or reduce rollover accident injuries and deaths?
Vehicle manufacturers and regulatory bodies have made several changes over the years to reduce rollover crashes, injuries and fatalities. Some of these improvements include:
- Electronic Stability Control (ESC): ESC is a technology that helps drivers maintain control of their vehicles during sudden maneuvers or on slippery surfaces. It detects loss of steering control, applies brakes to individual wheels, and reduces engine power as needed to help stabilize the vehicle, reducing the risk of rollover accidents.
- Rollover airbags: Also known as curtain airbags, these are designed to deploy in the event of a rollover to protect occupants from head and neck injuries. They typically cover the side windows and stay inflated longer than conventional airbags to provide continuous protection during a rollover.
- Improved roof strength: Vehicle manufacturers have increased the strength of roof structures to better withstand the force of a rollover and help prevent roof crush injuries. This is especially important because roof crush is a significant contributor to injuries and fatalities in rollover accidents.
- Lower center of gravity: Manufacturers have redesigned some vehicles, particularly SUVs and pickup trucks, to have a lower center of gravity. A lower center of gravity helps increase vehicle stability and reduces the likelihood of a rollover.
- Traction control systems: These systems help prevent wheel spin during acceleration on slippery or uneven surfaces, providing better control and reducing the risk of a rollover accident.
- Tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS): TPMS alerts drivers when tire pressure is too low, helping to maintain proper tire pressure and reducing the risk of tire-related accidents, which can contribute to rollovers.
- Enhanced safety belt systems: Seat belts remain one of the most effective ways to prevent serious injuries and fatalities in a rollover accident. Manufacturers have improved seat belt systems by adding features like pretensioners and load limiters, which help better restrain occupants during a crash.
- Advanced crash avoidance technologies: Newer vehicles are equipped with various advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), such as forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and blind-spot monitoring, which can help prevent situations that could lead to rollover accidents.
Why are some types of vehicles more prone to rolling over?
Certain types of vehicles are more prone to rolling over due to factors such as their design, center of gravity, and suspension systems. Some of these factors include:
- Higher center of gravity: Vehicles with a higher center of gravity, such as SUVs, pickup trucks, and vans, are more likely to roll over in accidents. When a vehicle with a high center of gravity takes a sharp turn, the forces acting on the vehicle can cause it to become unbalanced and roll over.
- Narrow track width: A narrow track width (the distance between the left and right wheels) can contribute to a vehicle’s instability during turns or sudden maneuvers. Vehicles with a narrower track width have a higher risk of rolling over when compared to those with a wider track width.
- Vehicle weight: Heavier vehicles are generally more stable and less likely to roll over compared to lighter ones. However, if a heavy vehicle has a high center of gravity, it can still be prone to rolling over.
- Suspension systems: The design of a vehicle’s suspension system can impact its stability. Vehicles with softer suspensions tend to have more body roll during cornering, which can contribute to a higher risk of rollover. Stiffer suspensions help minimize body roll and enhance stability.
- Tires and tire pressure: Tires with low tire pressure or those that are not designed for the specific vehicle can affect its handling and stability, increasing the likelihood of a rollover.
- Speed and driver behavior: Driving at high speeds, taking sharp turns, or making sudden maneuvers can increase the risk of a rollover, especially in vehicles with a higher center of gravity or narrow track width. Driver behavior plays a crucial role in determining the risk of a rollover.
- Road conditions: Slippery or uneven road surfaces can cause a vehicle to lose traction, potentially leading to a rollover. Sharp turns, steep slopes, and other challenging road conditions can also contribute to an increased risk of rollovers.
What is the Statute of Limitations for a Rollover Accident?
In Texas, you generally have two years from the date of the car rollover accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. A lawyer can help you meet this deadline and avoid forfeiting your right to seek compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Rollover Accidents
Vehicles with a higher center of gravity, such as SUVs, pickup trucks, and vans, are more susceptible to rollover accidents than lower, wider vehicles like sedans and sports cars.
First, call 911 and report the accident. Seek medical attention if you or any passengers are injured. Next, take photographs of the scene, document any injuries, and exchange information with any other parties involved. Finally, contact a rollover accident attorney to discuss your legal options.
Texas follows a modified comparative fault rule, which means you can still recover damages if you were partially at fault, as long as your percentage of fault is 50% or less. However, your total compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
While there are no laws that specifically target rollover accidents, Texas has numerous traffic laws and safety regulations that, if violated, could contribute to a rollover accident. These may include speeding, reckless driving, and driving under the influence.
Compensation may include economic damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage, as well as non-economic damages like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. The amount of compensation varies depending on the severity of injuries and the circumstances of the accident.
The timeline for resolving a rollover accident claim varies depending on factors like the complexity of the case, the extent of the injuries, and whether the case goes to trial or settles out of court. It can take anywhere from several months to a few years.
Rollover accident injuries can range from minor to severe and may include fractures, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, internal organ damage, lacerations, and even fatalities.
Yes, in Texas, certain family members (spouse, children, or parents) may file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a loved one who died as a result of a rollover accident. You typically have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim.
While you are not required to hire an attorney, it’s highly recommended, as rollover accident cases can be complex. An experienced rollover accident attorney can help you navigate the legal process, negotiate with insurance companies, and advocate for maximum compensation.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a rollover accident in Texas, give us at call at (817) 207-4878 or contact us online.