Rollover accidents are some of the most severe type of car accidents that can occur. There is a very high risk for injury as the car encounters the roadway, and other hazards. Often, these wrecks are single-vehicle crashes that do not impact other vehicles, but that does not make them any less dangerous.
Causes of Rollover Accidents
A rollover accident is any accident in which a car rolls onto its side or roof. These accidents make up a small percentage of the total number of auto accidents, but they are becoming more common as SUVs, trucks, and vans become increasingly popular. These vehicles have a higher center of gravity, which make them more prone to rollover accidents. Any vehicle can experience a rollover accident, and there are several factors that can contribute to a rollover. Those factors include:
- Speed: Excessive speed is a factor in approximately 40 percent of rollover crashes. Almost 75 percent of rollovers occur in areas with a posted speed limit of 55 miles per hour or higher.
- Hazards: Rollovers often occur when a vehicle trips over an obstacle, such as a pothole, curb, soft roadside shoulder, or other debris.
- Curves in the road: Making turns or rounding sharp curves can cause a vehicle’s gravity to shift, putting it at risk for tipping.
- Poor road conditions: Rollovers can occur more easily on slippery roads, but they are also common on rural country roads with no barriers.
- Tire grip: It is vital for tires to grip the road, especially under wet or icy conditions, but too much grip can cause sideways momentum to build up, resulting in a rollover.
- Alcohol: Almost half of all fatal rollover crashes involve alcohol, which can impair a driver’s judgment and ability to react to hazards.
Injuries in Rollover Accidents
Rollover accidents are less common, but they can be significantly more fatal. Rollovers are a factor in approximately three percent of serious crashes, but account for 30 percent of accident fatalities. Rollover accidents can cause many types of injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injury: Rollovers can cause passengers’ heads to slam against the side or roof of the vehicle. The force of impact can impair critical functions such as speech, memory, judgment, and motor skills, either temporarily or permanently.
- Spinal cord injury: Trauma to the spinal column during a rollover can result in partial or complete paralysis.
- Broken bones: The impact of a rollover accident can cause severe fractures, which may require extensive surgery to repair.
- Amputations: In certain cases, a limb may be damaged to the point where it cannot be repaired and must be amputated, or the force of the crash may sever it.
- Internal damage: Injury to sensitive areas like the abdomen can cause internal bleeding or damage to internal organs and nerves.
- Bruises and lacerations: Rollover vehicles often involve broken glass, shards of metal, or unsecured cargo that can hit passengers and cause a variety of injuries.
Lack of Rollover Safety Standards
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducts extensive testing on most new models of SUVs, pick-up trucks, and minivans to determine how vulnerable they are to rollovers. These tests include measurements of the vehicle’s center of gravity compared to its width, as well as dynamic testing simulating various driving scenarios. While vans and cars typically pass the dynamic testing, many SUV models have shown a tendency to tip under different circumstances.
Unfortunately, the NHTSA’s testing has yet to result in actionable regulation. The government imposes roof crush standards on vehicles based on stationary measurements but does not have any performance standard specific to rollover crashes.
Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell, Smith & Arden Provide Skilled Representation to Victims of Rollover Accidents
If you or a loved one has been injured in a rollover accident, call the Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell, Smith & Arden. Our knowledgeable, experienced lawyers will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine what factors contributed to your accident and hold the responsible parties accountable. We understand the complexities of South Carolina legislation around auto accidents, and we will prepare a sound legal strategy to obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 800-531-9780 or contact us online for a free consultation.
With offices conveniently located in Columbia, Charleston, Rock Hill, Aiken, Florence, and Sumter, South Carolina, we help accident victims throughout the state, including those in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.