What Should I Do If I am in a Rollover Accident?

Posted on

When it comes to serious car accidents, rollover accidents are among the most devastating and destructive. In fact, they have the highest fatality rate, causing more than 10,000 fatalities each year. These accidents often occur when a motorist is driving too fast, or too fast for the road conditions, which can cause the driver to lose control of his or her vehicle. Unfortunately, rollover accidents have become more common in recent years because of the increased number of motorists who are driving sport utility vehicles (SUVs), which are more susceptible to rollover accidents because of their higher center of gravity. If a motorist is injured in a rollover accident, an experienced car accident lawyer will thoroughly examine the details of the case and recommend the best legal course of action.

Rollover accidents are less common than rear-end accidents, sideswipe accidents, and side impact T-bone collisions, but they tend to cause significantly more property damage and severe injuries. The following statistics show where these accidents are likely to occur, and how serious they can be:

  • Rollover accidents often occur when the motorist is driving straight, negotiating a curve, or performing some other routine maneuver. In fact, over 90 percent of rollover accidents happen under these conditions.
  • Close to 75 percent of rollover accidents happen in rural areas.
  • Almost half of all rollover accidents involve a driver who was under the influence of alcohol.
  • Rollovers are more likely to cause fatal injuries compared with other types of care accidents.
  • Rollover accidents involving passengers who were not wearing their seat belt are more likely to involve fatal injuries.

Common Causes of Rollover Accidents

There are several factors that can increase the risk of a rollover accident, from the type of vehicle that the motorist is driving to inclement weather conditions. The following are examples of the most common causes of rollover accidents:

  • Type of vehicle: SUVs, and other vehicles that have a higher center of gravity, are more prone to tip over compared with other vehicles with a lower center of gravity.
  • Inclement weather: Wet, icy roads, strong winds, and other inclement weather conditions can increase the risk of a rollover accident, particularly if the driver is speeding, drowsy, or distracted.
  • Driver error: If a driver takes a turn too quickly, approaches a sharp curve too fast on a wet, icy road, or makes any other type of error when driving, a rollover accident is more likely to happen.
  • Speeding: There is an increased risk for rollover accidents when a motorist is driving too fast, particularly when making a turn or approaching a curve in the road.
  • Collisions: When two vehicles are involved in a car accident, one of the cars may tip over.
  • Drunk or impaired driving: Driving while under the influence of alcohol can increase the risk of all types of car accidents, including rollovers. In fact, alcohol causes a large percentage of rollover accidents.
  • Distracted driving: When a driver is not paying attention to the road ahead, he or she may not see another car, pedestrian, or object on the road until it is too late. Even if the driver does avoid hitting another vehicle, they can cause a rollover accident by swerving to avoid hitting the other object in the road.
  • Drowsy driving: Falling asleep at the wheel or losing focus because of drowsiness can increase the risk of a rollover accident.
  • Road conditions. Large potholes, cracks in the road, and other poor road conditions can cause drivers to swerve to avoid hitting the road hazard. If the driver is traveling too fast when swerving to avoid a pothole or another hazard, the car can roll over.

What Types of Injuries Do Rollover Accidents Cause?

According to the National Automotive Sampling System Database, the parts of the body that are the most affected in a rollover accident are the head and neck, thorax, abdomen, upper limbs, and lower limbs. Oftentimes, owing to the force of impact and the severity of the accident, victims may suffer multiple injuries. However, the head and neck are the most vulnerable. In addition to the force of the impact, injuries are also caused by unsecured cargo, contact with broken glass or sharp metal, or the driver and passengers being ejected from the vehicle. Depending on the type and nature of the injuries, the victim may require extensive medical care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and even long-term care.  The following are the most common injuries associated with rollover accidents:

  • Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries: Owing to the violent nature of a rollover accident, particularly if the vehicle rolls over multiple times, the vehicle occupants can suffer skull fractures, cuts to the head, and brain injuries that can cause permanent physical and cognitive impairments. Injuries can be particularly severe if the occupants were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
  • Neck injuries: These can include whiplash, slipped or herniated disks, and permanent nerve damage.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Depending on the location of the spine and the force of the impact, the victim may suffer partial or total paralysis.
  • Broken bones: These are common rollover injuries associated with multiple impacts that occur in rollover accidents. Injuries include broken arms, legs, ankles, and other bones.
  • Cuts, lacerations, bruises, and soft tissue injuries: These can include deep cuts, pulled muscles and tendons, and torn ligaments.

What Steps Should I Take After a Rollover Accident?

Being involved in a rollover accident can be a terrifying experience and often results in serious injuries. Motorists are urged to take the following steps to ensure that police and emergency medical technicians arrive at the scene. Taking these steps will also ensure that the injured driver’s legal rights are protected during the claims process:

  • Call 911. Any car accident that involves property damage and injuries will require police and emergency medical personnel to arrive at the scene. Even if it does not appear that the motorists were injured, the shock and adrenaline can mask certain injuries. Victims should not hesitate to call 911.
  • Avoid apologizing. When communicating with the other driver and police, the injured motorist should not apologize or admit fault. This can be used against him or her in a legal case. Only the facts should be discussed about the accident.
  • Seek immediate medical attention. The driver and passengers should be checked out by the emergency medical personnel and go to the closest emergency room if it is recommended. All advice given by first responders should be taken, even if the injuries do not appear to be serious. It is important to keep copies of all medical records.
  • Document the accidents scene. The motorist should exchange information with the other driver, including driver’s license number, insurance information, contact information, and license plate number. The driver should obtain phone numbers and contact information from any witness who saw the accident happen. Someone should take photos of the vehicles, the road condition, current weather conditions, and any debris in the road.
  • Contact the insurance company. To pursue an injury claim, the motorist must notify his or her insurance company about the accident. Only basic information about the accident should be provided. Victims should think twice before accepting a lump-sum settlement offer.
  • Hire a car accident lawyer. A skilled and dedicated car accident lawyer will communicate with the insurance company and negotiate the best possible settlement offer.

Who is Liable for Injuries Caused by a Rollover Accident?

Considering how severe a rollover accident can be and the injuries they can cause, it is crucial that the injured victim receives the financial compensation he or she deserves. In addition to the driver, there are several other parties who may be held liable for the accident. Determining liability will depend on what caused the accident and whether negligence was involved. The following are examples of parties who may be held liable for a rollover accident:

  • Driver: If the other driver involved in the accident was impaired, distracted, drowsy, or was speeding or driving recklessly at the time of the accident, he or she may be held liable for the accident.
  • Vehicle designer: If the vehicle design made it more susceptible to rolling over, it is possible that the vehicle designer may be held liable.
  • Manufacturer: Manufacturing defects, including inadequate crumple zones, air bags, or roll bars, can increase the severity of injuries if the vehicle owner is involved in a rollover accident.
  • Government entities: State and local governments are responsible for maintaining the roads and highways. If poor road conditions were responsible for a rollover accident, including deep potholes, lack of warning signals, or missing guardrails, the government may be held liable for the victim’s injuries.

Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Compensation for Victims of Rollover Accidents

If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a rollover car accident, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will conduct a thorough investigation into the details of your case and determine who is responsible for causing the accident. Our dedicated legal team will walk you through every step of the claims process and address all your questions and concerns. We will continue to fight for you until we have secured the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are conveniently located in BaltimoreColumbiaGlen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel CountyCarroll CountyHarford CountyHoward CountyMontgomery CountyPrince George’s CountyQueen Anne’s CountyMaryland’s Western CountiesSouthern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of CatonsvilleEssexHalethorpeMiddle RiverRosedale, Gwynn OakBrooklandvilleDundalkPikesvilleParkvilleNottinghamWindsor MillLuthervilleTimoniumSparrows PointRidgewood, and Elkridge.