Rollover Accidents

rollover accident

Any type of car accident is dangerous and can result in injuries. The speed at which cars travel means that in a collision, there is significant force upon impact and this force can cause vehicle occupants, people in other cars, or even pedestrians to become injured.

Of all the types of car accidents, one of the most dangerous and deadliest is the rollover collision. In a rollover, a car, truck, or other vehicle turns over onto its side or even its roof before coming to a stop in any position. While cars are designed to withstand some force in a collision, the impact and damage involved in a rollover is often great and results in tragedy.

Types of Rollover Collisions

Experts break rollover collisions down into two major types: those caused by impact and those not caused by impact. These are sometimes referred to as “tripped” and “untripped” rollover collisions where contact with an object, like a dividing barrier, a sign post, or even another car causes a tripped rollover and no initial impact exists in an untripped rollover.

Tripped rollovers are often the result of an initial collision with something else outside the car. This includes striking a curb or the side of a building, taking a speed bump at an angle at a high rate of speed, having one side of the car on an incline with the opposite side remains flat, or even a collision with another vehicle. In a tripped rollover, it is often the initial impact that pushes or shoves the vehicle to the side and causes it to roll.

In an untripped rollover, the vehicle does not make contact with another object before rolling. This most commonly occurs when a driver takes a corner with a tight turn and at a high rate of speed. If the force of the vehicle pushing to the outside of the turn is too great to handle, the vehicle will roll to its outside. These collisions occur regularly on freeway on- and off-ramps, especially cloverleaf interchanges which have reduced speed limits. Drivers who do not slow down for these exits may take a turn too sharply and end up causing an untripped rollover.

Rollovers commonly occur when one vehicle strikes another, especially when the impact hits the side of one car. The force of this impact may push a car to its side, causing a rollover. Crashes like this may begin when one car fails to yield the right-of-way and turns left into the path of another vehicle. This is a “t-bone” collision and may cause one or both cars to roll over due to the impact. The same thing can happen on the highway where one driver switches lanes and strikes another car, which can result in a rollover. Highway rollovers are particularly deadly because of the high speeds involved at the time of the crash. One incident that does not get as much attention but that can be just as dangerous is aggressive driving by others on the road. If another driver makes poor decisions or drives in a dangerous or hazardous manner, you may be forced to swerve or take other evasive action, and this simple move can cause your vehicle to roll, possibly placing you at greater harm than you originally faced. Regardless of how a rollover starts, if it is due to the negligence of another driver or even the design or layout of a road, you may have a claim for your injuries.

Why Some Vehicles Rollover

It is important to realize that any vehicle can roll over at any time. The most important factor in determining which vehicle will or may roll over is the technique of the driver as well as any external factors present, like other vehicles or soft shoulders.

In the mid-1990s, SUVs became a popular choice of vehicle among American drivers and soon found themselves at the heart of the rollover debate. While popular, SUVs traditionally had a much higher center of gravity than cars and other automobiles which made them more likely to rollover in identical conditions than other vehicles. The automobile industry took note of this dangerous condition and has made some changes to many popular models. The most significant of these may be that several crossovers and small SUVs now sit on the same frames that sedans use, meaning that these SUVs have a center of gravity that has been intentionally lowered to prevent rollover accidents.

Another common reason that some vehicles may be more likely to roll than others is the way the weight is disbursed within the vehicle itself. Trucks, semis, vans, and other large cars may be more likely to roll if weight is disproportionate on one side when compared to the other. Experts caution that if you are loading a vehicle or a truck bed, you should be mindful of heavy objects and try to space them appropriately. This can help stabilize the load and reduce the risk of a rollover.

Though some vehicles may be more prone to rolling than others, it is critically important to realize that any type of car, truck, or van can roll if the conditions necessary occur in a collision or other traffic-related incident. Though you may not drive an SUV, you can still become a victim of a rollover collision and may sustain injuries as a result.

Why Rollovers Are So Dangerous

Rollover accidents are more likely to cause injury and death than other crashes because of the nature of the collision, the forces involved, and the damage that is likely to result to a rolled vehicle.

In a standard front-end collision, the only impact occurs on the front of the car and pushes the front end of the vehicle towards the passenger compartment. In modern cars, a front end is designed to absorb an impact and to crumble so that the passenger compartment remains intact, keeping the area where passengers sit as safe as possible. The same is true in a rear-end collision. While a side impact crash does not get absorbed to the degree that a front or rear end collision do, it does limit the impact to only one point and only one hit. This directs the force in one direction which may be countered by airbags.

In contrast, a rollover collision has at least one point of impact but more often has multiple. An initial impact with a car might force a vehicle on its passenger side, then onto its roof, then its driver’s side before coming to a rest back on its wheels. In this simple example, the vehicle experienced five impacts during the collision and all four sides of the car were involved. Any time a vehicle’s roof comes into contact with the ground, there is an additional concern as the roof may cave inwards towards the passenger compartment.

With potential for multiple points of impact, rollovers can trap drivers and passengers inside the vehicle. This may prevent occupants from obtaining the help and medical treatment they need or delaying such treatment. Rollovers may cause the doors of a vehicle to buckle inwards or the roof to cave in which can trap passengers from escaping. If they cannot get out on their own, passengers may require the help of tools like the “jaws of life” to remove sections of the vehicle and to allow people to get away.

If you have been injured in a rollover accident, you may have a claim for your damages. Contact the car accident lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. today at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442) or locally at (312) 924-7575 for a free, no-obligation telephone conversation. For your convenience we have a lawyer standing by 24 hours a day to take your call and discuss you case. Call us now or contact us online and let us help you.

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