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How Does a Rollover Happen and What You Can Do to Avoid It?

Given the proper circumstance, any kind of vehicle may roll over. However, taller and narrower vehicles, like sport utility vehicle vehicles (commonly called SUV) are very prone to these sorts of accidents, way more than common cars. The higher center of gravity makes an SUV a lot more unstable.

SUV rollover accidents are amongst the most dangerous types of accidents that can occur on the road. Although rollover accidents only account for about three percent of serious vehicle accidents, they account for concerning thirty percent of those killed while riding in passenger vehicles.

Rollover accidents, in which a vehicle turns on its side or its roof, may be the most serious type of auto accident. When a car, SUV, or truck of any kind rolls over, the people inside are thrown sideways and upside down violently, putting them at risk of serious head and neck injuries or even death. In cases where somebody is thrown from the vehicle, the ensuing impact is probably going to be fatal.

The Shocking Statistics About SUV Rollover Accidents

Many Americans purchase larger vehicles like SUV’s, and as a result, they feel safer as they believe those are typically safer cars. Millions of SUV’s are sold-out annually in the US to shoppers who, by viewing commercials and advertisements, are under the impression that the vehicles are safe, sturdy and rugged.

Unfortunately, many shoppers are unaware that SUV’s can be dangerous as the result of the manufacturers and dealers who wittingly withhold vital safety information and don’t inform prospective consumers of the risks involved with SUV’s.

Also, because of the false sense of heightened security plenty of motorists experience when driving an SUV, it becomes a lot more dangerous as they feel secure in driving at dangerous speeds in poor climate.

Statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) only further exemplify the inherently dangerous nature of SUV rollover accidents:

  • More than 280,000 rollover accidents are reported each year in the United States.
  • Over 58,000 people are injured in SUV rollover accidents each year.
  • SUV rollover accidents increase the likelihood of serious injuries by more than 36%.
  • Over 90% of SUV rollover accidents involve a single vehicle.

Below are some recent United States deadly rollover accident statistics:

  • Approximately 4,500 people die in SUV accidents each year.
  • 63% of SUV rollover accident fatalities resulted in people being ejected from the vehicles.
  • Rollover accidents account for more than half of all single-vehicle accident deaths.

How SUV Rollover Accidents Happen

Although any vehicle can roll over, SUV’s, pickups and vans are more susceptible to these types of accidents than traditional cars. Rollover and roof crush accidents may happen to any vehicle. But studies and years of legal proceeding have shown that some vehicles have an unreasonably high tendency to roll over, even under average driving conditions, including:

  • Sport-utility vehicles (SUV’s)
  • Fifteen-passenger vans
  • Pickup trucks
  • Large commercial trucks
  • Any vehicle with defective tires

While any type of vehicle can roll over, SUV’s, unlike passenger cars, have a high center of gravity which puts the driver and passengers at high risk for rollover accidents and rollover accident injuries. Think of it like carrying a stack of boxes with totally different weights: once the heavier boxes are on the bottom, it’s easier to control them. While it’s attainable to hold the heavier boxes on top, even the slightest direction in change and speed can send them tumbling. The trouble is these vehicles is a high center of gravity combined with their high weight.

The majority of these types of accidents occur when the SUV runs off the road!

Generally, a rollover accident happens very quickly. Your SUV may tip over and begin rolling before you even notice what happened. Even the foremost careful driver should generally use emergency maneuvering to avoid an accident. However, in an SUV, emergency steering could lead to a vehicle rollover. Other scenarios which may cause a single vehicle SUV rollovers include hitting a guardrail, bumping the curb and driving on loose gravel.

Four specific types of SUV rollover accidents include:

  • Ramp Rollover: A SUV can rollover if one side drives up a ramp or any other high object.
  • Lateral Force Rollover: When an SUV travels at a fast speed around a curve, the vehicle can be forced into a roll because of its high center of gravity.
  • Sideways Skid Rollover: When traction is lost in the rear wheels of the SUV, it can easily spin resulting in its tires hitting objects and causing to roll over.
  • Site-Slop Rollover: when an SUV drives in an off-road condition or unintentionally leave a paved roadway, the uneven surface can cause it to roll over.

Some other common types of reasons why SUV rollovers happen include:

  • Reckless driving/excessive speed
  • No knowledge of SUV construction
  • Lack of understanding of the higher center of gravity of SUV’s
  • Putting too much weight in the SUV (making it less stable)

Many people purchase SUV’s, pickups and other types of large vehicles as a family automobile, believing their height and weight can shield their families in an accident. Unfortunately, that height shifts the vehicles’ heavy engines and other parts higher and farther to the rear, making them easier to tip over after an accident, a bump in the road or even a normal maneuver.

A minor annoyance for drivers of small cars, like dodging an animal on the road, can lead to a serious accident for drivers and passengers on these larger vehicles. These deficiencies in design result in thousands of preventable deaths each year. However, manufacturers still build and sell vehicles that use them.

SUV Roof Safety

Rollover accidents, in which a vehicle turns on its side or its roof, may be the most serious type of auto accident. In vehicles with weak roofs, these roofs also can be crushed during a rollover, resulting in additional head injuries and also as serious puncture wounds from broken, jagged metal and glass. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that rollover accidents represented less than 5 percent of all crashes, but 1/5 of all fatal crashes.

When a car, SUV or truck of any kind rolls over, the passengers within are thrown sideways and upside down violently, putting them in danger of significant head and neck injuries or even death. In cases wherever somebody is thrown from the vehicle, the resulting impact is likely to be fatal. In vehicles with weak roofs, these roofs can also be crushed in a rollover, leading to more head injuries as well as serious puncture wounds from broken, jagged metal and glass.

SUV’s are naturally a lot more susceptible to rolling over than any other passenger vehicles. And designs with weak roofs can make rollover accidents considerably worse.  When an SUV rolls over and the roof collapses inward, it can cause serious harm to the people inside.

A basic roll bar will scale back the probabilities of a collapsed roof!

Even though statistics clearly depict the danger of this flaw, few SUV’s are built with basic roll bars. The roofs of passenger cars and other vehicles of 6,000 pounds or less are federally required to be able to withstand one and a half times their weight. There’s no such requirement for heavier light trucks, commercial big rigs, 18-wheelers and tractor-trailers.

These vehicles’ heavy weight makes safety measures like roll bars and roof reinforcements vital, but adding them drives up manufacturers’ prices. Because there’s no federal law requiring these roof reinforcements, many manufacturers still don’t include them. As a result, Americans sustain more than 1,000 preventable deaths every year.

SUV owners should be able to count on their vehicle to protect them in a crash, just like any other car owner. However, the increased tendency of SUV’s to flip and rollover actually makes them more dangerous, leading to more injuries. Many of these injuries are serious, or even fatal. Victims who are lucky enough to survive a rollover accident usually suffer catastrophic injuries that can significantly impact their lives.

Common SUV rollover injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury, which can cause full or partial paralysis
  • Lower-cervical neck fractures
  • Back injury
  • Broken or fractured bones

Safety Tips for SUV Safety

Although these statistics are real, it should not deter you from enjoying the driving experience of your SUV or from purchasing an SUV altogether. While you may not be able to completely avoid a rollover accident, you can reduce the chance of such accidents happening if you take certain precautions, including:

  • Driving carefully and avoiding excessive speeding
  • Not carrying too much weight in your SUV
  • Buckling up and making sure all passengers are buckled up
  • Recognizing your visual limitations
  • Regularly maintaining your SUV
  • Learning to drive your SUV safely
  • Avoiding sudden or sharp steering changes

While you can’t control other drivers, you can make sure your own driving is safe and take defensive driving measures to avoid unsafe drivers. And regardless of what caused your SUV to roll over, you should immediately contact an experienced SUV rollover lawyer in California if you were seriously injured.

What You Need to Do to Bring an SUV Rollover Accident Claim

If you’ve been injured in an SUV or car rollover, contact an Automobile accident lawyer as soon as possible. California has a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims, meaning you must file your lawsuit within two years of the date of your accident.

You can potentially recover against two parties in a rollover accident.

  • The first is the other driver: If they were at fault because they failed to take other reasonable precautions or they violated traffic laws.
  • The second is your vehicle’s manufacturer: If your vehicle didn’t have adequate safety features to protect you in a rollover accident or if a poor design led to an increased risk of your vehicle rolling over.

Many rollovers arise from problems or errors in the design of a vehicle!

Some common parties that may be responsible in SUV rollover accidents include the manufacturers and designers of SUV’s for designing a weak roof structure and a high center of gravity on their sports utility vehicles. To obtain compensation from the manufacturer of an SUV that has been involved in a rollover accident, the plaintiff may try to show that the manufacturer designed the vehicle in a way that was unreasonably dangerous.

According to California law, the plaintiff must prove the existence of a design defect in a vehicle by satisfying the risk-utility test. Under this approach, a design is considered unreasonably dangerous when the risks that it poses outweigh the utility of the design. The plaintiff must also show that a reasonable alternative design was available at the time that the manufacturer selected the allegedly dangerous design.

Depending on the situation, the plaintiff may also allege that the vehicle suffered from a defect during the manufacturing process that rendered it unreasonably dangerous, or that the manufacturer failed to provide sufficient warnings when it marketed, advertised, and sold the vehicle. This might include failing to provide warnings about a vehicle’s propensity to roll when handled in a certain manner.

In some cases, a plaintiff may also assert a negligence-based cause of action against the vehicle manufacturer. This requires the plaintiff to show that the manufacturer was negligent or failed to use reasonable care when it designed and built the vehicle or a component.

Personal injury cases require a plaintiff to prove causation!

In other words, the plaintiff must show that the problem with the SUV was the but-for cause of his or her harm. Next, the plaintiff must submit evidence supporting the forms of compensation that he or she is seeking. Some common examples include medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and diminished quality of life.

SUV Rollover Accident Lawyers in Los Angeles

If you or a loved one was seriously injured in an SUV rollover accident, you need to hire a law firm that knows what they are doing. Our experienced and compassionate attorneys are dedicated to helping all automobile accident victims, including victims of SUV rollovers, they treat each client with the dedication and respect they deserve in obtaining the full compensation and benefits they are entitled to. We build upon our years of experience and resources to deal with rollover accidents. We will investigate the specific facts of your case to determine which parties can be held accountable for your accident.

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