Rollover accidents make up only about 2% of the traffic crashes nationwide, but they’re responsible for thousands of deaths each year. It likely comes as no surprise that rollover crashes often result in fatalities. But, in fact, recent news stories show that these accidents cover the spectrum in terms of seriousness. In the past several weeks, Massachusetts has seen rollover accidents that range from fatal to those resulting in no serious injuries. For example:
- In late January, a New Bedford man was killed in a single-car rollover crash on I-95.
- At the beginning of February, a Norton woman was killed in a rollover accident in Mansfield.
- A man was injured in a truck rollover on the Mass Pike in Wilbraham.
- A Springfield man walked away from a rollover accident on I-391.
These accidents highlight some characteristics common to rollover accidents. For example, 65% of rollover fatalities occur in single-vehicle crashes. And, the driver who walked away from the I-391 accident is believed to have been under the influence at the time of the crash, which data from SaferCar.gov says is true in nearly half of all rollover accidents.
What Causes Rollover Accidents?
The vast majority of vehicle rollovers are triggered by “tripping.” That is, the tires make contact with an object or soft ground, such as mud, sand, or snow along the shoulder of the road. Inclines, curbs, and guardrails can also trip vehicles.
While any vehicle can roll over, those with higher centers of gravity, such as SUVs and large trucks, are at greater risk. And, fatal rollovers are more common on rural roads, which are less likely to have barriers.
But, these risk factors and triggers only tell part of the story. In fact, most rollover accidents–like most motor vehicle accidents–are avoidable.
Negligence in Rollover Crashes
In addition to the high rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in rollover crashes, about 40% of these accidents involve excessive speed. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also says the fact that most of these accidents occur in “routine driving” suggests that distracted driving and other irresponsible driver behaviors play a significant role. In other words, negligent drivers cause or contribute to most rollover crashes.
Pursuing Damages after a Rollover Injury
If you’ve been injured in a rollover accident caused by another driver, or as the passenger in a vehicle that rolled over, the most obvious possible responsible party is the driver. Statistics show that most rollover accidents are caused by negligence.
However, as in any car accident case, there may be additional possible responsible parties. For example, if a design defect made the vehicle dangerously likely to tip, the vehicle manufacturer or the dealer who sold the vehicle may be wholly or partly responsible. And, if the vehicle tripped on debris in the road, the party responsible for that debris–such as a truck driver who failed to adequately secure a load–may be responsible.
Your best first step is to talk with an experienced car accident attorney like Kevin J. Broderick. During your free, no-obligation consultation, Mr. Broderick will listen to your story, assess your case, and provide information about your rights and options so you can make good decisions about your next steps.