Rollover accidents are more deadly than any other kind of motor vehicle crash, according to SaferCar.gov, a website maintained by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). According to NHTSA data, although rollovers are not common, almost 35 percent of traffic crash fatalities occurred in rollovers; 69 percent of those killed were not wearing seat belts at the time of the accident.
In this blog post, we take a closer look at rollover accidents: how and why they happen, and the dangers this type of a truck accident pose to vehicle drivers and occupants.
Rollover crashes can cause brutal injuries. The NHTSA found that rollovers can happen in the course of normal driving, such as on a straightaway or in a curve. In 90 percent of these accidents, driver error constituted the most significant factor in causing the crash, such as because of impaired driving, speeding or other aggressive driving, driver distraction, or inattentiveness. The NHTSA also found that 85 percent of fatalities in rollover crashes constituted single-vehicle wrecks, which also points the cause of the accident to driver error playing a significant role in the accident.
The NHTSA publication Characteristics of Fatal Rollover Crashes (2010) showed that of the fatalities in rollover wrecks resulting from a vehicle occupant not wearing a seatbelt, nearly two-thirds of those who died were ejected from the vehicle. The NHTSA also found that in 40 percent of single-vehicle rollover crashes with fatalities and 57 percent of multi-vehicle rollover crashes with fatalities that the drivers did not make any crash avoidance maneuvers; which suggests a crash mechanism that occurs very quickly or during moments of total driver inattention of one form or another.
Physics and Rollover Accidents
Some vehicles, such as tall SUVs and vans, roll over more easily than other vehicles because of their relatively high center of gravity. But vehicle height alone does not necessarily “cause” a rollover. There also has to be a physical force involved. Many rollovers happen at high speeds, for instance, which promotes instability when a vehicle turns sharply, or when it drifts onto a soft or elevated road shoulder, or when it encounters an imperfection in the road surface. According to the NHTSA, about 40 percent of the rollover fatalities are related to excessive speed, and 75 percent of fatal rollover crashes with deaths happened where the posted speed limit was 55 miles per hour or higher.
Rollover Crash Injuries
If a rollover wreck is not fatal, injuries could vary from catastrophic to minor injuries, depending on the circumstances. Factors contributing to the severity of injuries include the speed at which the accident happens, the size and weight of the vehicle, and whether occupants wear seatbelts.
Traumatic Brain Injury
A rollover crash victim could suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) if the driver hits his head on something inside the vehicle or hits his head on impact when ejected from the vehicle. Traumatic brain injuries range from a mild concussion that lasts for a short while to life-long injuries with serious, debilitating impairments.
Back, Neck and Spine Injuries
People who suffer spinal cord injuries may have damage that results in paralysis. These injuries take a heavy toll on their victims mentally, socially and emotionally. Often, those who suffer long-term injuries benefit from psychological, physical and cognitive therapies.
Fractures are painful and take, on average, 6 to 8 weeks to heal. Secondary injuries such as infection from an open wound may delay healing. Illnesses such as diabetes could also lengthen the time it takes for the bone to heal.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Sprains, strains, and pulled muscles are painful, but heal over time. The length of recovery time depends on the muscle you injured, how the accident victim responds to physical therapy and whether a muscle was pulled or torn. In some cases, torn muscles require surgery to repair.
Bumps, Scrapes, Bruises, Cuts, and Contusions
These minor injuries generally heal quickly. However, if an open wound becomes infected, it takes much longer to heal. Additionally, illnesses such as diabetes delay healing in most people.
If you are on certain medications that affect your red and/or white cell count, all injuries may take longer to heal. Certain chemotherapy and radiation drugs could lower your red or white cell count, making it more difficult for your injuries to heal.
Compensation for a Rollover Accident
If you sustained injuries in a rollover accident, you might be entitled to compensation from someone whose actions contributed to the wreck. Those parties could include an “at-fault” driver, a vehicle manufacturer, or even a local or state government agency responsible for failing to maintain a safe road surface.
Hiring an experienced Nevada rollover accident attorney is the best way to ensure you recover the compensation you deserve. Attorneys investigate accidents and injuries, negotiate with insurance companies, and take cases to trial if need be.
The compensation a rollover accident victim might recover can include:
- Past and future medical bills, including ongoing physical, psychological and cognitive therapy.
- Past and future lost wages. If you cannot do your job, but can eventually work at a job that pays much less, you might receive partial lost income if the injuries are long-term.
- Replacement or repair of your vehicle and personal property damaged in the wreck.
- Pain and suffering for long-term injuries.
- Loss of companionship if your spouse or close relative cannot take part in activities you normally enjoy together.
- Loss of consortium if your spouse is unable to have a physical relationship because of injuries sustained in the accident.
- Inconvenience if your injuries force you to hire outside help to do tasks you used to do yourself, including home maintenance, mowing the yard, shopping and cleaning the house.
- Funeral and burial expenses if you lost a loved one in a rollover accident.
When you have long-term injuries, insurance companies estimate how much money you will need for medical bills. Often, they underestimate the cost of future medical bills. Working with an experienced car accident attorney gives you the best chance of recovering the full amount of money you will need to recover from your injuries.
Benson & Bingham
626 S 10th St
Las Vegas, NV 89101