Rollover Car Accidents in Virginia
Rollover car accidents in Virginia are the most deadly kinds of wrecks on the highways of the Commonwealth. Although rollover crashes make up just 2 percent of crashes overall, they account for about 35 percent of deaths, states the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
A rollover accident occurs when a vehicle tips onto its roof or its side. Rollover accidents are often the result of sudden braking on curves, lane change accidents, or crashes when cars run off the road. The vehicle’s momentum tips it over.
Rollover accidents often leave drivers and passengers with serious head injuries. It’s important to recover as much money as possible if you sustain these injuries. At the Smith Law Center, our attorneys have represented many people diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries after a car crash. Please contact us today.
The Nature of Rollover Car Accidents in Virginia
There are two different types of rollover accidents. The most common type is called a tripped rollover. This term is used when a car leaves the road and rolls over on soil or grass or another surface. These crashes have a high fatality rate because drivers and passengers often hit trees.
Untripped rollover accidents occur when a car, SUV, van, or truck tips over without sliding off the road or hitting an obstacle. Top-heavy vehicles like SUVs or trucks are more likely to tip over on curves or when the driver swerves to avoid an obstacle or a crash.
Which Vehicles are Most Likely to Roll Over?
SUVs have a reputation for flipping over. However, improved safety features including electronic stability control (ESC) mean they are now safer. Pickup trucks have also improved. In 2018, Autos CheatSheet reported how the Ford F-150 won a top safety pick award from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) in 2016. It was the first time a pickup received this award.
Notwithstanding these safety improvements, the high clearance of SUVs and trucks makes them more susceptible than smaller cars to tipping over in collisions with obstructions on the road.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducts rollover testing that assesses each vehicle’s rollover risk.
A study released in 2018 found the Nissan NV3500 passenger van carried the highest rollover risk followed by the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4WD. Of the 10 vehicles rated a higher rollover risk, nine were SUVs and pickup trucks.
Rollover Accidents and Seat Belt Use
The worst rollover crashes involved ejections. When motorists are ejected through a windshield or even partially ejected, the trauma of the impact with the glass compounds the forces of the crash. When drivers or passengers crash onto the road, they may sustain head injuries or be hit by other vehicles.
Ejections are common in rollover accidents. Using a seat belt increases your chances of surviving a rollover crash or escaping serious injuries.
Wearing a seat belt almost completely eliminates the risk of total ejection. It also reduces the risk of partial-ejection.
Passengers who wear seat belts during the crash still have a slight risk of partial ejection if the force of the crash rips off the roof. Although people wearing seat belts are killed and injured in crashes, this simple safeguard will increase your chances of survival. It’s also the law in Virginia to wear your seat belt.
According to the NHTSA, seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved about 14,668 lives in 2016. The national rate of seat belt use has improved in recent years and is now about 90.1 percent.
However, nearly 27.5 million people still fail to buckle up. The agency points out of the 37,461 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2016, almost half were not wearing seat belts.
What Are the Causes of Rollover Accidents in Virginia?
There are many causes of rollover crashes in Virginia. Another driver or a manufacturer may be to blame. Often you can bring a legal action following rollover accidents in Virginia. These are the most common causes of rollover wrecks.
· Tripping – About 95 percent of all rollover accidents happen when one of your tires hits something, according to NHTSA. The impact causes the car to pitch forward or roll sideways. The objects most likely to cause a tripping accident include a bump, a rock in the road, a curb or a soft shoulder.
· Hazards on the road – Bad road maintenance, potholes, suddenly arriving in a construction zone, lane changes, and other preventable hazards can cause a rollover wreck.
· Tire Failure – A sudden tire blow out can cause a rollover accident. Drivers must check their tires are inflated and are not rotten or worn. On occasions, a defective tire can cause a crash. The injured parties may have grounds for action against a tire manufacturer.
· High Center of Gravity – As discussed above, high-sided vehicles like minivans, SUVs, and pickups are more likely to tip over. If you are driving a high-sided vehicle, slow down on a curve and be careful in heavy winds.
· Chain Reaction Accidents – Rollover accidents often occur when a vehicle is sideswiped by another. In multi-vehicle or chain reaction crashes, numerous vehicles can be involved in rollover crashes on the highway.
Contact an Experienced Injury Lawyer After Rollover Accidents in Virginia
At the Smith Law Center, we have helped people injured in car crashes on the Virginia Peninsula and elsewhere since the 1940s. We have fought for victims who suffered terrible injuries in rollover crashes. Please contact us today at 757.244.7000.