Why Hire an Attorney After a Rollover Accident
Every car accident is a terrifying experience - but few crashes are as frightening as a rollover. There are lots of reasons for car accidents to cause roll-overs, and each accident is unique. In the decades our law firm has spent fighting for the rights of accident victims, we have seen thousands of injuries from rollover accidents.
Winning these cases is not always simple. The laws of Pennsylvania are complex, and insurance companies are experienced at using the law to their own advantage. Hiring a personal injury attorney to settle your rollover car accident claim might be the smartest decision you make.
Injuries from Rollover Crashes
If you have ever watched offroad rock climbing and hill climbing competitions, you will see just about every vehicle roll over at least once as they attempt the race course. These vehicles are specially designed to withstand rollover accidents. Drivers wear special clothing and safety equipment, like helmets, to reduce the likelihood of injury. But even when these vehicles are designed for rollover accidents, injuries still happen.
Your passenger car or SUV is not designed to withstand a rollover the way a race car is. Many modern vehicles have very good occupant safety features to help save your life when a vehicle roll-over accident happens. But serious injuries are still common. Impacts with the deformed roof and partial ejections cause the majority of serious injuries in a rollover accident.
• Head, Neck, and Spinal Injuries
There is no such thing as a minor head injury. Any injury to your head, neck, or spine should be taken seriously. You should see a qualified medical professional as soon as possible if you have been involved in a rollover accident and have pain.
Head injuries -such as concussions- may take several hours to several days to show symptoms. A concussion -more properly called traumatic brain injury- can result in disorientation, dizziness, vomiting, and unconsciousness. Untreated, traumatic brain injuries can result in brain bleeds, stroke, and death.
• Disc Damage
Injuries to the soft tissues in the neck and spine are common for individuals who experienced a rollover. Injuries to the discs in your neck and back can require surgical replacement. The severity of the crash does not determine the level of neck or back injury you can sustain. Even a low-speed, single vehicle crash that results in a rollover can damage the discs. Long-term pain, loss of range of movement, and arthritis can all happen from untreated neck and back injuries.
Rollover accidents can be particularly violent. Occupants are thrown about the cabin, struck with loose objects, and can impact the ground and bent parts of metal. Rollover accidents that happen to people who are not wearing seatbelts are more likely to result in a serious fracture that can cause permanent paralysis. Even partial paralysis will be a life-altering injury.
• Broken Bones
The unique tumbling action of a rollover accident results in broken arms and legs fairly often. Broken bones will need to be examined by a qualified medical technician. Treatment for broken bones will cause you to miss work, not be able to participate in family events, and is likely to result in lifelong pain.
• Internal Bleeding
Internal bleeding is a serious medical emergency you must be treated for at once. Unfortunately internal bleeding symptoms may not show up for days. Internal bleeding happens in rollover accidents when parts of the car or ground strike the body and cause tears in the blood vessels. Internal bleeding can be lethal, even when treated. Symptoms include abdominal bruising or swelling, vision problems, and blood in stool or urine.
How Rollover Accidents Happen
Most vehicles today are a technological wonder that was unthinkable only a few decades ago. Features such as traction control and anti-lock braking, along with serious advances in suspension and handling components, have made modern vehicles less likely to roll in an accident. Rollover accidents still happen, though.
• Driver Behavior Causes Accidents
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) finds that the number one cause of rollover accidents is driver error, not mechanical defect. Some three-quarters of rollover accidents are single-vehicle crashes on rural roads. Combinations of excessive speed, distracted driving, and unfamiliarity with either the vehicle or the roads frequently contribute to rollover accidents.
The NHTSA found speed to be a factor in 40% of rollover accidents. Speed becomes a problem when the driver must make a sudden correction, like if they have left their lane or there is an obstruction such as stopped traffic. Swerving while braking causes the vehicle to rollover.
• Drinking, Drugs, and Rollovers
Nearly half of the rollover accidents that happen involve a driver who is drinking or on drugs according to the NHTSA. Drugs and alcohol impair judgement and reaction time, often leading drivers to believe they can drive faster than is safe.
Drunk and drugged drivers and occupants are less likely to wear seatbelts. The majority of people who are ejected from a rolling vehicle are not wearing seatbelts. Injuries are almost certain when ejected or partially ejected during a rollover accident.
• Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is increasingly being looked at as a factor in causing numerous types of car accidents, including rollovers. It is common for drivers to be distracted by cell phones, car stereos, and children in the car. Those few seconds the driver is distracted is all it takes. Many drivers, realizing they do not have time to stop, veer to one side or the other, then over-correct. This can cause the vehicle to overturn.
• Mechanical Failure
The overwhelming majority of rollover accidents are caused by driver error. In some cases, mechanical failures such as a tire blowout can cause rollover accidents to happen. In most cases, you will not be able to recover damages from a rollover accident due to a blown tire unless you can prove the tire was used as intended and defective.
Other mechanical failures to the steering and brakes can also happen and result in a rollover accident. It can be very difficult to prove the failed part was the cause of the accident, and these types of claims are very difficult to win. If you suspect a part failure caused your accident, you should immediately contact a lawyer with experience handling defective products claims and personal injury law.
Determining Fault for Your Rollover Accident
It is always a good idea to contact a personal injury attorney that understands the nuanced Pennsylvania laws when you are involved in an accident. Rollover accidents can be difficult to win because you must be able to identify the cause of your accident. Many times, drivers may roll their car avoiding someone else who acted negligently. If that driver does not stop or can’t be found, you can only settle your claim through your own insurance.
A personal injury attorney may be able to help you even if the rollover accident was your fault. Our attorneys may help you settle your claim with your insurance company by seeing to it the offer they make is reasonable and fair.
Tripped vs Untripped Rollover Accidents
Almost all rollover accidents that happen on the roads in the US are a result of tripping. Tripping happens when a driver slides a vehicle sideways and the tires catch on soft sand or gravel, guardrails, or other obstructions, tripping the vehicle into a rollover. These rollovers are usually caused by driver error. Data released by the NHTSA finds that 95% of rollover accidents are caused by driver error.
Untripped accidents happen when a vehicle rolls after being struck by another vehicle. Untripped rollover accidents stand an excellent chance of winning a fair settlement. But, don’t give up hope even if your accident seems like it was your fault. A personal injury lawyer can discuss options for getting a fair settlement in your case.
Why You Need a Lawyer
Pennsylvania’s no-fault insurance means you may not be able to sue the other drivers involved, even if you know who caused the accident. Instead, you will negotiate with your insurance company to settle the matter. You should contact a personal injury attorney before you sign anything.
There are factors that can alter the outcome of your settlement that an injury attorney is skilled at finding. For example, sometimes road design or construction may be inadequate and a factor in your car accident. Defective tires or steering can play a serious role in determining fault. There are lots of ways the law can be used against you when settling a rollover case. Our risk-free consultation provides a space to share the facts of your accident and discuss possible ways our attorneys can make sure you get the medical benefits and financial compensation you deserve following your rollover accident.