Most non-collision auto accidents are caused by vehicle rollovers. Unfortunately, there are a number of rollover wrecks that happen in Birmingham and surrounding areas each year. A rollover occurs when the vehicle makes at least one complete turn over during the collision event. Tragically, rollover crashes often result in death or catastrophic injuries to the occupants. The Birmingham car accident attorneys at Cross & Smith represent victims of rollover crashes.
Rollovers typically occur either on the roadway surface or off-road, often on a shoulder, median or similar terrain. Vehicle stability plays a major role in whether vehicles rollover in an accident scenario. Historically, SUVs and light pick-up trucks have tended to rollover much more frequently than passenger cars and larger trucks. However, with increasing public scrutiny and reforms by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), both types of vehicles have become safer.
Brain damage and spinal cord injury are the most common cause of serious or fatal injuries in rollover accidents. These injuries often occur from ejection from the vehicle during the rollover event or from penetration by the roof into the passenger’s compartment. With the advent of SUVs in the 1990s, and before modifications were made to increase the stability of these popular vehicles, “roof crush” was a major cause of catastrophic injuries or death in many rollover accidents, particularly where the occupants were using safety restraint systems. In recent years, manufacturers have made changes to the design of SUVs so that they are increasingly more stable and the structural integrity of roofs is slowly improving as well. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) now tests and rates the roofs on many vehicles for safety. The results are published online at the IIHS website. Studies have shown that seatbelt use coupled with a “roll bar”, such as found on the Jeep Wrangler, would greatly reduce injuries and deaths from rollover accidents. Unfortunately, roll bars have yet to become standard in all SUVs.
Despite improvements made in recent years, rollover accidents due to vehicle instability continues to occur much too often in Birmingham as well as other parts of Alabama and the entire country. A vehicle’s instability is often related directly to the vehicle’s center of gravity and its correlation to the width of the wheel base and height of the center of gravity above ground. SUVs with a narrow wheel base, coupled with a high center of gravity, tend to be less stable and more prone to rollover.
Rollovers off-road typically happen when the vehicle slides and/or skids off the roadway surface. Drivers often panic and over steer in an effort to correct the unintended maneuver and return the vehicle to the roadway. Pre-rollover speed is often a primary factor in whether the auto accident will involve multiple rollovers. The higher the pre-rollover speed the more likely multiple rollovers will occur. Obviously, more than one rollover substantially increases the risk of significant or fatal injuries to the occupants.
If you, or someone close to you, have been involved in a rollover accident, consider contacting the Birmingham car accident attorneys at Cross & Smith. Our lawyers and staff have the experience necessary to investigate and evaluate your rollover wreck. Please call us at (877) 791-0618 for a free consultation or contact us online.