The Complete Guide to Roll Over Car Accidents

multiple cars in traffic

Rollover accidents can happen without warning; about one-quarter of fatal rollovers do not result from impact. Safe driving and regular vehicle maintenance can help stop rollovers. Marasco & Nesselbush are personal injury lawyers with a decades-long history serving the people of Rhode Island. If you or a loved one has experienced injury because of a rollover accident, call us today to see how we can help.

Rollover car accidents come with a high rate of fatality and serious injury. Larger vehicles, such as SUVs and trucks, are more likely to roll over, and these accidents often occur on highways at high speeds. While safety measures like wearing a seat belt can help reduce your risk of injury from a rollover, sometimes devastating injury or fatality still results.

The personal injury lawyers at Marasco & Nesselbush have worked for injured people and their families for more than 20 years in Rhode Island, winning over $100,000,000 in settlements for clients. If you were hurt in a rollover accident or lost a loved one in this type of accident, contact us today for a free case evaluation.

What is a Rollover Car Accident?

A rollover car accident is when a vehicle falls onto its side or flips completely. A rollover does not always involve another car or truck. It might happen after hitting an object, turning too fast, or becoming unbalanced because of improperly loaded cargo.

Rollovers often happen on highways where traffic moves at high speeds, but they can also occur on less busy roads.

Although about 2 percent of motor vehicle accidents are rollovers, they account for about one-third of injury costs. Most injuries are to the head, neck, and spine.

Rollover accidents are also often fatal. Rollover accidents resulted in 7,640 deaths in the U.S. in 2021, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

In 2020, rollover accidents caused 30 percent of passenger vehicle occupant fatalities in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

What Types of Vehicles Are More Likely to Roll Over?

Trucks and SUVs are more likely to cause a fatal rollover accident, but vans and cars also flip and roll. In 2020, rollover accidents involving SUVs caused more passenger fatalities than other types of vehicles in rollover accidents.

Here is a breakdown of the percentage of rollover accidents resulting in a fatality for each vehicle type:

  • SUVs: 42 percent
  • Pickups: 41 percent
  • Vans: 23 percent
  • Cars: 22 percent
  • These statistics mean that in all rollover accidents involving SUVs, 42 percent had a fatality. In all rollover accidents involving cars, 22 percent had a fatality.

In Rhode Island in 2021, of all motor vehicle accident deaths, including rollovers, 14 percent were occupants in pickups or SUVs.

What Happens in a Rollover Accident?

During an accident, drivers and passengers in a rollover accident might remain inside the vehicle or be ejected. Ejection is when an occupant is completely or partially thrown outside the vehicle, usually hitting the ground or another surface.

While data varies between studies, research shows drivers and passengers severely injured in a rollover were more likely to have been ejected from the vehicle. Ejection was far more likely if the person was not wearing a seatbelt.

Regardless of whether or not there is an ejection, not wearing a seatbelt increases the risk of severe injury in a rollover accident by 20 times.

Among the most common injuries suffered in rollover accidents are the following:

  • Impact injuries to the head, neck, and spine
  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Traumatic brain injuries, including concussion
  • Chest injuries and trauma to internal organs
  • Excessive blood loss
  • Amputation and trauma to limbs

After a rollover accident, the recovery process can also lead to mental and emotional health changes. Although numbers vary, one academic analysis found about 22 percent of people experience post-traumatic stress disorder after a road traffic accident.

What Are the Common Causes of Rollover Accidents?

What causes rollover car accidents might surprise you.

Of the fatal rollover accidents in 2021, 76 percent resulted from an impact. That means nearly one-quarter happened without any impact at all.

Impact includes other vehicles but also refers to hitting an object, road barrier, landscaping, or other features of the environment. In 2021, 46 percent of fatal rollovers involved frontal impact, 15 percent side impact, and 4 percent rear impact. Eleven percent involved impact from a different angle, and 24 percent involved no impact at all.

Several scenarios can lead to rollover accidents:

  • Trip-overs: Where a vehicle suddenly slows or stops
  • Flip-overs: Where a vehicle rotates along a guardrail or other object
  • Bounce-overs: Where a vehicle bounces off a fixed object on the road or barrier
  • Turn-overs: Where a sharp turn or rotation forces a rollover
  • Fall-overs: Where a downward slope shifts the vehicle’s center of gravity
  • Climb-overs: Where a vehicle goes over an object that causes the vehicle to come completely off the ground
  • End-to-end: Where the front of a vehicle hits a barrier and flips over
  • Impact with another vehicle: Where another car hits the vehicle on its front, rear, or side, causing the first vehicle to rollover

Other factors might also increase the likelihood of a rollover:

  • Driver error
  • Distracted driving
  • Intoxication
  • Fatigue
  • Aggressive driving
  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Oversteering
  • Improperly loaded or overloaded cargo

Numerous other factors can contribute to rollover accidents. Vehicles might have design or manufacturing flaws that cause their safety mechanisms and controls, such as gears and brakes, to malfunction. Road conditions like potholes and cracks can also trip up a larger vehicle.

How You Can Avoid a Rollover Accident

You can take steps to avoid a rollover and reduce your chances of injury if one does happen.

  • Perform routine maintenance on your vehicle. Replace tires as needed, doing a monthly check of inflation pressure.
  • Drive a newer model SUV or truck. Look for safety systems like electronic stability control, which can help prevent the vehicle from tipping and side curtain airbags and reduce the likelihood of ejection.
  • Wear your safety belt. If your passenger has trouble putting their belt on, help them to get it in place before you hit the road.
  • Avoid overloading your vehicle. Put cargo as low and near your car’s center as possible.
  • Drive with caution. Avoid speeding and distraction.

Rollover car accidents can cause major disruption to your life and your loved ones, but you don’t have to go through it alone.

If You or a Loved One Have Been Affected by a Rollover Accident

You don’t need to sort through the complex details after an accident alone. A lawyer can analyze your case, determine who is liable, and pursue a claim for you so you can focus on recovery.

If you have suffered an injury from a vehicle rollover accident, contact the Rhode Island car accident lawyers at Marasco & Nesselbush. Our firm offers a free case evaluation, and you don’t pay us unless and until we recover compensation for you. Contact us online or call 401-443-2999 to learn how we can help.

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