The deadliest risk to the occupant of a sports utility vehicle, minivan, or truck is the potential of a rollover. The news is often filled with stories of single-vehicle rollovers—for good reason. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 280,000 rollover accidents happen every year.
What causes a single-vehicle rollover? Why do more than 10,000 people die due to rollovers each year?
Absent another vehicle’s interference, rollovers are caused by a lack of stability while turning. The relatively-high center of gravity and narrow width between the left and right wheels of an SUV or truck (compared to a car) make the vehicle unstable. Vehicles that are designed for off-road driving are the most at danger because of those design issues.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are some additional factors that can lead to a rollover:
— Speeding, which is a factor in about 40 percent of rollovers
— Drinking, which affects about 50 percent of cases
— Location, because nearly 75 percent of fatal rollovers occur in rural areas
Those may be the most significant three factors that combine to determine whether or not a rollover happens. Based on NHTSA data, since 85 percent of rollovers are single-vehicle incidents, there’s a strong likelihood that the driver’s behavior contributes heavily to the event.
That means that if you’re a passenger in one of these vehicles that experiences a rollover, injuring you, there are a couple of possibilities to consider.
First, your attorney may want to consider the vehicle’s design. Many SUVs and trucks end up being recalled because they present unreasonable safety risks because of faulty designs. It’s possible the vehicle you were in was one of those.
The second question is whether or not you may need to sue the driver or the driver’s estate. If the driver was distracted, speeding, not thinking clearly due to alcohol use or was otherwise engaged in reckless or negligent behavior, you may be able to recover for your injuries that way.
Source: howstuffworks.com, “Rollover Accidents Explained,” accessed Feb. 24, 2017