rollover crash on highwayRollovers are one of the rarest types of automobile accidents—but are also among the most deadly, accounting for a disproportionate share of serious injuries and highway fatalities. Since rollover crashes can cause severe and even life-changing injuries, recovery—if it is even possible—can be a painful, years-long affair.

What Is a Rollover Accident?

A rollover accident can be defined as either of the following:

  • A tripped rollover, when a vehicle leaves the motorable portion of a roadway and “trips” on an object, which causes the vehicle to roll over. A “trip” may be caused by soft soil, highway barriers, or a guard rail. Tripped rollovers are the most common form of rollover.
  • An untripped rollover, which occurs when a vehicle rolls over as a result of its own speed and weight distribution. Untripped rollovers are most common in top-heavy vehicles, such as SUVs, pick-ups, and commercial tractor-trailers.

Sometimes it can be difficult to determine what caused a vehicle to roll over, but it is important to do so to figure out who could be to blame for causing the crash.

Why Rollover Accidents Happen

Any vehicle is at risk for a rollover accident. However, certain types of vehicles are more at risk for rollovers than others. Similarly, certain circumstances can increase the risk of a dangerous rollover. The risk factors for a rollover accident include:

  • Vehicle type. Vehicles with high centers of gravity are more prone to rolling over since sudden changes in speed, course, or the direction of travel can more easily displace a top-heavy vehicle.
  • Speed. Rollovers account for a disproportionate share of highway accidents because high speeds make vehicles more difficult to control and provide the requisite physical forces to turn an automobile on its side.
  • Road conditions. Curved roads, inclement weather, and ice- or rain-covered roads increase the chance that a motorist may lose control of their vehicle.
  • Tire tread. Tires that provide too much or too little grip can defy manufacturer expectations of use and boost the likelihood of a rollover.
  • Alcohol consumption. Alcohol and drug consumption is responsible for about half of all on-highway rollover crashes.

Potential Injuries in a Rollover Crash

Rollover crashes are incredibly dangerous and often culminate in severe injuries, including:

  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Organ damage
  • Traumatic brain damage
  • Burns
  • Loss or disfigurement of limbs and other body parts

What to Do After a Rollover Crash

If you were not seriously injured in a rollover crash, you should:

  • Ensure that other victims are safe and render medical aid if needed.
  • Call 9-1-1 and request law enforcement and emergency medical services if on-site treatment or an evacuation is needed.
  • Photograph the scene of the accident, including all involved automobiles, any geographical features which may have caused the rollover, damage, and injuries.
  • Collect potential eyewitness contact information, including names, phone numbers, and addresses.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you have not already. Even if you do not believe you were hurt, a physician can help identify injuries masked by adrenaline. Seeking medical help also shows the insurance company that you had serious concerns about your well-being.

Once you have ensured your safety and that of any other potentially injured persons, contact an attorney immediately. Rollover crashes can have a life-long, devastating impact: whether from the burden of physical pain and disability or the anxiety and emotional trauma a serious accident can cause. Since Missouri has a statute of limitations governing how long people have to file personal injury claims, it is important you seek legal aid as soon as you can.

Megan D. Andrews
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