Rollover Car Accident Lawyers
All types of vehicles are susceptible to rollover when exposed to high lateral force, but today’s popular pickup trucks and SUVs pose a higher risk than the low, heavy sedans of the past. While only 3% of car accidents result in an overturned vehicle, rollover car accidents are especially dangerous, responsible for a third of all car crash fatalities in the U.S.
Rollover accidents expose the vehicle, the driver, and the passengers to unusual and unpredictable forces, causing a variety of traumatic injuries. If you or a loved one have been injured in one of these devastating crashes, it is important to consult with a rollover car accident lawyer to understand your rights and recover your damages.
Types of Rollover Accidents in Kansas
There are two primary types of rollover car accidents. They are:
Untripped Rollover Car Crash
In an untripped rollover, a vehicle destabilizes and rolls over during cornering. The act of turning a corner or rounding a curve applies centrifugal force to a vehicle, pushing the center of mass away from the direction of the curve, while directional inertia pushes the vehicle forward, resisting the angular motion around the corner.
The vehicle’s weight, along with the tires’ grip on the road, fights these forces, keeping the vehicle connected to the road and turning the corner. However, higher speeds make these forces more difficult to overcome, and loss of traction or other road conditions may lead a vehicle to flip over on a sharp turn.
Tripped Rollover Car Crash
A tripped rollover is more common than an untripped rollover. In a tripped rollover, the vehicle slides sideways and strikes an object that applies sudden lateral force. In passenger vehicles, tripped rollovers are often caused by striking a curb, guard rail, or another vehicle. A side impact causes the vehicle to become unstable, and the tires on one side of the vehicle encounter different conditions or forces than the tires on the other side.
The combination of vehicle instability and uneven tire behavior can cause a rollover. Tripped rollovers can also occur on a steep slope or in a ditch when loose or uneven soil creates unequal forces on the tires while the slope shifts the center of gravity. Slopes steeper than 33% for most vehicles will cause a tripped rollover. Finally, strong winds can also be a cause of tripped rollover car accidents, especially in trucks, buses, or vans with a wind shadow. Strong wind gusts in coastal areas, bridges, or the open plains of Kansas have been known to overturn vehicles.
Causes of Rollover Car Accidents in Kansas
While weather and road conditions contribute to the frequency of rollover car accidents, the primary cause of all rollover collisions is driver error. The key driver behaviors that cause rollover accidents are:
- Speeding. Speed is a critical factor in all rollover car crashes. Vehicles driving at lower speeds are exposed to weaker lateral forces, improving stability and road contact and reducing the chances of a rollover in any circumstances.
- Distracted driving. Any activity that takes a driver’s attention off the road is a hazard and contributes to the chances of an accident. Using a phone or other device, eating or drinking, engaging with passengers, and manipulating the console or entertainment system can all cause a driver to momentarily stop paying attention to their driving and cause accidents.
- Aggressive driving. Aggressive driving includes a range of dangerous behaviors, like speeding, tailgating, improper passing or lane changing, driving erratically or recklessly, failure to obey traffic signs, etc. Aggressive driving plays a role in more than half of fatal accidents and greatly increases the risk of rollover crashes.
- Fatigued driving. Driving while tired or sleepy causes as much impairment as driving under the influence, and the combination of inattention and reduced reaction time increases the risk of all types of car accidents.
In addition to driver behaviors, several other factors can cause rollover car accidents, including:
- The type of vehicle. While most drivers feel safer in pickup trucks and SUVs, these vehicles actually pose a higher risk of rollover accidents, especially in older models. In the US, electronic stability control has been mandatory in all passenger vehicles since 2012, making newer car models safer. However, vehicles with a low center of gravity, like sedans, have a greatly reduced risk of rollover accidents.
- Cargo and vehicle loading. Naturally, carrying cargo or towing a trailer shifts the weight distribution and center of gravity of a vehicle, and improperly loaded cargo contributes to the risk of a rollover accident. Certain types of trailer couplings can also increase rollover risk.
- Road and weather conditions. As already mentioned, steep curves and sharp turns can cause rollovers, especially when the roadway is wet or slippery. High winds can also cause vehicle rollovers, especially in high-wind areas like bridges or plains.
- Equipment malfunction. Equipment malfunction or improper maintenance plays a role in all types of car accidents, including rollovers. Tire blowouts are a leading cause of vehicle malfunction rollover crashes, but they may also be caused by problems with the brakes or steering system.
Common Injuries from Rollover Accidents in Kansas
Rollover crashes are especially dangerous for vehicle occupants. Most vehicle safety equipment, like seatbelts and airbags, are designed for the more common types of car accidents, like rear or side impacts. Because rollover accidents are so rare, increase the probability of being ejected, and vehicles are not designed for that type of rotational force, they can cause devastating injuries. Some of the most common injuries associated with rollover car crashes in Kansas include:
- Traumatic brain injuries. Rollovers can cause head impacts, resulting in concussions and other traumatic brain injuries. Severe brain injuries can cause disability, loss of cognitive function, mood and personality changes, chronic pain, and other lasting consequences.
- Spinal cord injuries. Damage to the spine and spinal cord can be devastating, causing pain and disability, nerve damage, and even paralysis in the limbs below the injury site.
- Broken bones. Seatbelts are critical to prevent passengers from being thrown from a vehicle during a rollover accident, but seatbelts cannot protect the body from all the impacts of an accident. Rollovers can potentially break bones in any part of the body and cause other types of impacts and injuries.
- Lacerations. During a car accident, broken glass and loose objects can sometimes cause severe lacerations. Victims may suffer blood loss and other injuries and may suffer from scarring and other lasting consequences.
- Whiplash. While whiplash is most often associated with rear-end accidents, rollover accidents may also cause whiplash. Whiplash can cause injuries in the neck and spine, with severe neck pain and loss of range of motion in the head and neck.
Rollover car accidents may be rare, but they are especially devastating, and the consequences can last a lifetime. That’s why you need legal representation if you were involved in one.
How Can Bretz Injury Law Help?
Victims of rollover car crashes may need to fight to recover their full damages. It’s crucial to have an experienced Kansas rollover car accident lawyer by your side who isn’t afraid to take your case to court and get everything you are entitled to.
Bretz Injury Law has results that speak for themselves, with over $300 million recovered to date. Contact us today for a free case review, and let us support you on the road to recovery.
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