Following a car rollover accident, identifying the party responsible for that accident often takes top priority. The liable party’s insurance company will usually pay the damages for the accident.
Who takes the blame for a rollover accident? Does the other driver automatically bear liability? What happens in a single-vehicle accident?
Take a look at these common causes of car rollover accidents and who may bear liability in each of these common scenarios.
High Rates of Speed
Speeding automatically ups the danger out on the road, no matter what type of accident scenario you might find yourself in. High rates of speed can cause cars to careen out of the drivers’ control. Often, drivers cannot stop their vehicles from going over a ledge or slipping off the edge of the pavement, which can increase the risk of a rollover accident.
At high rates of speed, cars may not even need a drop beside them to end up rolling. In fact, the more the speed goes up, the more the risk of a rollover collision increases. If speeding leads to a rollover accident, the speeding driver’s actions can increase the risk of a collision, the severity of the accident, and the injuries involved.
Who bears liability?
To determine who bears liability for a rollover collision involving high rates of speed, the lawyers and insurance companies involved in the investigation will take a close look at all factors that might have contributed to the accident. Speeding, however, could place at least a portion of the blame on the shoulders of a driver who went over the posted speed limit.
Speed limits serve to help protect all drivers out on the road. A driver who chooses to travel over those speed limits may have a greater overall likelihood of causing a collision and, therefore, bear at least partial liability for an accident.
Many types of dangerous maneuvers out on the road can raise the risk of a rollover accident, including a single-vehicle rollover accident. Often, those accidents occur at high rates of speed. Even at lower speeds, however, maneuvers like sharp turns can increase the risk of a rollover accident, especially on curving roads or roads with a sharp incline right next to them.
Dangerous maneuvers could also include things like trying to run another driver off the road or driving very aggressively. The more aggressive a driver, the greater the risk of an accident, including one that may result in a rollover collision.
Who bears liability?
If one driver drives very dangerously or engages in hazardous maneuvers, that driver will likely bear at least partial liability for the accident. Dangerous maneuvers out on the road put everyone at risk. Other drivers may have considerably more difficulty predicting the behavior of a driver that behaves aggressively.
Driver inebriation can serve as a factor in a wide range of potential accident scenarios. Inebriated drivers often have a hard time controlling their vehicles. They may engage in reckless behaviors that make them difficult to predict or increase the risk of a collision.
Driver inebriation may also prevent a driver from responding appropriately to a potential collision scenario. For example, an inebriated driver may have a higher risk of turning too sharply or maneuvering roughly to avoid a potential collision. On the flip side, an inebriated driver could drive straight into another car without even trying to get out of the way.
Who bears liability?
In a drunk driving accident, the drunk driver will most likely bear at least some liability for the incident. Because inebriation can have such a substantial impact on a driver’s ability to navigate safely on the road, police officers who suspect inebriation will often order a test immediately.
If you do not have a blood alcohol test that proves the other driver got behind the wheel while intoxicated, that does not mean the other driver does not bear liability for the accident. Sometimes, you can prove liability on the grounds of the driver’s other actions, including reckless or dangerous driving, regardless of the driver’s intoxication at the time of the incident.
In some cases, vehicle defects can contribute to the risk of a rollover collision or even cause an accident. Some vehicles, for example, prove incredibly top-heavy. If they have an extremely top-heavy design, they could roll much more easily during a collision, making them a substantial danger to their passengers and everyone around them.
Vehicle defects may also include tire problems and other hazards created by manufacturer error.
Who bears liability?
When it comes to actual vehicle defects, the vehicle manufacturer may bear liability for those defects and any accidents caused by those defects. For example, if a vehicle has a design that makes it tip over quickly when going down mountain roads, and a driver who otherwise exercised safety precautions suffered an accident as a result, the manufacturer may bear liability for that incident.
Tires not only serve a vital purpose in keeping a vehicle on the road, but they can also help prevent a car from tipping over or decrease the risk of a severe accident. Over- or under-inflated tires, however, can pose a serious hazard. Improper tire inflation can raise the risk of a rollover collision or increase the severity of some types of collision.
If a tire explodes, it can also raise the risk of a rollover collision. The car can list dangerously to one side, or the force of the blowout can cause the vehicle to careen off the road.
Tires can blow out for a variety of reasons, including:
- Under inflation
- Worn treads
- Excess pressure in the vehicle
- Tire defects
Who bears liability?
In the case of tire problems, several individuals may bear liability for an accident, including a single-vehicle accident.
The Vehicle’s Owner
Vehicle owners bear a high duty of care when maintaining their vehicles, including their tires. Regular tire replacement can prevent tire blowouts while keeping the right air pressure in those tires can substantially decrease the risk of a blowout.
Many modern vehicles now have warning indicators that will go off if the tire pressure creeps too high or too low, so keeping up with tire pressure does not offer as much difficulty as before. If a vehicle owner fails to maintain his vehicle properly, the owner may bear liability.
Tire manufacturers must carefully test their tires and make sure they can hold up in various conditions. If the tire manufacturer puts out a tire that does not meet those essential standards, the manufacturer may bear liability for an accident caused by those defects.
In particular, once several drivers report a specific issue, manufacturers need to ensure that they investigate it quickly to have a better idea of whether it could endanger others out on the road.
The Person Driving the Vehicle
Tires can only hold so much weight before placing them under unnecessary strain. Often, however, drivers fail to take those restrictions into account when loading their vehicles, especially if they need to load them for a big move or they plan to transport multiple heavy people at the same time. Overloading a vehicle can cause a tire blowout, which may increase the risk of several types of accidents, including car rollovers.
What Should You Do After a Rollover Accident?
Rollover accidents usually involve a great deal of force. You may end up jolted around inside your vehicle, all the objects that typically fill it flying around you. You may find yourself hanging upside down or stuck in a sideways vehicle, with fewer ways out than usual.
The cage of modern vehicles helps protect against dangerous crumpling in the areas of the vehicle that carry passengers but may not eliminate that risk.
What should you do next?
1. Exercise care if you get out of the vehicle.
Watch your movements. Spinal cord injuries or broken bones may appear as you get out of the vehicle. If you suffer severe injuries, you may need to wait in the vehicle for help to arrive. If you do get out, make sure you protect your injuries. Avoid moving around the accident scene if it causes additional pain or weakness.
2. Report the accident.
If you have a single-vehicle accident, you may not feel like reporting it. However, rollover accidents often involve considerable property damage, including damage to public property. Go ahead and report the accident and wait for the police to arrive. Calling 911 can also help bring an ambulance to the scene if needed to treat your injuries.
3. Take photos.
You may find that having evidence later can make a big difference as you try to file a claim, especially if someone else’s negligent actions led to your rollover accident. Take photos of the vehicle, and any features you feel may have contributed to the accident.
Take a look at the road: do you note uneven pavement or a sharp dip that may have contributed to the accident? Do you have a blown-out tire that caused or contributed to the accident? Take photos of anything that you feel might prove relevant later.
If another vehicle contributed to your accident, you should also take photos of that vehicle and its damage, if possible.
You may also want to collect evidence regarding the party that caused the accident and his insurance company, including:
- His driver’s license
- His license plate information
- His insurance information
- The make and model of his vehicle (a shot of the back end should have this in it!)
Of course, you do not want to move around the accident scene if doing so makes your injuries worse in any way. Never do anything that could increase the severity of your injuries or leave you in more pain than before.
4. Have a doctor look you over.
Because a rollover collision involves so much force, you should have a doctor look you over and take a look at any potential injuries, even if you think you did not suffer severe injuries in the accident. If you have any pain, you should quickly point it out to the doctor.
Seek care at a local urgent care center or hospital. You may need to have x-rays or undergo testing to help identify your injuries.
As a bonus, when you visit a doctor, you will create a record of when your injuries took place. If you later need to move forward with a car accident claim, it can make it much easier to get the compensation you really deserve!
5. Contact a lawyer.
After a rollover accident, you need a lawyer on your side: someone who can help fight to get you the compensation you may deserve for your injuries. Depending on the insurance coverage you carry, your insurance company may provide much-needed assistance with your vehicle repairs following a single-vehicle accident, and MedPay coverage may provide you with help covering your medical bills. If someone else’s negligence caused your accident, you may have the right to a personal injury claim.
A lawyer can look over the other driver’s insurance coverage, the medical bills you have faced, and the suffering caused by your accident and give you a better idea of what to expect next.
Did you suffer a car rollover accident? Do you have questions about the compensation you may deserve for those injuries? A car accident lawyer can help. Contact an attorney as soon after your accident as possible to review your rights and go over the compensation you may deserve.