A recent accident in Vancouver, Washington is a reminder that vehicle rollover accidents are extremely dangerous. News about an accident on State Route 500 near southbound Interstate 205 disclosed that two people were seriously injured when they were ejected from a vehicle that rolled over several times. Traffic was backed up to the Fourth Plain Boulevard while crews worked to clear the accident site.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2020, many traffic accidents involve a front, side, or rear collision. Most of the other accidents are rollover accidents. Nationwide, there were 1,467 deaths in the “other/rollover” category in passenger cars, 853 deaths in pickups, and 1,028 in SUVs.
Why do rollover accidents happen in Vancouver and Battle Ground, Washington?
Rollover accidents generally happen in one of several ways. The first is that the car, truck, or other vehicle strikes another object, such as a curb or a barrier, that causes the vehicle to roll over. Many single-vehicle rollover accidents are due to obstacles on the road. Vehicles can also roll over while attempting to avoid accidents while traveling at high speeds. Traveling over the speed limit is especially dangerous when vehicles are in a curve. Vehicles that roll over may flip over their top or roll over their side.
Some of the common causes of rollover accidents are:
- A driver loses control of his/her vehicle. Most of the reasons drivers lose control to the point of rolling over their car include:
- Driving while distracted – texting while driving, talking on a smartphone while driving, or eating or drinking while driving.
- Driving while intoxicated – drivers in Vancouver or Battle Ground, Washington, who drink and drive are a danger to themselves and everyone else on the road.
- Driving over ice or slick surfaces – usually after a winter storm or a rainfall.
- Reckless driving. Drivers who constantly shift lanes, speed, or drive recklessly are likely to strike an obstacle or lean enough to one side that their vehicle might become airborne.
- Driving in a construction zone. Some vehicles may flip over if they drive on unfinished roads or on highways where one lane is smooth and the other lane is torn apart.
- Multi-vehicle accidents. Sometimes, the force and physics of trucks or other cars can cause the car you’re traveling in to roll over. A car can rollover when two cars strike each other on the side, while they’re merging, if the car drivers over spilled cargo, or if the car is struck by a truck.
The type of vehicle is another factor in rollover accidents. SUVs, Jeeps, and many trucks have higher centers of gravity that make the vehicles more prone to rollover accidents than passenger cars.
Rural roads are another reason rollover accidents happen. Many rural roads are single-lane roads. If a dangerous condition arises, a vehicle may have no place to go but up in the air. Rural roads also often don’t have clear lane markers. Many are poorly lit, which makes it hard for drivers to see where they’re going at night.
Defective vehicle parts, such as defective brakes, can also lead to rollover accidents.
What safety measures can help avoid rollover accidents?
There are some precautions that drivers should take to reduce the risk of a rollover accident or reduce the severity of the injuries from a rollover crash. There are some safety precautions that drivers can take. Some safety precautions require careful planning by others. A few suggestions included:
- Drivers and passengers should wear their seatbelts. Without a seatbelt, there’s a likelihood that a car occupant will be ejected from the car during a rollover. The seatbelt restraint can mean the difference between life and death.
- Drivers should check the tire pressure. Tires that are under-inflated are more likely to create a blowout, which can cause the driver to lose control. Over-inflated tires create their own set of risks, such as a rollover due to hitting a pothole.
- Don’t speed. Speeding reduces the time drivers have to respond to emergency situations.
- Don’t drink and drive. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs makes rollovers more likely because drunk drivers are likely to strike anything that is moving and anything that isn’t moving.
- Use caution. Drive slower than the speed limit if the weather or traffic conditions are bad. Slow down before entering a curve not when you’re already in the curve. Keep a safe distance between your car and other vehicles. Be cautious when the roads are slippery.
The government is responsible for designing safe roads, including reducing the risk of rollovers.
What injuries do rollover accident victims suffer?
Rollover accidents can cause catastrophic injuries and permanent injuries. Drivers and pedestrians are more likely to suffer severe injuries if they are ejected from a car, truck, bus, or another vehicle. Some of the injuries that Philbrook Law Office handles include:
- Traumatic brain injuries. Often, the occupants of a car that is in a rollover accident will be thrown around the vehicle, into the dashboard, and into other passengers. If they’re ejected from the vehicle, they can easily strike their head.
- Spinal cord damage, including paralysis. Tossing and turning and colliding with parts of the vehicle or the road can cause life-changing spinal cord injuries.
- Many drivers and passengers will suffer multiple, complex, simple, and compound fractures. Some broken bones never fully heal.
- Internal bleeding and organ damage. The occupants of a car or truck may suffer damage to their kidneys, lungs, and other organs, especially if they are thrown from their vehicle.
Tragically, many victims of rollover accidents die from their injuries. We file wrongful death claims on behalf of the family members against the driver, the owner of the vehicle, and any other responsible parties.
At Philbrook Law Firm, our Vancouver, WA and Battle Ground, WA personal injury lawyers have the experience and resources to hold anyone who causes a rollover accident accountable. We seek full compensation for your medical bills, income loss, pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, and property damage. To schedule an appointment, call us at 360-695-3309 or complete our contact form.
Founding Attorney Matthew Philbrook attended Clark College, Washington State University, and Gonzaga University School of Law. He is a member of the Washington State and Oregon State Bar Associations and started Philbrook Law Office in 2005. He specializes in Personal Injury, DUI and Criminal Defense cases. Learn more about Mr. Philbrook.