The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety defines a rollover accident as a vehicle that “tips on its side or roof at any time” during a crash. The strength of the vehicle’s roof is important for the survival of the passengers and the driver. If the roof of the vehicle collapses, the victims can suffer catastrophic injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury. A rollover accident can happen because of various reasons, and it entails the car being flipped over. In contrast, a roof accident is when a motor vehicle’s roof collapses, it can happen during an accident, or because of a defect.
In a roof crush accident, passengers are able to exit the vehicle safely through open ejection portals like windows and windshields. However, occupant ejections can cause severe injuries and deaths. In a rollover accident, victims can sustain internal injuries and head injuries due to the impact of hitting the ground after the ejection or the roof collapsing.
The outcome of rollover and roof crush accidents are disastrous. Victims suffer severe damages, and at times family members suffer the loss of a loved one. If you, a loved one, or someone you know is a victim of a rollover and roof crush accident, consult with an experienced attorney.
Lawyer for Rollover Accidents in Bellingham, WA
One of the principal factors individuals consider when purchasing a motor vehicle is safety. Unfortunately, cars and other vehicles are not as safe as they are advertised to be. Accidents occur, and the body of the car can sustain damage, just like its occupants. During a rollover accident, vehicle roofs are a vulnerable point of impact. At times, they are crushed by the force of the collision and the weight of the vehicle, thus, resulting in tragic injuries to the occupants.
If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a rollover accident or your vehicle’s roof collapsed, please seek legal assistance. At PNW Trial Lawyers, our attorneys understand that a serious injury or death in the family is one of the most heart-aching times in anyone’s life. You can trust us to handle your case while you devote your energy to the recovery process. We serve clients in Bellingham, Mt. Vernon, Anacortes, Everett, and the surrounding areas of Skagit County, Whatcom County, and Snohomish County.
Call (360) 483-5201 to schedule a free consultation.
Rollover & Roof Crush Accidents Overview
- Common Causes of Rollover Accidents
- Vehicle Roof Failure
- Types of Injuries from Rollover & Roof Crush Accidents
- Determining Liability & Pursuing Compensation
- Additional Resources
Common Causes of Rollover Accidents
Under certain circumstances, any driver can experience a rollover accident. However, taller and larger motor vehicles like trucks and semi-trucks are more likely to rollover. The behavior of drivers and the environment are important variables that can cause rollover collisions. While it may be true that vehicle type is not the only cause of rollover accidents, it is a common factor.
Aside from elements on the road that are unmanageable like weather, drivers can still reduce their possibilities of being involved in a rollover accident by avoiding the common causes of rollover accidents below:
- Aggressive Drivers – There are many aggressive drivers on the road, and they are constantly in a rush to get to their next destination. Nevertheless, their dangerous maneuvers like making turns at a high speed can cause accidents to others on the road. Furthermore, risky maneuvers such as making speedy turns can cause friction between tires and the road. Therefore, vehicles are can to tip onto its side or roof.
- Distracted/Fatigued Driver – The most common cause of an accident is a distracted or exhausted driver. A distracted driver will not have the same reaction time nor the same amount of control of the vehicle as someone who is focused on the road. Furthermore, if a driver is falling asleep on the wheel, or texting while on the road, they might hit a curb or a road sign causing their vehicle to rollover to its side or roof.
- Driving Under the Influence – Driving while intoxicated is illegal and a safety hazard for all individuals on the road. Whether the driver is under the influence of cannabis, alcohol, or any other drug.
- Multi-Vehicle Collision – Often rollover accidents are single-vehicle accidents; nevertheless, multiple-vehicle rollover collisions do happen. In 2017, there were twenty-three (23) “driver deaths per million” involved in a multiple-vehicle crash. A multiple-vehicle collision can happen when a vehicle is hit from the side causing a rollover crash. This can happen for multiple reasons, for example, the oncoming driver was negligent, violating traffic laws, etc.
- Road Conditions – Unsafe road conditions can cause a vehicle to trip.
- Speed – Driving at high speeds can cause multiple accidents, not just rollover collisions. Speeding can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
- Tripping – A vehicle trips when one of the tires strikes something on the road such as a rock, a curb, pothole, or debris that causes the vehicle to lose its momentum. Furthermore, tripping can also occur when the vehicle’s tires are dug into soft soil.
- Un-tripped – Unlike tripping, un-tripped is rare and only occurs “less than 5% of the time.” This happens when a top-heavy vehicle speeds and maneuvers to avoid a collision. See NHTSA
- Location – Rollover accidents are more likely to occur in rural areas. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rural areas account for “almost three fourth (3/4) of fatal rollovers.”
- Vehicle Type – Per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in a single-vehicle crash, taller and narrower vehicles are “more susceptible to rollovers.”
Vehicle Roof Failure
When a victim is trapped inside their motor vehicle, and their roof collapses onto them, they can suffer catastrophic injuries or death. Roof crush accidents are more common in rollover accidents. Nevertheless, manufacturers are responsible for making sure that the roof of their vehicle does not collapse if the vehicle is in a rollover accident. A vehicle roof crush is often due to a design or manufacturing defect of the vehicle or/and its roof. If a manufacturing defect caused your vehicle’s roof to collapse in an auto accident, consulting with an experienced attorney can help you file a product liability claim against the manufacturers or other liable parties. Below are some examples of defects that can cause a vehicle’s roof to collapse:
- Equipment Failure – Faulty tires can also cause rollover crashes. Moreover, having a tire blowout can increase the probability of a rollover crash because it can result in the vehicle tripping.
- Improper Installation – If the pillars are not located in the correct place, the roof can collapse. If the roof of a vehicle collapses into the passenger compartment during a rollover accident, the survival space for the occupants is reduced and, in some situations, eliminated. Furthermore, during the accident, the occupants’ head and spine can make contact with the roof causing life-altering catastrophic injuries.
- Cheap Manufacturing – The material used to make the roof of your vehicle was not sturdy enough and caused your roof to collapse in an accident. The pillars of the roof are not strong enough to support the weight of the vehicle that it collapses when the vehicle rolls over.
Roof Crush Accidents & Vehicle Ejections
In a vehicle roof collision, the pillars of the vehicle cannot sustain the vehicle’s full weight, so the force of impact causes ejection portals like the windshield, side windows, and doors in some cases, to open. Even though this situation might call for an opportunity to exit safely out of the vehicle, the debris and shattering glass next to the ejection portal can lead to occupant injuries and even death.
Types of Injuries from Rollover & Roof Crush Accidents
People who are injured in rollover collisions or vehicle roof crashes might require expensive medical treatment. Below are a few common injuries associated with rollover accidents and a vehicle’s roof collapsing:
- Broken Bones
- Fractured Bones
- Internal Organ Damage
- Neck Injury
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Wrongful Death
Determining Liability & Pursuing Compensation
If you, a loved one, or someone you know were in a rollover accident and the vehicle’s roof collapsed, consult with a legal professional. Victims may be eligible to file a product liability claim and recover compensation for damages such as; pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and more. For family members who have lost a loved one due to roof crush in a collision (i.e., rollover), you can file a wrongful death claim with the theory that it is product liability. It is crucial to retain an attorney and better inform yourself of what laws and regulations relate to your case.
Obtaining an experienced attorney can help you in your case in various ways. Your attorney can help identify the parties liable for the rollover collision (e.g., a government agency, another driver) or investigate the cause of your roof collapsing during the collision. Often, these cases need the assistance of expert testimony such as medical professionals. Expert testimonials are important because they can be used to identify if the injuries the victim suffered were caused by the roof collapsing in a collision. Acquiring a legal professional can help you with your case, whether it’s against your insurance provider, government entity, another driver, or a company.
American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) – One of the many injuries that you can suffer from a roof crush accident, is a spinal cord injury. The American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) promotes and establishes health and educational standards to foster research and create discussions about spinal cord injuries. ASIA attempts to educate members, healthcare professionals, families, patients, and other groups of individuals in order to gain awareness of the consequences of spinal injury and to help prevent them.
Fatality Facts – Follow the link to the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), to learn statistical information regarding rollover accidents and passenger fatalities. IIHS is a “nonprofit scientific, educational organization” that seeks to reduce the “deaths, injuries, and property damage” from motor vehicle collisions. The statistical research is from a collaboration between the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI). The data demonstrates the correlation between rollover accidents and passenger deaths. Also, the information is categorized by an analysis of passengers’ fatalities based on crash type, vehicle type, impact point, and much more.
Attorney for Roof Crush Accidents in Whatcom County, WA
Rollover accidents can be extremely complex. They can be caused by either another driver’s carelessness, poorly maintained roadways, and as stated before, certain vehicle types are more prone to rollover than others. In a rollover accident, injuries can be fatal or cause permanent life-changing accommodations. Victims can be coping with internal organ damage, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, neck injury, and fractured bones. The accumulating medical expenses and lost wages can cause mental and emotional strain. Being in a rollover accident can be traumatic. Retaining an attorney can help you in understanding your rights and what you can seek compensation for. At PNW Trial Lawyers, our attorneys help our clients focus on their recovery while we dedicate our past experience to helping them receive just compensation for their loss or injuries.
However, when your roof collapses during a rollover accident, the possibility of injuries or death increases. All occupants become vulnerable to worse injuries. Furthermore, manufacturers can be held liable for your vehicle’s roof collapsing in an accident and furthering your injuries. If you were a victim of your roof collapsing during a rollover accident, consult with an experienced attorney. At PNW Trial Lawyers, we take the time to know our clients, because they are our greatest resource in any case. We have over two decades of collective past experience at prior firms in representing insurance carriers and other large companies in various industries. We know the system and how it works.
Contact us at (360) 483-5201 for a free consultation. We serve clients in Bellingham, Mt. Vernon, Anacortes, Everett, and the surrounding areas of Skagit County, Whatcom County, and Snohomish County.