Frequently Asked Questions
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Rollover Accidents

  1. Question: Why do consumers need to know about SUV rollovers?
  2. Are SUV the only vehicles that roll over?
  3. How do most vehicles rollovers occur?
  4. What can I do to reduce the chance of a rollover?
  5. What does the NHTSA'S rollover resistance rating mean?
  6. I was seriously injured in a rollover accident while riding in a friends sport utility vehicle. My friend was driving carefully when the SUV rolled over. How can I recover for my injuries?
  7. How soon after my accident must I bring a case?
  8. Do I need to retain an attorney?

Questions & Answers

Question: Why do consumers need to know about SUV rollovers?
Answer:
Rollovers do not occur as often as other types of crashes, but when they do occur, they often result in a serious injury or death. SUV rollover accidents accounted for more than 10,000 fatalities in the United States in 1999, which are more than side and rear crashes combined. The result was thousands of serious injuries. Some rollover accidents may be preventable if consumers realize the dangers involved in SUV vehicles and the serious and tragic injuries that can result.

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Are SUV the only vehicles that roll over?
Answer:
No. A rollover crash can happen in any type of vehicle. SUVs, like pickup trucks and minivans, typically ride higher off the ground than passenger cars and have higher centers of gravity, and thus are more susceptible to rollover if involved in a single-vehicle crash. See the vehicle class comparison chart. But while vehicle type does play a significant role, other factors such as driver behavior and road and environmental conditions also help determine whether or not a vehicle rolls over.
Even a five-star vehicle has up to a 10% risk of rolling over in a single-vehicle crash. In fact, certain five-star vehicles, such as sports cars, may have a higher number of rollovers per 100 registered vehicles than certain three-star vehicles, such as minivans, due to the aggressive way in which the vehicle is driven and/or the age and skill of the driver.

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How do most vehicles rollovers occur?
Answer:
#1:CAUSE
Rollovers are complex crash incidents and are particularly violent in nature. Rollovers, more so than other types of crashes, reflect the interaction of the driver, road, vehicle, and environmental factors. So while vehicle type does play a significant role, other factors such as driver behavior and road and environmental conditions can also cause a vehicle to roll over.
#2: VEHICLE TYPE
All types of vehicles can rollover. However, taller, narrower vehicles such as SUVs, pickups, and vans have higher centers of gravity, and thus are more susceptible to rollover if involved in a single-vehicle crash.
#3: SPEED
Fatal rollover crashes are speed-related more often than fatal non-rollover crashes. Some 40% of fatal rollover crashes involved excessive speeding. Additionally, nearly ¾ of fatal rollovers took place where the posted speed limit was 55 miles per hour or higher.
#4: ALCOHOL
Nearly half of all fatal rollover crashes involve alcohol. Impairment can result from any blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above .00. Even a small amount of alcohol will negatively affect your judgment, muscular coordination, and vision, making you more likely to lose control of your vehicle.
#5: LOCATION
Rural roads tend to be undivided and without barriers. They are thus more likely to be the scene of a fatal rollover. Almost ¾ of fatal rollovers occur in rural areas where the posted speed limit is typically 55 miles per hour or higher.
#6: ROUTINE DRIVING
NHTSA data also suggest that over 90% of the vehicles in fatal, single-vehicle rollover crashes were involved in routine driving maneuvers (going straight or negotiating a curve) at the time of the crash. This further suggests that driver behavior (distraction, inattentiveness, speeding, and impaired driving) plays a significant role in rollover crashes.
#7: SINGLE-VEHICLE CRASH
NHTSA data show that nearly 85% of all rollover-related fatalities are the result of single-vehicle crashes. This means that the majority of rollover crashes and fatalities do not involve any other vehicle besides the one that rolled over, further suggesting that driver behavior plays a significant role in rollover crashes.

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What can I do to reduce the chance of a rollover?
Answer:
There are many ways to minimize the risk of vehicle rollover, as well as reduce the risk of serious injury should one occur. Statistics prove that wearing a safety belt has the greatest effect on reducing the chance of fatality—occupants are 75% less likely to be killed in a rollover crash if they are wearing them.
Safety belt use has an even greater effect on reducing the deadliness of rollover crashes than on other crashes because so many victims of rollover crashes die as a result of being partially or completely thrown from the vehicle. Use the blue toolbar above to learn even more ways to protect yourself and others while on the road.

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What does the NHTSA'S rollover resistance rating mean?
Answer:
The Rollover Resistance Ratings are based on Static Stability Factor, which is essentially a measure of how top heavy a vehicle is. The Rollover Resistance Ratings of vehicles were compared to 220,000 actual single vehicle crashes, and the ratings were found to relate very closely to the real-world rollover experience of vehicles. Based on these studies, NHTSA found that taller, narrower vehicles, such as sport utility vehicles, are more likely than lower, wider vehicles, such as passenger cars, to trip and roll over once they leave the roadway. Accordingly, NHTSA awards more stars to wider and/or lower vehicles. The Rollover Resistance Rating, however, does not address the causes of the driver losing control and the vehicle leaving the roadway in the first place.

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I was seriously injured in a rollover accident while riding in a friends sport utility vehicle. My friend was driving carefully when the SUV rolled over. How can I recover for my injuries?
Answer:
While you feel your friend was driving carefully the accident must be fully investigated, rarely does a vehicle rollover without a tire blowout unless there is some driver error. If there is no driver error the tires should be examined carefully to see if one of them blew out leading to the rollover. If that is the case the tire needs to be further examined to see if it was defective in its manufacture or defective in its design, which led to the blowout. If the tire was defective in either one of these situations, then you could have a possible claim against the tire manufacturer. The vehicle also should be carefully inspected to see if something failed on the vehicle causing or contributing to the rollover accident. If that is the case there may be a possible claim against the manufacturer of the vehicle.

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How soon after my accident must I bring a case?
Answer:
The statute of limitations for negligence lawsuits is six (6) years from the date of the accident.  The statute of limitations for a products liability claim is four (4) years from date of the accident.  However, as a practical matter any accident that involves the rollover of a vehicle is a very complicated accident and it needs to be investigated thoroughly and early in order to fully understand the facts and develop your ability to decide what claims you wish to pursue.

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Do I need to retain an attorney?
Answer:
Since rollover accidents almost always involve serious injuries and complicated facts you would be well advised to obtain an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after being involved in a rollover accident.

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