In 2021, there were 128 reported traffic-related deaths in Jacksonville, which was up 17% since the prior year. Unfortunately, this trend is continuing to spiral upward, leaving drivers wondering what they can do to avoid becoming part of this statistic.
The fact is that accidents happen. However, some are more dangerous than others. One such accident is a rollover accident. One of the things that makes these accidents particularly devastating is that they are usually preventable.
If you are involved in a rollover accident as a passenger or as a driver, and another party’s recklessness or negligence caused it, you can file a claim to recover compensation. It’s best to contact Jacksonville personal injury lawyers from Terrell Hogan for help with the claim and to ensure your legal rights are protected.
The Problem with Rollover Accidents
Many Floridians don’t realize how dangerous rollover accidents can be. While they account for a low percentage of collisions in the Sunshine State, when they do occur, the risk of fatalities is higher than in other accident types. One reason for this is due to the unique characteristics of these accidents.
In many situations, rollover accidents are single-car accidents. They also involve different vehicles and occur in different locations than other more common accidents.
While this is true, rollover accidents in Florida do have something in common with other motor vehicle collisions – you have the right to recover compensation if someone else’s negligence caused your injuries.
Rollover Accidents Involving a Single Car
Single-car rollover accidents may not involve any other vehicle. Instead, this type of accident is often seen on the on- and off-ramps on interstates and highways. Many cars take these ramps at a high rate of speed, which causes them to hit the shoulder and lose control. The result is a rollover accident in many cases.
Trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are most involved in rollover accidents. That’s because they have unique features compared to traditional cars. For example, trucks and SUVs are narrower and taller, which gives them a higher center of gravity than cars. This means they are much more likely to roll if involved in an accident.
When a rollover accident occurs, the likelihood of the driver and passengers in the truck or SUV being seriously injured or killed is high. According to data from NHTSA, in 2020, Florida experienced the following:
- There was a fatality in 18.2% for car-related rollover accidents
- There was a fatality in 46.1% of for truck-related rollover accidents
- There was a fatality in 35.8% for SUV-related rollover accidents
These statistics alone show how much more serious rollover accidents in trucks and SUVs tend to be.
Reasons Rollover Accidents Result in More Fatalities
There are a few reasons that fatalities are common in rollover accidents. These include:
- Crush injuries: When a vehicle rolls over, it may crush everyone inside. That’s because the structure is a box, and when the vehicle rolls, it crushes the people inside. The higher the vehicle’s mass is, combined with more momentum and high speed, the deadlier the effect will be.
- Exposure: Many vehicles land on their roof or side in a rollover accident. This results in occupants being exposed to other vehicles and flying debris, which can cause severe injuries and death.
- Airbags: In many rollover accidents, the airbags will not deploy because the impact is to the roof or side of the vehicle. Because of this, those inside experience a significant force they may be unable to withstand.
Contributing Factors in Rollover Accidents
You will find that multiple factors contribute to the increased risk of fatalities involved with rollover accidents. Some include these driving behaviors:
- Drunk driving: This impairs the driver’s ability to control their vehicle and increases the potential of a rollover accident.
- Speeding: Driving at faster speeds increases a vehicle’s mass and momentum, making it more likely to roll over if a collision occurs.
- Improperly maintained vehicles: If a vehicle isn’t properly maintained, it means that a tire may blow, or the suspension could fail.
- Distracted driving: Distractions in and around a vehicle can take a driver’s mind and eyes off the road and their hands off the wheel, which increases the possibility of an accident.
- Aggressive driving: Some people drive aggressively, and things like impatience and road rage can result in unsafe road practices, such as sudden maneuvers or erratic lane switches. Aggressive drivers put others on the road at a higher risk of responding to their actions and being involved in a rollover incident.
Cases of improperly secured cargo can also play a role in rollover accidents. If the cargo shifts in the vehicle, it will cause it to be imbalanced and the weight distributed unevenly. If this happens, the vehicle may tip on its side or rollover.
Potential Injuries in Rollover Accidents
Since rollover accidents cause a vehicle to roll “like a ball,” it’s not uncommon to experience serious injuries. Some of the most common include:
- Broken bones: A rollover accident can result in multiple broken bones. Those who are involved in this type of accident may experience broken ribs, legs, and arms. Also, broken bones can cut into arteries and puncture a lung.
- TBI (traumatic brain injury): If the wheels of your vehicle stop moving, but the rest of it continues to go forward, the jolting action that occurs puts everyone inside at significant risk of hitting their heads on the steering wheel, side posts, or other moving objects in the vehicle. If a serious brain injury occurs, the victim may experience loss of bodily functions, memory loss, or a coma.
- Spinal injuries: Since sudden movements cause rollovers, your spinal cord can experience serious and life-changing trauma in an accident.
- Internal bleeding: The impact of a rollover crash can result in serious trauma to your internal organs. The organs affected may cause internal bleeding, which can result in death.
As you can see, the potential injuries in a rollover accident are serious. Because of this, it’s important to seek medical treatment right after an accident, if possible.
Determining Liability in a Florida Rollover Accident
Due to the complexity of rollover accident cases in Florida, it’s wise to enlist help from Jacksonville personal injury lawyers. Our attorneys will investigate the accident and gather evidence to determine who was liable and, therefore, responsible for your injuries and damages.
While each case is unique, some of the parties who could be liable after a rollover accident include:
- Drivers of another vehicle that caused your vehicle to roll over
- Governmental entities if poor road design is a factor in the accident
- Driver of the vehicle you were in for passengers
- Product retailers, distributors, and manufacturers of a defective product caused the rollover
- Owners of a vehicle
Sometimes, other parties also hold a share of responsibility in the accident. An example would be a trucking company if it was a reckless truck driver who caused your rollover accident.
Potential Damages You Can Receive After a Florida Rollover Accident
If you are involved in a rollover accident caused by another person’s negligence, you can seek compensation for your damages and injuries. This is true regardless of if just one car was involved or multiple cars and regardless of what type of vehicle you were driving.
For passengers in a friend’s truck, where the driver took the ramp too quickly, and the truck rolled, you can file a claim with the driver’s insurance company, just as you would if someone else hit your vehicle and caused an accident. In these cases, this is negligence, no matter who is at fault.
Vehicle Features to Reduce the Possibility of Rollover Accidents
Today, the prevalence of rollover accidents has encouraged manufacturers to add certain protective technology to help ensure the vehicle remains stable. If you are planning to purchase an SUV, truck, or van that is at a higher risk of rolling over, it’s best to read about the safety elements that have been put in place to help prevent this.
Along with manufacturer technology, there are common sense tips that will help prevent these accidents. An example would be making sure your tires have the proper tread and that they are inflated to the proper amount. You should also avoid distractions and ensure you get plenty of rest before getting behind the wheel.
Let Our Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyers Help with Your Case
At Terrell Hogan, our Jacksonville personal injury lawyers are ready to help prove liability in your accident and ensure you recover the compensation you deserve for your damages and injuries. We also provide representation for family members of someone who died in this type of incident. The first step is to call our office and schedule a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your claim.