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Vehicle Rollovers

Elements of a Vehicle Rollover

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you are probably facing catastrophic medical consequences. Speaking with a personal injury attorney can help you evaluate your legal options.

Mechanics of a Vehicle Rollover

When a vehicle has all four tires on a smooth surface and makes a sudden avoidance maneuver (thus traveling sideways), it should simply slide and slow down. In a rollover accident, however, the combination of the vehicle's center of gravity and the force it experiences because of the sharp turn causes it to tip over. The faster the vehicle is going, the more danger it is in of rolling over.

While sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are more prone to rollovers, cars, trucks and passenger vans may also roll over. While rollovers are not common, they are very serious accidents. If you encounter debris in the road or suddenly find yourself driving on the shoulder of the road, try not to overcorrect by steering hard to one side. Gently reduce your speed and move as slowly as possible in the direction you desire. Your calm reaction could lower your chances of being in a vehicle rollover accident.

Injuries from a Vehicle Rollover

Rollover injuries can be very serious. The incidence of fatal injuries in vehicle rollovers is much higher than in other types of vehicle accidents. Unfortunately, many cars, SUVs, vans and trucks are not designed to withstand the powerful force of a rollover.

The crashworthiness of the vehicle is often a determinative factor in how the occupant fares. The worst injuries in vehicle rollovers occur when the occupant is either thrown against the interior roof or ejected (or partially ejected) from the vehicle. The resulting head and neck injuries can result in paralysis or death.

SUV Safety Regulations

SUVs are known for their high centers of gravity and narrow wheelbases. This gives them a higher propensity to tip over than passenger cars. When SUVs became popular in the 1980s and especially the 1990s, many consumer advocates called for the US government to create more stringent regulations in order to prevent rollover accidents and crushed roofs. Those regulations have not been put into place.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has implemented a ratings system for the rollover propensity of SUVs. The system measures the center of gravity of the vehicles and the results of a driving test. Although this system can inform the consumer who is shopping for a vehicle, the information is not required to be available at the point of purchase. The information is available for select SUVs on the NHTSA Web site.

Contact an Attorney

An attorney who is experienced in personal injury and vehicle rollover law can be your best ally when you or a family member has been injured in an accident. Contact a lawyer to discuss your situation.

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