Of all the kinds of accidents in which you may become involved, a rollover crash has the potential to be one of the most devastating in terms of the injuries you can suffer. Why? Because when your vehicle tips over on its side or onto its roof, you face a grave risk of being thrown out of it, usually through the windshield. Conversely, you also face a grave risk of being trapped in it, with no way out of the twisted wreckage.
National Rollover Crash Statistics
Per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Institute for Highway Safety, in 2019, 6,358 passenger vehicle occupants died from injuries sustained in a rollover crash. Nearly three-quarters of these crashes involved an impact with another vehicle or other object. Additional 2019 statistics include the following:
- Rollovers caused by an initial frontal impact accounted for 44% of the overall deaths.
- Single-vehicle rollovers accounted for 49% of the overall deaths, totaling 4,857 such deaths.
- Rollovers accounted for 20% of all car occupant deaths, 36% of all pickup truck occupant deaths and 39% of all SUV occupant deaths.
- Single-vehicle rollovers accounted for 16% of car occupant fatalities, 30% of pickup truck occupant fatalities, and 29% of SUV occupant fatalities.
Recent New York Rollovers
New York has seen two rollover crashes so far in 2022.On April 6, the driver of a passenger vehicle lost control of it just outside the village of Massena. The vehicle flipped at least four times before coming to rest on the right side of Route 37.
On April 28, the driver of a passenger vehicle received life-threatening injuries when his vehicle rolled over on I-490 near Pittsford, NY. In perhaps the most serious rollover crash to ever occur in New York, a tour bus carrying 57 passengers on their way to Niagara Falls overturned on August 14, 2021, sending dozens of people to the hospital.
Types of Rollovers
Vehicle rollovers come in two types: tripped and untripped. In a tripped rollover, the most common type, your vehicle can overturn for one of the following four reasons:
- It begins sliding sideways and the tires strike the curb or dig into a soft shoulder.
- Another vehicle hits you, causing yours to become unstable by accelerating upwards on one side, but not the other.
- One of your tires hits a ditch or other obstacle.
- You encounter sudden high winds that blow your vehicle over.
Untripped rollovers generally happen when you’re towing a trailer or other rolling container, such as a boat hauler, and attempt to turn too sharply. The centripetal force acting on your tires pushes your vehicle toward the center of the curve, while the centrifugal force pushes it away from the center. When these two forces overcome the force of gravity, the result is a rollover.
Vehicles At Highest Risk
The taller your vehicle and the higher its center of gravity, the more risk you face of it rolling over. Specifically, your risk is greatest if you drive one of the following types of vehicle:
- A pickup truck
- An SUV
- A full-size van
The following vehicle brands have received the most publicity regarding their tendency to rollover:
- Ford Bronco II
- Isuzu Trooper
- Jeep CJ
- Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero
- Suzuki Samurai
As with any type of vehicle crash, some of the most common causes of rollovers include the following:
- Excessive speed
- Driving while under the influence of drugs, or alcohol or while overly fatigued
- Inclement weather conditions
- Roadway hazards, such as ice, snow, excessive moisture, pavement cracks, etc.
- Sudden jerking of the steering wheel to avoid a road hazard
- Defective vehicle, such as when your vehicle’s electronic stability control fails to work properly
- Tire problems, such as tread separation
As already noted, assuming that you survive your rollover crash, you may well sustain catastrophic injuries, including one or more of the following:
- A spinal cord injury that could leave the lower half of your body, or even your entire body, paralyzed
- A traumatic brain injury that could result in your experiencing a lifetime of physical, mental or emotional problems
- A crush injury that could make it necessary for surgeons to amputate one or more of your limbs
- An eye injury that could cause you to lose a significant portion of your vision or become completely blind
- An ear injury that could cause you to lose a significant portion of your hearing or become totally deaf
- A severe burn that could leave you with lasting disfiguring scars
- Internal injuries to one or more of your vital organs, such as your heart, lungs, stomach, spleen, etc.
New York’s No-Fault Law
As you may already be aware, New York is a no-fault state. What this means is that you must first make a claim against your own auto insurance company after sustaining injuries in any type of vehicle accident.
If your medical expenses and lost wages resulting from your accident total over $50,000, you can bring a personal injury lawsuit against the person or entity who caused your accident. This could include the driver of the vehicle that hit you and/or the company or governmental entity responsible for maintaining the road in a hazard-free condition.
If a defect in your vehicle caused or contributed to your accident, you also may have a defective product suit against one or more of the following:
- The vehicle manufacturer
- The component parts manufacturers
- The shop that installed any after-market enhancements
- The dealership from which you purchased the vehicle
Statute of Limitations
Time is of the essence when it comes to filing your lawsuit. New York’s Statute of Limitations allows you only three years from the date of your accident to bring a personal injury lawsuit. This decreases to only 90 days if you intend to sue a city, county or state.
If you miss the SOL deadlines applicable to you and your accident, the judge will dismiss any lawsuit you attempt to bring thereafter and you will find yourself unable to receive any compensation for your injuries.
Severe Injury Threshold
In addition to meeting New York’s Statute of Limitations, you must also meet its severe injury threshold. This means that your injuries must consist of at least one of the following:
- Bone fractures or dislocations
- Injuries permanently affecting one or more of your limbs
- Injuries that limit one or more of your bodily functions
- Injuries that result in a minimum of 90 days of full disability
Obtaining Legal Help
Given the fact that you have only a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit after your rollover accident and that determining fault will require a thorough accident investigation on the part of your car accident lawyer, your wisest course of action is to contact Cellino Law as soon after your accident as you possibly can.
We have been providing compassionate legal help to our injured clients since 1995 and have recovered millions of dollars for them. In fact, our law firm has supervised more than $2 billion in personal injury settlements. In other words, our track record of results speaks for itself. So contact us today, either by phone or via our convenient online “Get In Touch With Us” form. Our staff is standing by and waiting to hear from you.