What is a roll-over crash collision?

A roll-over crash occurs when a car flips over onto either the side or the roof of the car. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 2.1% of crashes in the United States are roll-overs. Roll-overs often happen when drivers overcorrect their steering as a panic reaction an emergency. This may be a result of other kinds of accidents, from taking turns too quickly, or from swerving. Some 40% of fatal roll-overs occur from speeding, and nearly 75% of fatal roll-overs occurred where the speed limit was over 55 miles per hour or over. Nearly half of roll-overs involve alcohol, fatally crashing as a single-vehicle nearly 85% of the time. Additionally, tall vehicles, with higher centers of gravity, are more likely to turn over.


Who is at fault?

Since roll-overs are single-vehicle crashes nearly 85% of the time, the driver is usually at fault. The driver could have overcorrected his vehicle, veering off of one side of the lane; he could have hit a “trip,” anything that a vehicle could hit to make it roll-over; and/or he could have been driving recklessly at high speeds. In 2010 alone, more than 7,600 people died in roll-over crashes. That number accounts for nearly 35% of all deaths from passenger vehicle crashes.

Ask yourself these 5 questions when trying to determine fault in a car accident:

1. Were there traffic citations or violations of traffic law?

2. Was I rear-ended or hit by a car making a left-hand turn?

3. Were there comments made by the drivers after the accident?

4. Were there any witnesses?

5. Were there negligent drivers?

Why am I hurt but my car is not?

It is more than likely that your car will be hurt in a roll-over crash. If the vehicle flips, there will probably be a dent in the side, if not more. In order to prevent a roll-over, it is important to not only follow the speed limit and make sure that the tires are in good shape and properly inflated, but to also stay within the load rating specified by the vehicle’s manufacturer. Notably, newer cars have better electronic stability control and side curtain airbags – both of which will help keep the occupants safe. There is a new 2009 rule known as the “revised roof-crush rule” that says that vehicles weighing 6,000 pounds or less must be able to withstand a force equal to three times their weight applied to the left and right sides of the roof. If the roof touches the head of an average-height dummy, the vehicle is inadequate. The hope is that this standard will decrease the chances of roll-over. Roll-overs are among the most dangerous types of crashes because of the high incidence of occupant ejection. Ejections account for 62% of all fatalities in roll-over crashes and often cause severe head injuries. Occupants are at risk to move through open or shattered windows when the car tips on its side and/or when there is a large force impact sustained in one direction.

What are the most common roll-over injuries?

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the third overall leading cause of TBI at 14 percent and the cause of 26 percent of TBI-related deaths. A TBI is caused by a bump or penetration to the head that affects the normal function of the brain. TBI severity ranges from mild to severe, causing impaired thinking, sensation retrieval, language function, and emotional stability. Though 75 percent of annually reported TBIs are concussions (mild TBI), severe TBI results in absolute neurological and cognitive debilitations. Costs of TBI hospitalization averaged $8,189 for moderate, $14,603 for serious, $16,788 for severe, and $33,537 for critical TBI. Costs also varied by injury type, $20,522 for motor vehicle crashes. In roll-over cases, serious often brain injuries occur as a result of the head making contact with the roof or other object upon ejection from the vehicle. Head injury could also occur in a secondary collision, being moved from side to side or from direct impact with another object.

Spinal Cord Injury

  •  About 46% of all spinal cord injuries occur in vehicle accidents, many of which happen in roll-overs. When the car rolls over, there can be trauma to the neck and/or back, resulting in damage to the spinal cord and/or nerves at the end of the spinal canal. Sadly, damage to the spinal cord often results in loss of function or feeling. The average annual medical cost is $15,000 to $30,000 per year, an estimated $500,000 to $3 million lifetime cost.

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