Understanding Rollover Accidents

Rollover Auto Accident

We’ve all seen rollovers in movies. Perhaps a police car flips over on a busy street, or perhaps a top-heavy vehicle makes a sudden stop and goes topsy turvy. Rollovers may appear spectacular in this context, but in real life they are deadly events that can result in extreme injuries or worse. They can happen to any vehicle, but larger automobiles, like SUVs and trucks, are more susceptible. In fact, according to the NHTSA, 60 percent of all SUV-related fatalities were the result of a rollover in 1999. The same principle applies today. Similarly, a third of the approximately 35,000 car crash fatalities that occurred in 1999 were caused by rollovers.


According to Carl E. Nash, an engineering expert, “Fundamentally, most SUVs are working trucks with station wagon bodies grafted onto them.” He continued, “From the aspect of physics, they’re simply the wrong type of vehicle to have on the road.” The issue is that, in the US, SUVs are extremely popular, and those who drive these vehicles might not be as careful as they should be.

According to Carl Lopez, who wrote a book entitled Going Faster!, “[Drivers] listen to the radio or talk on the cell phone without regard to the underlying forces of motion that affect a vehicle.” He continued, “Yet these laws remain constant no matter what kind of car you drive, from a Formula One race car to a giant SUV. And they absolutely affect how the vehicle will handle.”


Why are SUVs so susceptible to rollover accidents? Well, to begin with, the likelihood of a rollover is determined by the relationship between the center of gravity and the track width (or the distance between the two front wheels). In SUVs, and other large trucks, the center of gravity is high and the track is slim. This means when SUVs make sudden movements (e.g. turns, stops etc.), they are more likely to flip over. In many SUV rollover incidents, contributing factors include alcohol and youth (most drivers are under 25). An unfortunate fact is that a lot of the rollovers occur with just one vehicle.

Go to Doctor

So it doesn’t take two to tango when it comes to flipping your car. In fact, a lot of accidents occur when a single vehicle begins to slide sideways and strikes a curb or hits soft earth. No matter what the cause of the accident, there are a few things to remember if you find yourself in such a situation. For one, it is imperative that, no matter what, you maintain clear, organized records of any medical injuries. This means you should go to all of your follow up appointments. If you happen to walk away from the crash feeling fine, you should still be sure to seek medical attention. If you miss the initial appointment, you could have a hard time explaining delayed symptoms to your insurance company.


You may suffer any number of injuries as a result of a rollover. As noted by a paper published by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, most injuries are the result of “roof contact.” This means you could suffer a neck injury, brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation or even decapitation. And if you’re roof is crushed, you could find yourself with more severe injuries. Of course, failure to wear your seatbelt can also result in more extreme bodily harm, and you may even be ejected from your vehicle.


When it comes to compensation, it’s a good idea to discuss your options with an experienced rollover accident attorney. He or she can help you collect the right evidence, so that you can obtain the maximum remuneration for your injuries. To that end, you want to keep records regarding lost income (present and future), diminished earning capacity, medical bills and all other expenses incurred as a direct result of the accident. You may be entitled to pain and suffering damages as well.

What you are able to recover will depend, in part, on which party is liable. Rollover accidents may the result of a defective vehicle design, a defective roadway or another driver who initiated the collision. Once again, an attorney with experience in automobile accidents can evaluate the best options for pursuing your claim.

Sean Lally About Sean Lally

Sean Lally holds a BA in Philosophy from Temple University where he also studied theatre for several years. Between 2007 and 2017, he worked as a professional actor for several regional theater companies in Philadelphia, including the Arden Theatre Co., EgoPo Productions, Lantern Theater and the Bearded Ladies. In 2010, Sean co-founded Found Theater Company, an avant-garde artist collective with whom he first started to cultivate an identity as a writer.