All car accidents have the potential to cause serious and even fatal injuries. However, one type of crash stands above the rest when it comes to putting vehicle occupants in danger: rollover crashes.
Any time a vehicle tips onto its side or roof, it is considered to have been involved in a rollover crash. Sometimes, vehicles roll over multiple times before coming to rest on their tires, sides, or roofs.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says rollover crashes are “particularly violent in nature” and are “far more likely to result in fatalities” than non-rollover crashes. Because these crashes are so likely to cause serious and even fatal injuries, it’s even more important for victims to find out who is liable for them so they can pursue compensation for their damages.
Potentially liable parties for rollover accidents include:
The Driver of the Rolled Over Vehicle
In many cases, the driver of the vehicle that rolled over may be held liable for the accident. This can be due to factors such as speeding, reckless driving, impaired driving (e.g., driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs), distracted driving, or failure to obey traffic laws. When drivers are liable for their own rollover crashes, their passengers and the drivers and passengers of other vehicles they may have collided with can file injury claims against them to recover compensation for their damages.
The Vehicle Manufacturer
The manufacturer may be liable if the rollover was caused or exacerbated by a defect in the vehicle’s design or manufacturing. This could involve issues with the vehicle’s stability, weight balance, or other design choices that make it more likely to roll over than other vehicles. In 2022, a jury awarded a family $1.7 billion after two of their loved ones died in a rollover crash due to a design flaw in their Ford-produced pickup truck.
A Vehicle Component Manufacturer
Tires are the most likely of all vehicle components to cause rollovers. In the 1990s, Firestone tires were the center of controversy after it was discovered they were more likely to fail than other tires, putting vehicle occupants at risk of rollovers, leading to severe injuries and death. Improperly designed brakes also may contribute to rollovers, as they may prevent drivers from slowing down enough to avoid crashing while navigating sharp turns in the road.
Mechanics or Repair Shops
Mechanics and repair shops can change vehicles’ stock performance, stability, and weight by using third-party parts and components and performing unsafe and unsatisfactory work. For example, they may repair damaged vehicles that look cosmetically repaired but that are still structurally unsound, use recalled or damaged tires, add or remove components that increase/decrease weight and reduce stability, and even fail to secure tires and wheels, which can put them at risk of failure or detachment while the vehicle is in motion.
The Contractors or Company Who Designed or Built the Road
In some cases, the design or condition of the road may contribute to a rollover accident. If the road was poorly designed, lacked proper signage or guardrails, or had other issues that contributed to the accident, the individuals or companies who designed or built the road may be liable. In some cases, the governmental body in charge of building or maintaining the road may be liable, but a legal concept called sovereign immunity can make it difficult to get compensation from the government.
Rollover accidents can also be caused by the actions of other drivers on the road. For example, if another driver’s reckless or negligent behavior leads to a collision that causes a vehicle to roll over, that driver may be held liable. They can also potentially be held liable if they drifted into another driver’s path, forcing the second driver to swerve to avoid a crash, which in turn caused that driver to lose control of their vehicle and roll over.
How Do You Determine Who Is Liable for a Rollover Crash?
Determining liability in a rollover accident can be complex and may require a thorough investigation, including analysis of the accident scene, vehicle inspection, witness statements, and expert opinions. Unfortunately, insurance companies often blame the drivers of the vehicles that rolled over for these crashes, even when evidence shows that other parties may have contributed to or outright caused them.
At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, we’ve helped victims of all types of car accidents, including rollovers, get the compensation they deserve. We know how painful, traumatic, and devastating rollover accidents can be, and it’s our goal to ensure our victims get every penny for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact us today for a free case review—we want to help you through this difficult time.