In a rollover accident, the vehicle tips over onto its side or roof, rolling over once or several times. Under certain circumstances, any vehicle can roll over but narrow and tall vehicles such as SUVs and pickups are more likely to roll over in comparison with regular cars. The statistics are there to show SUVs account for the majority of recent rollover accidents.
Such accidents cause severe injuries to the victims involved, and fatality rates are relatively higher compared to other types of car crashes. It’s important to understand the aftermath of an SUV rollover, especially when it comes to placing liability.
Why Are SUVs Prone to Such Accidents?
Despite the safety improvements and design research that has been ongoing in making vehicles safe, SUVs included, it all boils down to a higher center of gravity (COG). Compared to smaller cars with low ground clearance levels and smaller body size, SUVs have a higher center of gravity, affecting their stability when taking sharp corners.
A vehicle’s stability is determined by various factors, including the relationship between COG and track width; the distance between the right and left wheels. For SUVs, high COG coupled with a narrow track width makes them relatively unstable when taking sudden turns or changes in direction.
Possible Causes of SUV Rollover Accidents
Unlike ordinary car crashes, several factors can come into play in rollover accidents. In most instances, rollovers are a combination of the interaction between the driver, vehicle, state of the road, and environmental conditions.
Possible causes can include the following reasons:
- Vehicle type: as detailed, SUVs are more susceptible than other vehicle types.
- Speeding is a significant contributor to rollover crashes.
- Driving under the influence contributes to about half of fatal rollovers.
- Location, especially in areas with unfamiliar and unmarked roads.
- Bad weather contributes to rollovers owing to poor driving conditions.
- Defective vehicle parts and worn-out tires can also cause a rollover.
Who Is Liable if Your SUV Is Involved in a Rollover?
Well, it depends on the circumstances surrounding your accident. Various parties may be held liable in the case of a rollover.
Just like other types of crashes, the driver at-fault is always held liable in the event of an accident. In this case, their insurance will meet your compensation claims to the extent of the negligent driver’s coverage.
However, things can get a little bit complicated. For instance, what happens when the other party swerved to avoid an oncoming collision and ended up causing a rollover accident with one of the rear cars?
Vehicle or Parts Manufacturer
Manufacturers are usually held legally liable for defective products. The liability stretches to all parties involved in the manufacturing and supply chain. This means that even your dealership can be held responsible if it is determined that a flaw in the SUV’s design or a faulty component caused the rollover. If the manufacturer knew of the flaw or defect, sufficient warning should have been adequately provided to prevent harm from their customers..
Local governments, specifically the road maintenance officials, may be held responsible if conditions on the road under their watch caused the rollover accident. This may include sharp curves, lack of proper signage, or poorly graded and uneven roads.
How Should You Go About Getting Compensation?
Given the complexity of SUV rollovers, it is vital to contact a car accident attorney to help you get through the settlement process. Keep in mind that for liability to be considered, it must be proven that you were owed a duty of care that was breached.
Vehicle manufacturers at-fault are also likely to fight your claims to the end, as their reputation is at stake. Winning against their fierce team of lawyers and insurance companies will require a qualified attorney as well.