The Dangers of Rollover Crashes and Roof Crush Injuries

rural highway in AlaskaVehicle rollover crashes are among the scariest accidents. While they do not occur very frequently—only about 3 percent of crashes involve a rollover—they are among the deadliest. More than 10,000 people are killed in rollover crashes every year, a figure that represents about 33 percent of all car accident fatalities. What causes these crashes? And why are they so dangerous when they occur?

Types of Rollover Vehicle Accidents

A crash is considered a rollover in Alaska when a vehicle turns at least a quarter turn onto its side or end. There are two types of rollovers:

  • Tripped. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 95% of all rollovers are tripped. A tripped rollover is when a vehicle leaves the roadway and comes into contact with an object or surface that triggers a rollover.
  • Untripped. An untripped rollover typically occurs when a top-heavy vehicle is involved in a crash, or the driver attempts an evasive maneuver to avoid a crash.

Cause of Alaska Rollover Crashes

In both tripped and untripped rollover crashes, there are a number of common factors that contribute to the accident. These include:

  • Vehicle design. Taller, narrower vehicles tend to be more susceptible to rollovers. Trucks, SUVs, and vans have a higher center of gravity and are typically involved in more rollover crashes than other types of vehicles.
  • Speed. Traveling at a higher speed makes a vehicle more susceptible to tipping, and it also gives drivers less time to react to changing road and traffic conditions, which could result in a maneuver that leads to a trip. Approximately 40 percent of rollover crashes involve speeding.
  • Alcohol use. Alcohol use is a risk factor for many different types of accidents, and rollovers are no different. About half of all fatal rollover accidents involve alcohol use.
  • Road type. According to NHTSA, nearly ¾ of all rollover crashes occur on rural, undivided roads where the speed is 55 mph or more.

Injuries Most Commonly Associated With a Rollover Crash

Unfortunately, rollover crashes often result in serious injuries and fatalities. During a rollover crash, many vehicle safety systems are not able to be utilized. When a vehicle turns onto its side or roof, there is little protection for its occupants. Roof crush injuries occur when the roof collapses in a crash. This happens when manufacturers fail to reinforce the roof or do not reinforce it enough to withstand the force of a crash. This can lead to serious injuries including:

  • Traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) disrupts the normal function of the brain due to a bump, blow, or penetrating incident. TBIs can vary greatly in severity, with accident victims experiencing symptoms ranging from mild headache and confusion to loss of consciousness and coma.
  • Spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injuries involve damage to any part of the spine or the nerves at the end of the spinal cord. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of these injuries in the U.S., which can leave accident victims experiencing pain, muscle weakness, paralysis, impaired breathing, and more.
  • Fractures. While broken bones may seem like a minor injury, the location and degree of the fracture can make for a severe and complicated injury. Fractures can complicate the treatment of other injuries and require significant rehabilitation on their own.

An Experienced Attorney Can Help After a Rollover

The injuries suffered in rollover crashes are typically more severe than other types of crashes, which often means that recovery is more complicated. Serious injuries may require a significant amount of medical care, rehabilitation, time away from work, and lifestyle changes. For victims and their families, managing all these stresses can be overwhelming. That’s why attorney Ben Crittenden helps Alaska victims pursue a legal claim that can provide victims with the compensation they need to get proper medical care and remain financially stable. During this difficult time, Ben can work to make sure your voice is heard and your needs are met. If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a rollover accident, call Ben today in his Anchorage office or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page.