Rollover Auto Accidents in Melbourne
Injuries are often devastating for car crash victims
Unfortunately, rollover accidents are not uncommon in Melbourne and throughout Brevard County, Florida. Just last week, a 20-year-old woman was killed in a rollover car wreck just north of Melbourne. Almost a year to the date earlier, a pregnant woman died after being ejected from an SUV in a car accident on I-95 in Melbourne, in which the SUV rolled over.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rollover car accidents injure or kill tens of thousands of people globally each year. “Rollover” describes automobile accidents in which a vehicle tips over on its roof or side. Approximately 55 percent of single car crash fatalities involved a rollover accident. About 80 percent of rollover deaths occurred in accidents in which the injured party was not wearing a seat belt. About half of these deaths occurred as a result of the individual being ejected from the vehicle. Larger vehicles, like SUVs, have shown a disproportionately higher rollover accident rate than lighter passenger cars. SUV-related rollover accidents account for approximately 78 percent of traffic deaths in the U.S.
Causes of rollovers
Rollover accidents may be caused by another driver’s negligence or because of a manufacturing defect. In some cases, rollover accidents are caused by both factors. Negligent driving happens when the driver is distracted by a cell phone or smart phone, is driving while intoxicate, or simply does not properly give adequate care and attention to the task of driving. Negligent drivers and their insurers are liable for damages they cause.
Manufacturers are liable for victims’ injuries if an accident occurs as a result of an automotive part or product that is defective or does not function properly. In rollover accidents caused by a defective product, the injured plaintiff could be entitled to claim compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, lost income, and pain and suffering. In product liability claims, the court may award punitive damages in addition to compensation, making it imperative that you call an experienced Melbourne car accident lawyer immediately after the wreck.
Florida law and rollover accidents
Florida law requires drivers to report crashes involving bodily injuries or property damage. Florida Statutes Section 316.027 states that if an accident results in bodily injury or death, the driver(s) must stop the vehicle at the accident scene and remain until they fulfill the duty to give information and “render aid.” The duty to give information requires involved drivers to exchange information and cooperate with police during the accident investigation. The driver must also help “carry” injured parties to the hospital or arrange for injured victims to receive immediate medical treatment.
Florida law protects victims of rollover accidents caused by one or more product defects. Florida’s product liability laws state manufacturers must correct defects in their products or, at minimum, warn consumers or users of potential risks.
In rollover accidents, the manufacturer is required to research potential problems the vehicle’s stability and make alterations to improve safety. Manufacturers are strictly liable for injuries that result when they do not install required safety equipment. Therefore, injured parties who wish to recover compensation from a manufacturer who contributed to the unsafe condition may do so without proving negligence.
Types of rollover wrecks
Rollover accidents are divided into two categories:
- A tripped rollover happens when force is applied to the vehicle by an external object, such as strong winds, a road curb, or another vehicle.
- An untripped rollover happens when the driver takes a turn too quickly. Tire force, gravity, and inertia come into play to cause untripped rollover accidents. The vehicle starts to tip over when the tires’ directional forces and the vehicle’s inertia sufficiently counteract gravitational forces.
When are they most likely to occur?
Rollover accidents commonly happen in the following scenarios:
- While making a turn, the vehicle slides or drifts sideways and collides with an off-road object, soft spot, or curb. The action greatly increases lateral force and the vehicle begins to roll. About 70 percent of single vehicle rollover accidents happen this way.
- Impact with a guardrail, object, or another vehicle causes a disproportionate amount of acceleration on both sides of the vehicle, typically causing it to tip over in the opposite direction.
- Crossing a slope or dip may cause the vehicle to roll over. Slopes at 33 percent or higher are often called critical slopes because they have the potential to cause the vehicle to tip at normal speeds.
- If the driver turns too fast, lateral forces on the vehicle overcome gravitational pull and cause the car or SUV to tip over.
Rollover accidents are frightening and cause physical and emotional harm. If you’ve been injured in this type of crash, consult with an auto accident attorney at Couture Law P.A. to learn your legal options. We can meet you at our Melbourne or Titusville offices, or at the hospital if need be.