How Do Rollover Car Accidents Happen?

Vehicle rollovers can be one of the most devastating types of car accidents and, to make matters worse, because they are often caused by driver negligence or driver error, they are usually entirely preventable. Even in a single-vehicle rollover, victims often sustain catastrophic injuries, especially if the vehicle’s occupants fail to fasten their seat belts.  A report published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reveals that, even though vehicle rollovers account for fewer than 3% of all car accidents, they make up roughly 35% of all traffic fatalities. If you were injured in a vehicle rollover accident through no fault of your own, the experienced Virginia Beach car accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help. Call us today to schedule your free consultation. 

What is a Rollover Car Accident?

A rollover car accident is exactly what it sounds like. They occur when a vehicle flips upside down, rolls onto its side, or overturns several times before coming to an uncontrolled stop. Most rollover car accidents only involve one vehicle. Depending on the facts of the accident, however, they can also cause multi-car collisions. Additionally, it is not uncommon for an overturning vehicle to crash into a stationary object, such as a tree or telephone pole, compounding the impact on those inside the car and increasing the risk of severe injuries.  

Are There Different Types of Rollover Car Accidents?

There are generally two different kinds of vehicle rollovers: tripped and untripped. Tripped rollovers occur the most often and take place when a vehicle leaves the paved portion of the roadway, and skids or slides sideways. At this point, should the car’s tires strike an object, such as a pothole or a curb, it could cause an unexpected increase in the vehicle’s lateral momentum and cause it to roll over. Tripped rollover accidents are often the result when a driver strikes another vehicle or a guardrail.   

An untripped rollover can happen when a driver turns a corner at a high rate of speed and the momentum generated by that speed works against them, causing their vehicle to roll, tip, or flip over.  

How Do Rollover Car Accidents Happen?

Driver error is the leading cause of any type of motor vehicle accident, including vehicle rollovers. By and large, rollover accidents are caused by one of four different types of negligence.

Driver Error

Driver error can include inexperience, distraction, and carelessness. Some of the most common driver errors are:

  • Going too fast around a corner
  • Oversteering 
  • Failing to adjust your speed during inclement weather
  • Failing to maintain control of your vehicle

Driver Negligence

Forms of driver negligence that could potentially result in a vehicle rollover include: 

  • Fatigued driving, including nodding off behind the wheel
  • A lack of vehicle maintenance leading to tires that are improperly inflated, bald, or unevenly worn  
  • Commercial trucks with improperly loaded or unrestrained cargo

Careless or Reckless Driving 

Hazardous driving behaviors that can lead to a vehicle rollover include:

  • Unlawful racing or excessive speeding on public roads 
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Driving while you are medically unfit to do so

Additional Causes

Sometimes, a situation that is absolutely outside of a driver’s control can arise and lead to a vehicle rollover, such as:   

  • Being struck by another driver in a side-impact accident  
  • Unexpected hazards in the roadway, particularly after dark when they are difficult to see
  • Poorly marked or missing road signage, especially those indicating work zones, one-way streets, and four-way stops   

All We Do Is Injury Law

Established in 1985, the skilled Virginia Beach car accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp have more than 70 years of combined experience assisting injured car accident victims collect convincing evidence and construct compelling cases for significant financial recoveries, such as the $3.5 million jury award and punitive damages we won for a client who was left physically disabled and sustained irreversible brain damage when an intoxicated driver struck her vehicle head-on in. If you would like to schedule a free case review with one of our experienced car accident attorneys, call (833) 997-1774 or fill out the easy contact form on our website. In most cases, you have just two years from the day your accident happened to file a claim, so time is a factor. For your convenience, our main office is located in Virginia Beach with satellite offices in Portsmouth, Norfolk, Hampton, Suffolk, and Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.