Any car accident is a frightening experience, but rollover accidents are downright terrifying. A rollover disrupts the occupants' sense of equilibrium, a feeling that is exhilarating when it occurs on a roller coaster, but petrifying when it happens on the highway. These accidents also epitomize the loss of control that drivers experience in all car accidents. Rollovers are also among the most dangerous and most deadly forms of automobile accidents. The accident lawyer at The Pittman Firm is committed to helping injured people and their families after someone else's negligence causes one of these traumatic incidents.
On Friday night, a rollover crash ended the life of a 27-year-old in Fort Walton Beach. Northwest Florida Daily News reports that the man was driving west on Yacht Club Drive at around 9:30 P.M. when his SUV left the road surface and rolled over several times. The driver, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the vehicle. He was taken to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and then transported to Pensacola's Sacred Heart Medical Center. At 2 A.M. on Saturday, doctors pronounced him dead. Police believe alcohol was a factor, and the investigation is ongoing.
Rollover crashes are among the most deadly forms of car accidents, a fact noted on the Safercar.Gov website, a product of the United States Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA"). In 2010, a mere 2.1% of the nearly 9.1 million crashes that occurred in 2010 involved a rollover. Nonetheless, rollovers accounted for almost 35% of all traffic fatalities that year, claiming more than 7,600 lives.
While any type of vehicle can roll, tall, narrow vehicles are more susceptible to a rollover due to their higher centers of gravity. The NHTSA divides rollovers into tripped and un-tripped accidents. Tripped rollovers account for 95% of single-vehicle rollovers. These involve a vehicle leaving the road, sliding sideways, and digging into soil or striking an object like a guardrail or curb. This creates a high tripping force that, in turn, causes the vehicle to roll over. A small portion of single-vehicle rollovers are un-tripped and typically involve a top-heavy vehicle making an avoidance maneuver at high speeds.
The NHTSA notes that rollovers are, more than other forms of car crashes, a reflection of the interaction between the car, the driver, the road, and the environment. They cite data showing that 85% of fatal rollovers are single-vehicle incidents as evidence that driver behavior is a significant factor in these incidents.
We would, nonetheless, caution against simply assuming that a rollover is always the fault of the driver of the rolled vehicle. For example, a rollover may occur because the driver is responding to the actions of another vehicle, perhaps avoiding a drunk driver who is swerving in and out of multiple lanes. Rollovers can also stem from dangerous road conditions or a faulty vehicle.
As with any other accident where a person is injured as a result of someone else's actions, innocent victims of rollover crashes deserve legal representation. If the accident leads to death, a wrongful death claim may exist. We are proud to provide this representation. Call our Panama City rollover injury attorney to discuss your case.