Among all truck accidents, rollovers are among the most fatal and devastating. Truck drivers and other vehicle occupants can get crushed in a rollover and suffer severe, potentially fatal injuries.
Many rollover truck accidents are caused by negligence, such as speeding, distracted driving, intoxicated driving, and more. If a negligent truck driver injured you or a loved one, you might be entitled to financial compensation for your damages.
Our truck accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can help you obtain the justice you deserve. We will help you throughout the legal process, from investigating your case to filing a claim with the at-fault trucking company.
Contact our personal injury law firm at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation.
What is a Rollover Accident?
A rollover occurs when a vehicle tips on its side or roof during an accident. Depending on the force of the collision, a vehicle may roll once or multiple times before stopping. Rollover accidents usually involve one vehicle but can occur in multiple-vehicle crashes.
Vehicle rollovers are some of the most fatal among all types of vehicle accidents.
Why Are Trucks Prone to Rollover Accidents?
A truck leans away from the curve’s direction when traveling along a curved path due to the centrifugal force. As the truck heads in a different direction, its body leans slightly in the opposite direction.
A rollover crash occurs when a truck leans too far in that direction, causing the entire vehicle to overturn. Tractor-trailers are particularly at risk of rollover accidents because trailers have a higher center of gravity (“top-heavy”), which can throw off a vehicle’s balance.
How Often Do Truck Rollover Accidents Occur?
In 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released the latest Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts. Relevant data from this report include the following:
- 4,998 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal accidents
- 101,000 large trucks were involved in injury crashes, accounting for 24% of police-reported accidents involving large trucks
- Overturn or rollover was the first harmful event in 4% of all fatal collisions and 2% of non-fatal accidents involving large trucks
Additional 2017 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that:
- The deadliest rollover accidents are single-vehicle crashes
- Most fatal crashes occur on roads where speed limits are 55 mph or higher
- Positive and elevated blood alcohol levels (BACs) are significant contributors to fatal rollover accidents
Why Are Rollover Truck Accidents So Dangerous?
Any truck accident can potentially cause severe injuries, property damage, and loss of life. However, rollover crashes tend to be more devastating because of the following reasons:
- Trucks are enormous. On average, semi-trucks are around 72 feet long, 13 feet tall, and 8.5 feet wide, with a gross weight of approximately 80,000 pounds. A large truck’s massive size and weight increase the risk of injuries, fatality, and severe damage in a crash. Furthermore, a tractor-trailer can hit more vehicles than a regular passenger car.
- Trucks can easily crush vehicles underneath. A large truck can crush other vehicles underneath its tractor-trailer during a rollover accident. Its massive weight can quickly flatten or destroy other motor vehicles, causing severe injuries to occupants. Severe truck rollovers can lead to the instantaneous death of the occupants in smaller vehicles.
- Occupants can get trapped in their cars. A rollover crash can trap drivers and passengers in their cars, usually due to severe vehicle damage. If this happens, injured victims may be unable to seek help or escape a burning vehicle on time. Moreover, rescuing victims trapped in cars usually takes longer, which can delay treatment and increase the risk of complications.
- Truck cabins can get crushed or detached. A severe truck rollover crash can crush a cabin or cause it to separate from the rest of the trailer. Either way, the driver is at risk of severe injuries and death. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), nearly half of truck driver deaths occurred in rollovers.
Common Causes of Rollover Collisions
Truck rollover accidents usually stem from negligent acts, such as:
- Speeding: Driving at an excess speed is the leading cause of serious crashes involving rollovers, especially for large vehicles like semis and tanker trucks. Speeding at a curve or while turning can displace the truck’s weight, leading to imbalance and a resulting overturn.
- Improperly Loaded Cargo: Hazardous cargo can reduce a truck’s stability, increasing the risk of a rollover truck accident.
- Distracted Driving: Negligent drivers that text, call, drink, or eat while driving has higher chances of getting into an accident due to losing control and failing to react to road hazards on time.
- Intoxicated Driving: Alcohol can lead to poor coordination, poor concentration, lack of good judgment, and other capabilities necessary for safe truck operation. Many rollovers, including those involving regular passenger vehicles, are caused by drunk drivers.
- Driver Fatigue: Driving while tired is another leading cause of rollover crashes. Unfortunately, drivers in the trucking industry often work 10 hours or more, increasing the risk of falling asleep at the wheel or failing to avoid an accident because of excessive tiredness.
- Poor Maintenance: Vehicle conditions contribute to large truck rollovers, although not as much as driver error. Improper truck maintenance can lead to dangerous situations, such as brake failures, tire blowouts, and engine defects.
- Dangerous Road Conditions: Potholes, uneven roads, debris, and other hazardous road conditions can cause tripped rollovers, which occur when the truck hits something on the road and loses stability and balance.
Common Injuries in Truck Rollover Accidents
In a truck rollover accident, the truck driver and occupants of a passenger vehicle can suffer devastating injuries, such as:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): A TBI occurs when the brain bounces around the skull after a sudden jolt or blow. In a rollover, the collision can crush the vehicle’s roof and cause it to collide with an occupant’s head.
- Neck Injuries: The impact in a rollover can cause whiplash or neck fractures.
- Spinal Cord Trauma: Damage to the spinal cord is a common injury in truck accidents. Depending on the severity, it can affect a person’s sensation or mobility. Severe spinal cord trauma can lead to permanent paralysis.
- Fractures: Drivers and passengers often get knocked around in their vehicles during a rollover, causing broken bones.
- Internal Bleeding and Organ Damage: Blunt force trauma to the body can cause internal bleeding and damage to vital organs, including the kidneys, liver, spleen, etc.
- Crushing Injuries: The risk of getting crushed in a truck rollover accident is high. If a person gets trapped between two objects, they may suffer permanent damage from the excessive pressure.
- Death: Truck rollovers are some of the deadliest road accidents. Victims may die on the spot or eventually succumb to serious injuries.
Furthermore, accident victims may suffer mental health effects like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety.
How to File a Truck Rollover Accident Claim
If you were injured in a rollover accident caused by a negligent truck driver, you could recover compensation through a personal injury claim. First, you must prove the following are true:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to you. All businesses in the commercial trucking industry are legally obligated to minimize risks concerning their vehicles and operators, given the inherent dangers of trucks. Additionally, the law requires drivers to act reasonably and prudently to avoid injuring others.
- The defendant breached this duty of care. You must prove that the defendant acted in a way that puts others at risk of harm. A ‘breach of duty’ can be anywhere from speeding to failing to maintain a truck properly.
- You suffered a significant injury. To file a claim, you must show that you suffered substantial physical, emotional, or financial harm from the accident.
- The defendant’s actions directly led to your losses. Furthermore, you must prove that the defendant’s negligence directly caused your damages, e.g., medical expenses.
Who is Liable for Your Damages?
Your rollover truck accident lawyer will help determine who is responsible for your losses, which may include:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The manufacturer of defective parts
- Other motorists
- The local government
In most legal claims, trucking companies are liable for their negligent drivers’ actions, regardless of their degree of fault. Hence, you will likely have to seek compensation from the driver’s company. In turn, the company’s insurance provider will pay for your damages.
How Do You Prove Negligence?
You need substantial evidence to prove the negligence of at-fault parties, such as:
- Documentation of the accident scene
- Surveillance footage
- Police reports
- Incident reports
- Company records
- Maintenance records
- Medical records
- Photos of injuries
- Witness accounts
- Expert testimony
Gathering proof may be overwhelming, especially while recovering from your injuries. Our law firm will take over this responsibility and build a solid case from the available evidence.
What Losses Can You Recover?
Your truck accident attorney will help you file a claim against the driver, the trucking company, and other at-fault parties to recover compensation for your losses. Recoverable damages may include:
- Medical Bills: Out-of-pocket costs for hospitalization, emergency transportation, medication, surgery, therapy, and future anticipated medical expenses.
- Disability: Mobility aid expenses, rehabilitation costs, compensation for loss of future earning potential, and other related damages if you become permanently disabled from your injuries.
- Lost Wages: Compensation for salaries, wages, benefits, and business revenue lost while recovering from your injuries or caring for an injured loved one.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical and emotional injuries, such as physical pain, emotional trauma, mental anguish, etc.
- Loss of Quality of Life: Compensation for quality or enjoyment of life lost due to the accident and its effects.
- Property Damage: Replacement or repair costs for property damaged or lost in the accident, including your vehicle and personal belongings in the car.
- Wrongful Death: Funeral and burial costs, pre-death medical costs, loss of consortium, and other related damages if an injury victim dies.
- Punitive Damages: Additional damages awarded on top of compensatory damages to punish trucking companies and drivers for gross negligence.
How Do You Recover a Fair Settlement from The Insurance Company?
Recovering compensation from an insurance company can be challenging. In most personal injury claims, insurance providers want to pay as little as possible to victims to protect their bottom line. After all, insurers are businesses that want to make a profit.
An experienced lawyer from Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers will negotiate with insurance adjusters to ensure you obtain fair compensation. Our law firm has a proven track record in recovering full and fair settlements for victims, regardless of the complications that may arise.
Why You Need a Rollover Truck Accident Lawyer
Once you forward your case to our personal injury law firm, our attorneys will be responsible for the following:
- Investigating how and why the truck accident occurred
- Identifying liable parties and establishing their negligence
- Determining the extent of your injuries and other losses
- Collecting evidence to support your claim
- Filing a claim within the statute of limitations
- Negotiating a fair settlement
- Filing a civil lawsuit, if necessary
Learn More About Your Legal Options with an Experienced Rollover Truck Accident Lawyer
Commercial trucks are significantly larger than the average passenger vehicle, making them more prone to causing serious injury and fatal crashes. Furthermore, the size and weight of a truck make it easy for a driver to lose control and rollover. However, driver negligence is often to blame for this truck accident.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a rollover truck accident, the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC attorneys can help. We defend injury victims’ legal rights, ensuring they receive fair compensation through settlements or litigation.
Contact our law firm at (888) 424-5757 or use the contact form for a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.
Our truck accident lawyers handle all accepted cases on a contingency fee basis. This agreement ensures you don’t have to pay our legal fees unless we win your case.