How Many Baltimore Injury Lawyers Say a Rollover is the Worst Car Accident ?
Hearing of a Baltimore City rollover car accident creates a certain fear and apprehension in the listener. These accidents happen when a vehicle flips onto its side or roof. The evidence shows that rollovers are more likely to occur with taller vehicles such as SUVs and trucks. Experienced Baltimore injury and accident lawyers have seen they can result in serious injuries due to the potential for the vehicle to crush or roll over occupants. As with any Baltimore car accident, there are indetificable recurring factors that can make a car accident worse or more likely. Some of these considerations also come into play when looking specifically at the legal ramifications surroundings a roll-over accident.
Distracted Driving: When drivers are distracted by activities such as texting, talking on the phone, or adjusting the radio, they can inadvertently drift into the opposing lane and cause a roll-over collision. Substantive Maryland law prohibits some, but not all, of the activity, frequently cited as distracting.
Impaired Driving: Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs may have impaired judgment and coordination, increasing the likelihood of unsafe maneuvers and increasing the potential of rollover. Common statutes that are implicated in Baltimore accidents involving allegations of drunk driving or drugged driving include:
21-902. Driving while under the influence of alcohol, while under the influence of alcohol per se, while impaired by alcohol, or while impaired by a drug, a combination of drugs, a combination of one or more drugs and alcohol, or while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance.
Fatigue: Falling asleep at the wheel or driving while drowsy can cause a driver to veer or swerve unexpectedly, and such moves can create an imbalance in the vehicle.
Speeding: Excessive speed reduces the time a driver has to react to unexpected situations, making it more difficult to correct.
Poor Weather Conditions: Rain, snow, fog, and other adverse weather conditions can make it challenging for drivers to maintain proper control of their vehicles, potentially leading to slick roads, slides, and collisions making the potential for rollover higher.
Case study. Jane is driving a late-model sedan and has just returned from dropping her children off at school. Jane was in high school at the time then the danger of SUVs and other top-heavy related vehicles “rolling over” first came to the forefront, and saw much litigation in Baltimore and elsewhere. She understands that many changes have been made in the design and performance of vehicles, but the fear of being involved in a rollover accident has never lessened for her and never left her. Indeed, it is for this reason that Jane decided to purchase a four-door sedan. She thoroughly researched the sedan and was satisfied at the risk of rollover in such a vehicle is very low. After dropping her children off at school, Jane is involved in an automobile accident. The defendant driver was making a right-hand turn into the lane of traffic opposite of Jane and headed in the opposite direction of Jane. The defendant misjudged the turning radius and struck Jane’s car. The forces of the impact, or Janes’s attempt to avoid the striking vehicle, forced Janes’s vehicle to the right. It hit an adjacent curb at significant speed, causing your vehicle to flip. Jane’s vehicle rolled twice and skidded down the remainder of the roadway for approximately 150 feet before coming to arrest against another guard rail. This hypothetical, while not perhaps the typical rollover in terms of mechanics, is also certainly far from the single-car rollover often attributable to driver error. The physical forces on Jane‘s body are nevertheless identical. She sustains injuries to her neck, and both shoulders and she sustains lacerations to her face and upper body. Luckily, the injuries prove not to be life-threatening, but Jane is forced to miss several months of employment in her profession as a school principal. She files a claim with the defendant’s insurance company that is ultimately denied. The insurance company takes the position that Jane caused or contributed to the accident by swerving in an unreasonable fashion, causing contact with the curb, and thus causing the rollover. Jane hired an experienced Baltimore personal injury trial lawyer who had taken hundreds of personal injury cases to trial. In this hypothetical, the court rules as a matter of law and motion for summary judgment that Jane was not contributory negligent under the circumstances. The parties then agree to settle the case for the applicable policy limit. Unfortunately in this scenario, the defendant had only the “Maryland minimum” insurance of $30,000. As this was blatantly insufficient to cover the full extent of Jane’s losses, she had to resort to her underinsured motorist coverage. Fortunately, for Jane, she had purchased sufficient coverage to make her haw for each of her losses and was able to resolve the rest of the claim with her own underinsured carrier.
A rollover is considered a serious car accident due to several reasons:
Vehicle Design: Cars are primarily designed to handle front and rear impacts better than they handle rollovers. Even though modern vehicles come equipped with a host of safety features, including reinforced roofs, rollovers can still cause severe damage to the car and its occupants.
Kinetic Energy: The energy involved in causing a vehicle to overturn can be substantial. This force can lead to severe injuries to the vehicle’s occupants.
Multiple Impacts: During a rollover, a car doesn’t just experience a single impact. It might hit the ground or other structures multiple times, potentially from different angles. Each impact can cause further injury to the passengers inside.
Ejection: Occupants may be ejected from the vehicle if they aren’t wearing seatbelts. Being thrown from a vehicle can result in fatal injuries.
Crush Injuries: The roof of a car is not as sturdy as the front or back. In a rollover, there’s a risk that the roof could collapse, potentially causing crush injuries to the occupants.
Spinal and Neck Injuries: The violent and unpredictable movements of a rollover can cause serious neck and spinal injuries due to the forces exerted on the occupants.\
Higher Fatality Rate: Statistics have shown that rollovers, even though they occur less frequently than other types of crashes, have a higher fatality rate. This is due to the combination of the factors mentioned above.
Secondary Accidents: After a rollover, a car might end up in the path of oncoming traffic, leading to secondary collisions which can further increase the risk of injury or death.
Complexity in Rescue Operations: It might not seem obvious to the uninitiated, but Baltimore City EMTS and Fire rescue personnel well know that extracting victims from a roll-over vehicle can be more challenging than from a car that has remained upright. This can delay medical attention to those who need it.
Given these reasons, it’s vital for drivers to take precautions to avoid situations that might result in a rollover, such as avoiding sudden maneuvers, reducing speed in appropriate conditions, and ensuring the vehicle is not overloaded. Proper tire maintenance and understanding a vehicle’s center of gravity can also help in preventing rollovers.