Rollover accidents are some of the most dangerous and frightening types of vehicle crashes. These accidents occur when a vehicle tips onto its side or roof, often due to a collision, sharp turn, or other sudden direction changes. Rollover accidents can happen to any type of vehicle. Still, they are particularly common among SUVs, pickup trucks, and vans, which have a higher center of gravity than other types of vehicles.

If you suffered injuries in a rollover and believe someone else was to blame, discuss a possible claim with a car accident lawyer immediately. The right attorney can determine who might be liable for your losses and how to seek compensation.

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What Causes Rollover Accidents?

Rollover accidents can happen for a variety of reasons, but some of the most common causes include:


Tripping is one of the most common causes of rollover accidents, and it can happen in various ways. Tripping occurs when a vehicle’s tires suddenly encounter an obstacle or uneven surface, causing it to tip onto its side or roof.

Tripping can occur when a vehicle slides sideways into a curb, guardrail, or other raised surface. This can happen if the driver loses control of the vehicle due to speeding, distracted driving, or poor road conditions. When the tires strike the raised surface at an angle, it can cause the vehicle to tip over.

Another way that tripping can occur is when a vehicle runs over a large pothole, debris, or other obstruction in the road. If the obstruction is high enough and the vehicle is moving at a sufficient speed, the impact can cause the vehicle to become airborne and tip over when it lands.

Soft soil or uneven terrain can also contribute to tripping accidents. If a vehicle veers off the road onto a soft shoulder or barrier, the tires may sink into the soil and cause the vehicle to tip over. This is especially true for top-heavy vehicles like SUVs and pickup trucks, which are more prone to tipping.

Tire Blowouts

Tire blowouts are another common cause of rollover accidents, particularly for larger vehicles like SUVs, pickup trucks, and vans. A tire blowout occurs when a tire suddenly loses air pressure, often due to a puncture, tear, or other damage.

When a tire blows out, it can cause the vehicle to suddenly swerve or lose control, particularly if the blowout occurs at high speeds. This is because the loss of air pressure in the tire can cause the vehicle to pull to one side or the other, making it difficult for the driver to maintain control.

A tire blowout can be particularly dangerous for top-heavy vehicles like SUVs and pickup trucks, which often tip when they experience a sudden change in direction. When a tire blows out on one of these vehicles, it can cause the vehicle to become unstable and roll over onto its side or roof.


Speeding is a major contributing factor to all types of vehicle accidents, including rollovers. When a vehicle travels at high speeds, it becomes much more difficult for the driver to maintain control, particularly if they encounter an unexpected obstacle or change in road conditions.

Speeding is particularly dangerous in rollover accidents because it increases the likelihood of losing control of the vehicle and makes it harder to recover from a sudden change in direction. When a vehicle moves at high speeds, even a small steering correction or bump in the road can cause it to become unstable and tip over.

Alcohol or Drug Impairment

A white car partially overturned in a ditch beside a narrow, muddy country road.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is never a good idea for any driver, and it can increase the risk of all types of accidents, including rollovers. When alcohol or drugs impair a person, their ability to operate a vehicle safely is severely compromised, making it much more likely that they will lose control and cause an accident.

Alcohol and drugs can affect a driver’s judgment, reaction time, coordination, and ability to focus on the road. They can also cause drowsiness, dizziness, and blurred vision, making it much harder to maintain vehicle control, particularly at high speeds or in challenging road conditions.

For rollover accidents specifically, alcohol and drug impairment can be particularly dangerous because these substances can cause drivers to make sudden, erratic movements or to overcorrect when they encounter an obstacle or change in direction. This can cause the vehicle to become unstable and tip over, particularly if it is a top-heavy vehicle like an SUV or pickup truck.

Overloading or Improper Loading

Overloading a vehicle or improperly distributing the weight of cargo can also increase the risk of rollover accidents, particularly for larger vehicles like SUVs, pickup trucks, and vans. When a vehicle is overloaded or improperly loaded, it can become more top-heavy and unstable, making it more prone to tipping over in certain situations.

For example, loading a vehicle with too much weight on the roof or in the rear can shift the center of gravity upwards and towards the back, destabilizing the vehicle. This can make the vehicle more likely to tip over if it encounters a sharp turn, steep hill, or sudden change in direction.

Improper loading can also cause cargo to shift or move inside the vehicle, further destabilizing it and increasing the risk of a rollover accident. This is particularly true for loose or unsecured cargo, which can slide or tumble around the vehicle during a sudden stop or change in direction.

Vehicle owners should avoid placing heavy items on the vehicle’s roof or rear cargo area, as this can raise the center of gravity and make the vehicle more top-heavy. If they need to transport heavy items, they should try to place them as low and close to the vehicle’s center as possible to minimize the risk of tipping. Improper loading is a common cause of rollovers with large box trucks and semi-trucks.

Vehicle Design Defects

Sometimes, a vehicle may be more prone to rollover accidents due to design defects or manufacturing issues. This means that even if the driver is operating the vehicle safely and responsibly, the vehicle may have inherent flaws that make it more likely to tip over in certain situations.

For instance, certain SUVs are more prone to rollovers because of their narrow wheelbase and elevated center of gravity. This is because the vehicle’s weight is distributed more towards the top of the vehicle, making it more top-heavy and unstable in certain driving conditions.

Other vehicles may have design defects in their suspension systems, tires, or other components that can contribute to rollover accidents. For example, if a vehicle has a faulty tire design that is more prone to blowouts or tread separation, the risk of a rollover accident can increase if the tire fails while the vehicle is in motion.

In these cases, the vehicle manufacturer may be held liable for any injuries or damages caused by the defective vehicle. Manufacturers have a legal duty to design and produce vehicles that are safe and free from defects that can harm consumers.

Consider the possibility that you or a loved one was involved in a rollover accident potentially linked to a vehicle design flaw. In that case, speaking with an experienced car accident attorney is important to understand your legal rights and options. An attorney can investigate the cause of the accident, gather evidence to support your claim and assist in seeking compensation for your injuries and damages.

Who is Liable for a Rollover?

Liability for a rollover can be complicated, especially because these are often single-vehicle accidents. However, others can be liable for your injuries even if only one car crashes. Consider the following scenarios:

  • You suffer injuries as a passenger in a vehicle that rolls over, and the driver of the vehicle was speeding and lost control. The driver should be liable.
  • The vehicle you were driving rolled over because another driver ran you off the road and you lost control. The other driver should be liable.
  • Your vehicle rolled over because you hit debris in the road. The party responsible for leaving the debris should be liable.
  • Your vehicle rolled because of defective and unsafe design or defective tires. The manufacturer of the defective vehicle or part should be liable.

As you can see, other parties can be responsible for injuries in a rollover accident. However, holding them liable is not simple. You need an experienced car accident lawyer to evaluate and prove liability for your injuries and losses.

Types of Injuries From Rollover Accidents

Rollover accidents can cause a wide range of injuries, from minor cuts and bruises to severe head trauma and spinal cord damage. Some of the most common types of injuries caused by rollover accidents include:

Head and Brain Injuries

Head and brain injuries are some of the most serious types of injuries that can occur in a rollover accident. When a vehicle rolls over, occupants may be thrown around the cabin or even ejected from the vehicle, increasing the risk of head trauma. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) might heal with time, but many TBIs can cause lasting permanent cognitive and physical impairments.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are another common type of injury in rollover accidents. When subjected to sudden and violent movements, the spinal cord can stretch, tear, or sever, causing paralysis and other permanent disabilities. Even minor spinal cord injuries can cause chronic pain, numbness, and weakness in the affected areas of the body.

Broken Bones

Broken bones are a common injury in rollover accidents, particularly in the arms, legs, and ribs. When a vehicle rolls over, occupants can be thrown against hard surfaces or crushed by the weight of the vehicle, causing fractures and other serious injuries. In addition to immediate pain and immobilization, these injuries often require extensive medical treatment, including surgery, physical therapy, and lengthy recovery periods. Victims need to seek immediate medical attention to properly diagnose and treat any fractures to prevent long-term complications.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash and sprains, are also common in rollover accidents. These injuries occur when the body is subjected to sudden and forceful movements, causing damage to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. While soft tissue injuries may not be as immediately apparent as broken bones or head injuries, they can still cause significant pain and disability.

Lacerations and Abrasions

Lacerations and abrasions are common in rollover accidents, particularly if occupants are thrown from the vehicle or come into contact with broken glass or other sharp objects. These injuries can range from minor cuts and scrapes to deep wounds that require stitches or surgery to repair.

What to Do After a Rollover Accident

If a rollover accident has affected you or someone you love, consider these steps to safeguard your health and legal rights:

Seek Medical Attention

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After a rollover accident, the first and most important thing to do is to seek medical attention for any injuries. Even if you feel fine, getting checked out by a doctor is important. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent. Keep track of all medical bills and records related to your treatment, as these may be important evidence in a legal case.

Report the Accident

If the accident results in injury, death, or significant property damage, reporting it to the police is critical under the law and for a future legal claim. Ensure you obtain a copy of the police report, as this document can serve as important evidence in an insurance claim. The report can help establish the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident, potentially aiding in resolving any disputes with insurance providers or involved parties.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney

If a rollover accident has affected you or someone close to you, you should seek medical attention immediately and contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal options. With the right legal representation, you can recover compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages related to the accident.

If a rollover accident has affected you, don’t hesitate to request a free consultation.

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