Seattle Rollover Accident Attorneys
Although rollover car accidents are not very common — they occur in only about 2% of passenger car, SUV, pickup, and van crashes — they are among the deadliest types of accidents, accounting for about one-third (35%) of all car accident fatalities. Additionally:
- In most fatal rollover crashes, the victim(s) was/were not wearing safety belts.
- In about half of all cases, rollover car accidents are the result of intoxicated driving, and can occur even when blood-alcohol content is low.
Despite the fact that most rollover accidents are single-vehicle crashes, the driver is not always at fault.
If you have been involved in a rollover car accident in Seattle or Washington State, the experienced Seattle rollover accident attorneys of The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee can help you pursue a product liability lawsuit for defective vehicle or tire design, or even a premises liability lawsuit against an individual or municipality responsible for maintaining the road where the crash occurred.
Before pursuing legal action, however, you should understand the medical and legal issues that can affect liability and compensation for a rollover accident.
Factors That Can Lead to a Rollover Accident
Most rollover car accidents (85%) are single-vehicle crashes and fall into two types of crashes:
- Tripped crashes are caused by some external factor such as when a car drives over a curb or collides with another vehicle.
- Untripped crashes are caused when the vehicle is somehow destabilized, such as when a driver makes too sharp a turn and the car begins to slide sideways.
Since most rollover accidents are single-vehicle crashes, it is often assumed that the driver is at fault, whether due to negligence or simply being unable to control the vehicle due to external conditions (such as bad weather). However, there are many cases where the driver is not at fault and some other cause is to blame. For instance:
- There may be some flaw in the design of the vehicle or some individual parts of the vehicle, such as defective tires.
- Dangerous roadways can be caused by bad weather (slippery pavement, lack of visibility) or even poor road maintenance by whoever is responsible for maintaining the roads (whether a private owner or municipality).
- Even if there are no flaws, per se, in the design of the vehicle, certain types of vehicles (particularly SUVs and vans) are more highly susceptible to rollover crashes because they have more weight, higher center of mass, narrowness of axle track, steering sensitivity, etc.
- In one out of five cases, rollover crashes are caused when one vehicle is struck by another vehicle.
Many cities will post special road signs to warn drivers when there are dangerous curves ahead, as these “critical slopes” or uneven terrain are often the cause of a car rollover. In the State of Washington, where the natural environment is such a major lifestyle factor, drivers should beware of overloading their vehicles as the excess weight can cause it to flip over, especially on rural roads that are undivided or don’t have barriers.
Common Injuries In a Rollover Accident
Not surprisingly, rollover crashes are extremely dangerous and are second only to head-on collisions when it comes to the severity of injuries an individual may suffer. The injuries sustained in a rollover accident are affected by the type of vehicle, the speed at the time of the crash, and other factors such as how heavily the car is loaded with weight.
Some common injuries in rollover accidents include:
- Injuries to head, neck, thorax, abdomen, upper and lower limbs
- Brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Cuts, scrapes, or bruises
- Broken bones
- Long and short-term injuries
- Impaired speech, vision, or memory
- Partial or total loss of vision or hearing
- Loss of teeth and other dental injuries
- Amputation to arms or legs
- Chronic back pain
- Damage to nerves, veins, or organs
- Torn ligaments
- Soft tissue injuries such as pulled muscles and tendons
- Slipped and herniated discs
- Skull fracture
- Cuts and lacerations to the head
Because speed is usually a major factor in rollover crashes, the results are often devastating. Three out of four rollover accidents take place when the speed limit is 55 mph or higher. Certain types of vehicles such as convertibles may offer little protection to passengers when a car rolls over. In a convertible, the windshield frame may be the only thing protecting passengers once the car rolls over, which means direct damage to the head is likely to occur.
In many cases, passengers are not wearing safety belts and this can make the injuries sustained even more damaging. The vast majority of rollover accidents occur during routine driving maneuvers such as when the vehicle is driving straight ahead or negotiating a curve. This means that even when speed is not a factor, the lack of a safety belt in normal driving conditions can make a rollover accident even worse. Drivers rarely expect to be involved in a rollover crash.
Regardless of how a rollover accident occurred, drivers should never assume that they were at fault because there may be multiple factors involved. By contacting the Seattle rollover car accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee as soon as an accident occurs, you can explore all factors and determine what happened, who is responsible, and what compensation you may be entitled to in Washington State.
Laws in Washington That Can Affect Your Claim
Seattle is a busy city and car accidents are, unfortunately, a common occurrence throughout Washington State. A crash occurs every 4.5 minutes in Washington State, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 46.52.030 requires a standard Police Traffic Collision Report (PTCR) when an injury or death occurs to any person or there is damage to the property of any person to an apparent extent of one thousand dollars or more.
The State of Washington is classified as an at-fault state in determining compensation for victim damages. It is also a comparative negligence state, meaning that fault for a crash can be shared and financial compensation is possible even for an at-fault party. It is necessary to first determine who is at fault before pursuing compensation, and there may be multiple parties involved including the drivers, vehicle manufacturer, or the state itself for improper road maintenance.
How a Lawyer Can Help Your Case
Despite the vast majority of rollover accidents being single-vehicle crashes, these are far from open and shut cases. There is little time to think during any crash, especially a rollover accident, and there may be factors that the driver could hardly be aware of at the time of the accident. The Washington State rollover accident lawyers of The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee can help accident victims step back and examine all the factors involved, including:
- Who was at fault? As mentioned above, in Washington State there may be multiple parties at fault and compensation can be collected even for at-fault parties. It is important to seek a lawyer who can determine whether there was a faulty design in the manufacturing of the vehicle or other factors, such as poor roadway conditions, that can be attributed to the responsibility of the municipal authorities. In cases of multi-vehicle crashes, a lawsuit may be necessary to hold the other driver(s) responsible.
- If a rollover crash was caused by a particular type of vehicle, there may be other drivers who have had similar crashes and may require a more involved product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. Likewise, if the issue was poor road maintenance, there may be more complex factors involved beyond the crash itself.
Compensation You Can Recover
As with any vehicular accident claim, damages and compensation are not limited to the property damages or physical injuries sustained during the crash. Other forms of compensation can include:
- Emotional or psychological damages
- Recovery for lost wages if the passengers are unable to return to work
- Medical bills or long-term medical treatment
- Cost of surgery
Particularly with rollover accidents, because fatalities are so common, compensation can often include funeral costs and even monetary support for the surviving spouses, partners, or other family members.
Contact the Dedicated Rollover Accident Attorneys of The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee Today
Rollover accidents are not common, but when they do occur the consequences can be devastating and can even cause long-term damage – or even death. Given the severity of these accidents, it is important to contact a lawyer immediately if you or a loved one has been involved in a rollover crash in the Seattle metro area or elsewhere in Washington State. Drivers should not assume that they are responsible, even when there are no obvious signs that another party is at fault.
An experienced car accident attorney can examine all the factors, help you collect vital evidence, and if necessary, pursue legal action against other drivers, vehicle manufacturers, municipal authorities or other parties who may be partly or totally at fault.
Contact The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee today to discuss the specifics of your crash. We will fight to help you secure the compensation that is rightfully owed to you while holding others responsible so these types of crashes don’t happen to other drivers.
Contact The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee right now at (206) 899-5415 for a FREE case evaluation.