Rollover Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rollovers rank as one the most dangerous types of vehicle crashes. Over 280,000 vehicles are involved in rollovers each year and more than 10,000 people die from rollover-related injuries. Rollover crashes account for 33% of all fatal motor vehicle crashes in the U.S.

Rollover Accident Causes

High center of gravity of vehicle

While having a high center of gravity isn’t necessarily the cause of a rollover,  vehicles with a high center of gravity are twice as likely to be involved in a rollover than regular passenger vehicles.  Vehicle with a high center of gravity tend to be less stable in fast or sharp turns, causing them to tip or rollover.  SUVs, minivans, and trucks are the vehicles most likely to be involved in rollovers due to their higher center of gravity.

Panicky steering

Your SUV, minivan or truck is more likely to rollover if you respond to a driving emergency by over-correcting your steering, says the NHTSA.  For example, if one of your tires accidentally leaves the road and you yank on your steering wheel in a panic, your vehicle is more likely to rollover due to your over-correction.

Poorly maintained tires

If your vehicle has low tire pressure or the tires have worn treads, you will have less control over your vehicle. Tires in poor condition can cause your SUV, minivan or truck to slide sideways on slick or wet roads, increasing the risk of it rolling over.


SUVs, minivans and trucks tend to be loaded more heavily than regular passenger vehicles, and often have a top rack also loaded with heavy equipment.  Such loading makes the vehicle more top-heavy and thus more prone to rollovers.

How to reduce the risk of rollover accident and injuries

  • Chose a vehicle with Electric Stability Control and side-impact head airbags. Electric Stability Control is a feature that helps drivers keep control of their vehicle by keeping the vehicle headed in the direction the driver intended, even under extreme  or panicky steering conditions. Side-impact head airbags inflate in the event the vehicle does rollover, protecting the occupants’ heads from striking the interior of the vehicle.
  • Driver cautiously on rural roads.  The NHTSA reports that 75% of all rollover accidents occur on rural roads. Rural roads are more likely to be flanked by a ditch or an embankment, which can cause the vehicle to rollover.
  • Wear your seatbelt. Drivers and passengers are 75% less likely to die in a rollover if wearing a safety belt.
  • Drive within the speed limit.  Speed is a factor in the vast majority of rollover accidents.  Always drive within the speed limit or at the appropriate speed for weather conditions to reduce your risk of an SUV, minivan or truck rollover.

Contact an accident attorney if in rollover accident

Because 85% of rollover accidents are single-car crashes, the accident may seem like a random event. But someone else’s negligence could have contributed to or caused the accident and your injuries. For example:

  • you may have swerved and rolled-over to avoid a large piece of debris on the road fell from a commercial truck;
  • upon rolling over, your vehicle’s roof may have crushed in, causing you serious head injuries
  • your seat belt came unbuckled during the crash, causing you serious injuries.

The injuries sustained in these cases could be attributable to someone else, such as the commercial truck that dropped the debris or your vehicle’s manufacturer. If so, those parties might be responsible for compensating you for your loss.

An experienced California SUV rollover accident attorney can conduct an exhaustive investigation of your accident, asking the right questions and interviewing the best witnesses to determine the true cause of the accident and the person or entity responsible. A successful claim could mean being compensated for your medical bills and expenses, lost wages, emotional trauma, and pain and suffering.

The California SUV rollover accident attorneys at the Appel Law Firm LLP are dedicated to helping San Francisco Bay Area residents receive compensation for injuries and wrongful deaths arising from SUV rollover accidents.