Rollover accidents are extremely dangerous and often fatal. In fact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that rollover motor vehicle accidents account for almost a third of all highway crash fatalities. Because the roof of a car can collapse as it rolls, occupants are at risk for serious head injuries. Also, if the car lands upside down or on its side, it can be difficult for occupants to be extracted from the crushed vehicle.
Any vehicle is capable of rolling over onto its side or back, or even capable of rolling several times, but larger vehicles, like SUVs, pickup trucks, and vans roll over more often due to their higher centers of gravity. Because they are more top-heavy, they can tip over when they round curves too quickly or when their tires hit a small obstacle as they turn.
Our attorneys at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm are Michigan car accident experts, including rollover accidents, chain-reaction crashes, and wrongful death cases. For more than 40 years, we have been fighting and getting hundreds of millions for our clients injured in car accidents all over the state.
Rollover accidents in Michigan are covered by the Michigan No-Fault Law. This law is confusing and requires an injured person to go to their own car insurance company for payment of medical care and lost wages. The negligent driver is responsible for paying only pain and suffering unless the injured person’s PIP coverage is exhausted.
In most situations, an injured person can still make a claim for Michigan no-fault PIP benefits even if they do not have car insurance. An experienced Michigan car accident lawyer can help go through your situation and find out which auto insurance company will pay your claims.
If you were in a rollover car accident and want to understand your legal options, please contact the Michigan car accident lawyers at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm. Call 1-800-LEE-FREE today for a free and confidential consultation.
- In 2019, 6,358 people in the United States died from rollover crashes.
- 74% of these rollover accidents were caused by a crash (impact), and 26% of these accidents occurred without any impact.
- In 2019, rollover crashes accounted for 20% of occupant deaths in cars, 38% of occupant deaths in pickups, and 39% of occupant deaths in SUVs.
- Since 1978, driver death rates for single-vehicle rollover crashes have declined across all passenger vehicle types, particularly among larger vehicles. This is due to stronger vehicle construction (especially roofs) and improved restraint systems, like seatbelts and airbags.
- Fully 98% of all rollover crashes involve the vehicle rolling horizontally.
- Only 1-2% of rollover crashes involve a vehicle flipping end over end.
What Happens to the Occupants in a Rollover Crash:
Occupants injured in rollover crashes (ROC) are categorized into 4 groups:
- The driver and/or passengers may be injured by the collapse of the roof. If this happens, the roof can collapse inwards and crush the occupants, particularly injuring their heads and spines.
- Occupants can be injured by being completely ejected from the vehicle as it rolls.
- Occupants can be injured by being partially ejected from the vehicle as it rolls.
- Occupants can be injured by being thrown around inside of the vehicle, hitting the sides of the vehicle and also each other. This would happen typically if the driver or passengers are unrestrained but not ejected.
Types of Rollover Crashes:
- Car accidents involving another vehicle: When an impact with another vehicle causes the rollover
- A rollover occurs when the vehicle is suddenly slowed or stopped
- Flip-over: When the vehicle is rotated end over end by a ramp-like object such as a turned down guardrail
- Bounce-over: When a vehicle rebounds off a fixed object and consequently overturns
- Turn-over: This is caused by taking a corner at a high speed. Centrifugal forces from the sharp turn or vehicle rotation are resisted by normal surface friction.
- Fall-over: When the surface on which the vehicle is traversing slopes downward in the direction of movement of the vehicle’s center of gravity (COG) such that the COG becomes outboard of its wheels (this means that the center of gravity is tipped outside of the rectangle formed by the four wheels).
- Climb-over: When the vehicle climbs up and over an object (e.g., guardrail, barrier) that is high enough to lift the vehicle completely off the ground
- End-over-end: When a vehicle rolls primarily about its lateral axis after crashing with a concrete barrier.
- Speed, especially as the driver turned corners or heads into curves. In 2018, 31,003 crashes in Michigan involved speeding; these accidents accounted for 9.9 percent of all crashes in Michigan that year.
- Alcohol: A total of 30,626 people were arrested in Michigan during 2019 for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, according to the state’s annual Drunk Driving Audit report.
- Weather conditions: According to the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, 42,439 accidents in 2018 occurred in winter weather conditions. Of those, 65 involved a fatality.
- Defective suspension systems: If a suspension system malfunctions, it could cause the vehicle to lose contact with the ground when going around a curve. This can cause rollover accidents in vehicles with high centers of gravity, like SUVs.
- Tire blowouts: According to the NHTSA, there were 738 fatalities in the United States in 2017 because of tire blowouts. Any blowout can cause a driver to lose control of a vehicle, potentially leading to a rollover accident.
- Inattentive drivers: in 2019, 3142 people lost their lives in accidents caused by distracted or inattentive driving. A driver who is not paying attention to the road can easily lose control of his or her vehicle, causing a rollover accident.
- Poor road conditions: Single vehicle rollover accidents are mainly caused by the car “tripping” on something, such as a soft shoulder, curb, or pothole. Not all roads in Michigan are as well maintained as they should be.
Neck and spine injuries: A spinal cord injury usually involves swelling of the spinal cord that affects the whole body. When the swelling goes down, the patient may regain function months or years after the injury but it is rare for all functioning to be recovered. Treatment presently consists of stabilizing any broken vertebrae, maintaining the patient, preventing movement to the injured area, and reducing swelling.
Traumatic brain injuries: Traumatic brain injury, also called TBI, occurs when the brain is injured by a sudden force or trauma. The brain can be driven into the side of the skull by a sudden blow, or by the force of shaking or whiplash. When this occurs, the brain can suffer bruising and swelling, and in some cases the impact will be sufficient to tear blood vessels in the brain, causing intracranial bleeding.
Broken bones: A broken bone is a break or fracture of the continuity of the bone itself. There are various types of broken or fractured bones, including a closed (simple) fracture and an open (compound) fracture. A closed fracture is when the skin remains intact, while open fractures involve a wound caused by a fractured bone that punctures the surrounding skin.
Loss of limb: Traumatic amputations can occur in rollover accidents, especially when the occupant of the vehicle is partially ejected and is crushed by the vehicle.
PTSD: People who have been involved in severe traffic accidents like rollovers are often left with psychiatric disorders, such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or post-concussive syndrome. The NIH reports that 6-25% of children and adolescents and 39.2% of adult survivors out of the estimated 6 million vehicle accidents in the U.S. each year end up developing PTSD.
In Michigan, any basic auto insurance policy consists of three parts: personal injury protection (PIP), personal property protection (PPI), and residual liability insurance, which refers to bodily injury and property damage.
Residual bodily liability (BI) insurance protects the driver if they caused the crash. This is the insurance protection in case you injured someone in an accident. The minimum coverage generally covers up to $250,000 for a person who is hurt or killed and $500,000 per accident, although a motorist can select $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident if they select this amount of coverage and sign certain documents.
Because of the change in the Michigan no-fault law, at-fault drivers and vehicle owners can be held responsible for not only the pain and suffering caused by a rollover accident but also hospital bills and all medical costs, lost wages, and other huge expenses. As a result, it is important for all drivers to purchase as much bodily injury insurance coverage as they can afford.
PIP (Personal Injury Protection) Insurance:
Under Michigan law, a motorist is responsible for insuring their own vehicle. When they purchase insurance, they must also purchase personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This insurance is also known as no-fault insurance. In basic terms, PIP coverage covers the medical expenses that arise out of a truck or car accident.
For decades, all Michigan insurance policies carried unlimited PIP coverage. However, beginning in 2020 car owners could select how much PIP coverage they wanted, depending on eligibility requirements. For most drivers, the minimum amount of PIP coverage that must be purchased is $250,000. Besides medical coverage, PIP coverage also includes the payment of lost wages and household replacement services for up to 3 years.
Our state’s unusual no-fault system is often confusing for people who have never made a claim. When you add this to the stress and trauma of a car accident, things can spiral out of control very quickly.
PPI pays up to $1 million in damage a vehicle causes to another person’s property, including buildings and surroundings like fences and landscaping. It also covers damage to parked vehicles. It does not cover car damage from a vehicle collision.
Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage:
Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage pays for pain and suffering and sometimes outstanding medical bills when an accident is caused by an uninsured driver. This coverage is not mandatory. However, because so many Michigan drivers are uninsured – with some areas having an uninsured rate above 35% – UM coverage is a very smart thing to purchase.
Uninsured motorist coverage (UIM) pays for pain and suffering and other things caused by an underinsured at-fault driver. For example, a person is injured in a rollover accident in Detroit and the negligent driver only had $50,000 minimum policy. But the injured person had their own insurance policy and carried $250,000 in UIM coverage. If the injury is worth $250,000, then the injured person can obtain the $50,000 policy from the negligent driver’s insurance company, and then obtain $200,000 ($250,000 – $50,000 already received) from their own insurance company.
When someone is killed in a car accident, surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The compensation received from a wrongful death suit can include costs for funeral and burial, medical bills, lost wages, loss of companionship for the survivors, as well as pain and suffering.
Regardless of the severity of your injuries, you are entitled to pursue the compensation that you are entitled to under the law. After the accident, it is important to seek prompt medical treatment for all injuries. Doing so will also establish a record of medical treatment for insurance claims.
When another driver was at fault, our legal team can help you pursue a liability claim against the responsible party for recovery for your excess economic damages and for ongoing pain and suffering.
At the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, we can also ensure you have enough money for future medical treatment and expenses through the use of a life care plan. This may be especially important after a dangerous rollover accident. Our dedicated team of Michigan car crash lawyers will work hard to collect evidence to build your car accident case, represent you in negotiations with the other driver’s insurance carrier and attorney. We fight to reach a big settlement for you or to seek a favorable verdict in court if necessary.
There is only a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit following a rollover accident in Michigan. This is called the statute of limitations. In most situations, for a negligence case, a person has 3 years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit in court against the proper defendants. If a lawsuit is not filed within that time, the injured person, or plaintiff, forever loses his or her right to obtain monetary compensation for their injuries.
It is important to consult with a Michigan car accident attorney following a crash so you can get your questions answered and protect your rights.
The Michigan Car Accident Lawyers at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm Can Help
Rollover accidents are frightening. Often, they can be life-changing incidents. This is a situation where you need a skilled, experienced lawyer. It could be a turning point in your life where you’ll regret it later if you don’t handle it correctly and seek the maximum compensation possible.
The Lee Steinberg Law Firm has resolved thousands of car and truck injury cases. Vehicle safety has advanced, but the primary cause of car accidents, including the dangerous rollover collision, is still operator error. Our expert Michigan rollover accident attorneys are familiar with the causes of these types of accidents and the insurance companies frequently involved.
Our job is to maximize your recovery in every circumstance. We will do what it takes to get your auto accident case resolved via settlement, mediation, or trial for the maximum amount allowed under Michigan law.
Talk to the Lee Steinberg Law Firm about obtaining Michigan no-fault benefits, getting help filing a car accident claim, and seeking the full compensation you deserve. No matter how difficult your case is, we’ll work aggressively to get the best possible result.
Please call Lee Free at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form.
And remember, you pay nothing until we settle your case.