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July 20, 2015

Liability Issues in Rollover Accidents


There are many different types of possible auto collisions, including rear-end accidents, head-on collisions, side swipes, among others. One type of accident that has a particularly significant chance to cause severe or even fatal injuries is a rollover accident.[1] Rollover accidents happen when something triggers a car or truck to roll onto its side, onto its roof, or even roll several times. When a rollover occurs, all occupants of the vehicle may experience many different points of impact and risk being ejected from the vehicle. Despite side airbags, seatbelts, and other safety features, victims of rollover accidents often suffer severe injuries.

Victims of rollover accidents may have the right to obtain substantial financial recovery from any responsible parties. However, determining liability in a rollover accident can be challenging. This is because it is common for more than one party to contribute to a rollover accident. In such cases, it can be complicated to identify all of the possibly negligent parties and file your legal claims accordingly. It is important to have an experienced Philadelphia auto accident attorney on your side who has the knowledge and resources to investigate your accident and file all of the appropriate claims.

Negligent drivers

Some rollover accidents occur because a driver was negligent. If you are a passenger in a vehicle, the driver could take a turn too fast or engage in distracted driving, which can lead to a rollover accident. Additionally, rollovers commonly occur because another driver was not watching and runs your vehicle off the road or runs into the side of your car. Semi-trucks can also roll over and cause significant damage to any cars that may be driving nearby. Overcorrecting, oversteering, and swerving can all result in a vehicle tumbling and rolling. Any drivers that contributed to your rollover crash may be held liable for your losses.

Road hazards

Often, single-car rollovers occur because of certain triggers on the road. Such triggers can include hitting potholes or uneven pavement, having speed limits set too high on dangerous curves, and similar dangerous conditions on the roads. Government entities that are responsible for keeping the roads safe and well-maintained can make mistakes and these governments should be held responsible for their negligent actions or omissions that resulted in rollover accidents, property damage, and injury. 

Products liability claims

Another common cause of rollover accidents is vehicle defects. Tire blowouts or other malfunctions can cause a driver to lose control of their car and lead the vehicle to rollover. Additionally, some cars that are dangerously designed may have an increased chance of rolling over if involved in a collision. Trucks, minivans, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), and other vehicles with a particularly high center of gravity have an especially high risk of rolling over and causing serious injury. Such vehicles should always have adequate roll bars or roll cages to keep the roof of the vehicle from collapsing should a rollover accident occur. If these narrow and tall vehicles do not have such safety features, victims may suffer more serious injuries that they would have under other circumstances. Additionally, if side airbags fail to deploy due to a defect, a vehicle occupant can suffer significantly more serious injuries than they perhaps would have if the airbags worked as intended. 

Shared fault in Pennsylvania

In many situations, a rollover accident is the fault of more than one party. For example, if another driver was distracted and runs you off the road and you then hit a pothole that causes your vehicle to rollover, both the negligent driver and the entity responsible for road maintenance may share liability in your accident. Under Pennsylvania’s Fair Share Act, each party will only be responsible for their portion of the damages based on their portion of liability. For example, if another driver was 50 percent responsible for the damage and the other 50 percent of the liability lies with the government, you will have to bring claims against both parties in order to fully recover. Additionally, Pennsylvania law allows you to recover even if you were also partially at fault in causing the rollover accident. If you were not paying attention and then failed to slow down before you encountered a dangerous road condition, you can still recover for a portion of your losses as long as you were less than 50 percent at fault. Shared fault laws are complex in our state, so you should always discuss your rollover accident case with an experienced auto accident attorney at the Levin Firm as soon as possible.



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