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Rollover accidents are among the most dangerous types of vehicular accidents. These crashes can lead to severe injuries, often accompanied by a host of financial, physical, and emotional challenges. Thousands of Californians fall victim to the life-altering consequences of car rollover accidents every year.
In 2019 alone, California witnessed 16,504 rollover crashes, resulting in 23,036 injuries and 382 fatalities. This devastating reality is a stark reminder of the urgent need for awareness and legal support for those affected by traffic accidents.
A rollover car accident can have a devastating financial impact. Medical expenses, rehab costs, and lost wages can leave victims and families in dire straits. Long-term economic consequences can also arise from chronic pain or permanent disability. Physically, injuries range from broken bones to traumatic brain injuries and paralysis. Emotional tolls can be just as severe, with survivors experiencing anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
What’s a Rollover Car Accident?
A rollover accident occurs when a vehicle flips onto its side or roof during a crash. These accidents can be quite serious, often resulting in severe injuries or fatalities. Rollover car accidents can happen due to high speeds, abrupt turns, collisions with other vehicles, or road hazards.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that rollover crashes remain a major cause of fatalities on American highways, with 7,600 deaths and 200,000 injuries occurring yearly in the US due to these accidents.
Example of a Rollover Accident
Imagine a scenario where a driver is traveling along Shoreline Drive and takes a sharp turn at excessive speed. The centrifugal force generated during the turn causes the vehicle to lose balance, leading to a rollover. This example demonstrates how speed, sharp turns, and driver error can contribute to a rollover car accident.
Which Vehicles Are More Prone to Rollovers?
Certain types of vehicles have a higher propensity for rollover accidents. SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicles), pickup trucks, and vans are most susceptible due to their higher center of gravity. These vehicles have a narrower track width and a taller profile, making them more prone to tipping over during a collision or sudden maneuver.
What Makes Rollover Car Accidents Deadly?
Rollover accidents have a unique combination of factors contributing to their high fatality rates. One critical element is the potential for roof crush. When a vehicle overturns, the roof’s structural integrity may be compromised, leading to the roof’s collapse onto the occupants. This can result in severe head and neck injuries or even death.
Another factor is the ejection risk. Rollover accidents can cause occupants to be thrown out of the vehicle through broken windows or doors, significantly increasing the chances of fatal injuries. Even when occupants remain inside the car, they are still at risk of being struck by loose objects or colliding with the vehicle’s interior surfaces during the rollover, leading to disastrous consequences.
Additionally, the forces experienced during a rollover can cause multiple impacts as the vehicle rolls and tumbles, and each impact exposes occupants to head, neck, spinal, and internal injuries. The violent nature of these accidents often leaves victims with complex medical needs and a long road to recovery.
Leading Causes of Rollover Accidents in Long Beach
Rollover car accidents can occur when we least expect them, and their consequences can be truly catastrophic. Here are the frequent factors contributing to rollover car accidents:
- Vehicle Design and Stability: Certain vehicles, such as SUVs, vans, and trucks, have a higher center of gravity, making them more susceptible to rollovers, especially during sharp turns or when a driver overcorrects. Factors such as inadequate suspension, tire failure, or faulty brakes can also contribute to the instability of a vehicle, increasing the likelihood of a rollover.
- Speeding and Reckless Driving: When drivers travel at high speeds, they have less control over their vehicle, especially when navigating curves or unexpected obstacles. Additionally, abrupt maneuvers, aggressive lane changes, and tailgating can all destabilize a car, causing it to roll over.
- Distracted Driving: Distractions such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, or adjusting in-car technologies divert a driver’s attention from the road, reducing their ability to react promptly to potential hazards and increasing the chances of losing control and rolling over.
- Intoxication and Drug Impairment: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal and a grave risk to everyone on the road. Impaired drivers have compromised judgment, decreased coordination, and slower reaction times, all of which can lead to rollover car accidents. Alcohol and drug impairment also impair a driver’s ability to properly assess road conditions and maintain control over their vehicle, making them more vulnerable to rollovers.
- Tire Blowouts and Defects: Defective tires, worn treads, underinflated or overinflated tires, and inadequate maintenance can all contribute to tire blowouts. When a tire suddenly bursts, the driver’s ability to maintain control can be compromised, leading to a rollover car accident.
- Environmental Factors: Long Beach’s unique geographical location and weather patterns can contribute to rollover accidents. Strong crosswinds, particularly on freeways and bridges, can destabilize a vehicle, making it susceptible to rolling over. Additionally, slick roads caused by rain, oil spills, or inadequate maintenance can reduce tire traction, making it easier for a driver to lose control and rollover.
Different Types of Rollover Accident Injuries
Rollover accidents can be frightening, life-altering events, causing significant harm to drivers and passengers alike. Understanding the common types of rollover accidents can help raise awareness and promote road safety.
Rollover accidents tend to cause these common car accident injuries:
Head and Brain Injuries
When a vehicle abruptly rolls over or collides with other objects during the rollover, occupants may strike their heads against the windows, doors, or other hard surfaces within the vehicle. This impact can lead to concussions, skull fractures, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). These injuries can have debilitating effects, ranging from memory loss and cognitive difficulties to personality changes and permanent disabilities.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Rollover car accidents also pose a significant risk for spinal cord injuries, which can have life-altering consequences. The violent impact of these accidents can cause the spine to twist, bend, or compress unnaturally, resulting in fractures, dislocations, or even complete severance of the spinal cord.
Car accident victims may face varying degrees of paralysis, loss of sensation, and a lower quality of life depending on the seriousness and location of the injury. Rehabilitation and long-term medical care are often necessary for individuals with spinal cord injuries.
Fractures and Orthopedic Injuries
The forceful nature of rollover accidents can subject the body to tremendous pressure, often resulting in bone fractures and musculoskeletal injuries. During these incidents, arms, legs, ribs, and pelvis bones are particularly vulnerable.
The impact of the rollover may cause bones to break, shatter, or dislocate, leading to excruciating pain, limited mobility, and potential complications such as nerve damage or infections. Fractures and orthopedic injuries can require extensive medical interventions, including surgeries, physical therapy, and prolonged rehabilitation.
Internal Organ Damage
Rollover car accidents can also cause significant internal injuries that may not be immediately apparent. The violent motion of the vehicle can subject internal organs to extreme forces, leading to bleeding, bruising, lacerations, and even organ rupture.
Injuries to vital organs such as the heart, lungs, liver, or spleen can be life-threatening and require prompt medical care. Internal injuries can be challenging to diagnose and may manifest symptoms hours or even days after the accident, making it crucial for car accident victims to seek medical evaluation as soon as possible.
How to Prevent Rollover Car Accidents
Given the serious risk of devastating injuries in rollover accidents, taking preventive measures to minimize their occurrence is essential. Here are a few strategies:
Slow down and drive responsibly:
- Adhere to speed limits
- Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles
- Avoid aggressive driving behaviors to significantly reduce the risk of rollover accidents
Maintain vehicle stability:
- Regularly check tire pressure
- Perform proper maintenance
- Ensure the suspension and steering systems are in good working condition
Avoid overloading and secure cargo:
- Properly distribute weight within the vehicle
- Secure any loads to prevent shifts that may destabilize the car during sudden maneuvers
Wear seat belts:
- Always buckle up
- Ensure that all occupants are wearing their seatbelts
Seat belts can help keep individuals inside the vehicle, reducing the risk of ejection and minimizing the severity of injuries.
Proving Negligence in Rollover Car Accidents in Long Beach
Negligence is a legal concept that forms the foundation of personal injury law. It refers to the failure of an individual or entity to exercise reasonable care, thereby causing harm or injury to another person. In simpler terms, negligence occurs when someone fails to take the necessary precautions that a reasonable person would have taken in a similar situation.
What Is California’s Comparative Negligence Law?
California is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning multiple parties may be liable for the accident or injury based on their percentage of fault.
Comparative negligence may come into play in a rollover accident when both parties involved share some fault. For instance, let’s consider a scenario where Driver A exceeds the speed limit on the 710 Freeway. At the same time, the other driver (Driver B) has failed to properly maintain their vehicle’s tire pressure, resulting in a blowout.
Due to the combination of Driver A’s excessive speed and Driver B’s failure to maintain their tires, the accident occurs. In this case, a comparative negligence analysis may allocate a percentage of fault to each driver, affecting the amount of compensation they may be eligible to receive.
Imagine the court determines that Driver A is 70 percent at fault for speeding, and Driver B is 30 percent at fault. If Driver A has total damages of $10,000, their award would be reduced by 70 percent to reflect their portion of the responsibility, resulting in a final award of $3,000.
What Are the Elements of Negligence?
These are the four main elements that must be proven in any personal injury lawsuit, to establish with evidence that the defendant or defendants were negligent and therefore liable for the plaintiff’s damages.
- Duty of Care – You must show that the defendant was legally obligated to act reasonably and prudently to avoid causing harm, such as adhering to traffic laws. All motorists owe a duty of care to other drivers on the road.
- Breach of Duty – The defendant’s actions show that the duty of care was violated, or breached, resulting in an accident. This violation could involve speeding or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Causation – You must be able to show that the accident was the direct cause of your injuries.
- Damages – The plaintiff must demonstrate that they suffered actual harm or damages due to the defendant’s negligence. These damages can include physical injuries, medical costs, pain and suffering, loss of income, and other related losses.
What Compensation Can Be Awarded in Long Beach Rollover Accidents?
Compensation is the financial recovery awarded to individuals who have suffered harm, injuries, or losses due to someone else’s negligence. It aims to help rollover accident victims restore their lives, alleviate financial burdens, and provide a sense of justice.
Rollover accidents often lead to serious injuries, emotional trauma, and financial hardships, making compensation crucial to being able to move on from the incident.
What Is the Difference Between Economic and Non-Economic Damages?
In Long Beach car accident cases, compensation has two main categories: economic and non-economic damages. Monetary damages refer to tangible, quantifiable losses that have a direct financial impact on the victim. On the other hand, non-economic damages pertain to intangible losses that are more subjective and difficult to assign a specific monetary value to.
More about Economic Damages
Economic damages in a rollover car accident case can include:
- Medical Bills: Compensation for past, present, and future medical expenses, including hospital stays, surgeries, medication, rehabilitation, and therapy
- Lost Wages: Reimbursement for the income and benefits lost due to the accident, including the inability to work during recovery and lost future wages as well
- Property Damage: Reimbursement for repairing or replacing the damaged vehicle, including any personal belongings inside the car that were also affected
- Rehabilitation Costs: Coverage for physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other rehabilitative services required for recovery
- Additional Expenses: Financial recovery for out-of-pocket expenditures directly resulting from the accident, such as costs related to transportation to medical appointments, or modifications made to the home to accommodate disabilities
Non-economic damages, sometimes referred to as general damages, are more subjective and include:
- Pain and Suffering: Damages awarded to address bodily pain, discomfort, and emotional turmoil resulting from the rollover accident
- Emotional Distress: Recovery from psychological effects such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) caused by the accident
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Compensation for the loss of ability to participate in activities or hobbies that were once enjoyed due to injuries sustained in the accident
- Loss of Consortium: Damages granted to offset the absence of companionship, support, and intimacy endured by the victim’s spouse or family members
In some personal injury cases where the defendant’s actions are considered reckless or intentional, punitive damages may be awarded. Unlike compensatory damages that aim to restore the victim, punitive damages are specifically to penalize the defendant, and discourage similar conduct in the future. Punitive damages are seldom awarded, and are generally reserved for cases where the defendant’s conduct is deemed exceptionally reckless or deliberate.
The Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations imposes a time limit on initiating a legal claim. It sets a deadline for individuals to initiate a lawsuit after they have experienced harm or injury. The statute of limitations aims to guarantee personal injury claims are initiated within a reasonable period, fostering fairness and efficiency in legal proceedings.
What’s the Filing Deadline in California?
California’s filing deadline for personal injury cases, including those related to rollover car accidents, is governed by the statute of limitations. In most personal injury cases, including those involving bodily injury or property damage, the general statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident or discovery of the injury.
Why Does California Have a Filing Deadline?
The state imposes a filing deadline to maintain the integrity of the legal system and protect the interests of all parties involved. By setting a specific timeframe for filing a lawsuit, the state aims to ensure that personal injury claims are based on current evidence and that witnesses are available to testify. This time restraint promotes fairness and prevents undue delays that could compromise the accuracy of the legal proceedings.
What Are the Consequences of Not Filing on Time?
If the statute of limitations expires, the right to pursue legal action is lost, and the court will likely dismiss the case. This will prevent the injured party from pursuing maximum compensation for their losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Delaying the legal process can result in losing critical evidence, fading memories of witnesses, or changes in the accident scene. These factors can undermine the strength of the car accident claim and make it more challenging to establish liability and prove the extent of the damages suffered.
Even if you have what you think is plenty of time before your statute of limitations expires, you should reach out to a Long Beach rollover accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident to ensure there is ample time to investigate and build your case.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal action that seeks to hold a person or entity responsible for the death of an individual caused by negligent, reckless, or intentional acts. It is a civil claim filed by the surviving family members or representatives of the deceased, seeking compensation for the losses and damages they have suffered due to the untimely death of their loved one.
A wrongful death lawsuit serves two primary purposes: financial support for the survivors as well as holding the responsible party accountable for their actions. It allows the family to seek compensation for the financial, emotional, and other losses resulting from losing their loved one.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit for a Rollover Car Accident?
In the case of a rollover car accident, only certain family members or other parties associated with the deceased person have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These are typically:
There are specific laws governing who can file, so you should check with a car accident attorney to find out who may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit for the loss of your loved one.
What Types of Damages Can You Seek in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Various damages are available in a wrongful death lawsuit resulting from a Long Beach rollover car accident. These damages aim to compensate the surviving family members for the losses they have suffered due to the death of their loved one. Here are some common types of damages sought in these lawsuits:
- Loss of Financial Support: Compensation for the income the deceased would have provided to their dependents had they survived
- Loss of Benefits: Compensation for the value of benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, or pension funds, that would have been provided by the deceased
- Funeral and Burial Expenses: Reimbursement for the reasonable costs associated with the deceased’s funeral and burial or cremation
- Loss of Companionship: Compensation for the emotional and psychological impact of losing a loved one and the loss of their companionship, love, and guidance
- Loss of Consortium: Compensation for losing the deceased’s companionship, support, affection, and intimate relations
- Mental Anguish: Compensation for the emotional pain, suffering, and mental distress experienced by the surviving family members
- Loss of Parental Guidance: Compensation for the loss of guidance, care, and support the deceased would have provided their children
- Pain and Suffering: If the deceased experienced pain and suffering before their death, their estate may seek compensation for these damages
Do You Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
After enduring the traumatic experience of a rollover car accident, it’s natural to feel a sense of overwhelm and uncertainty about the necessary course of action. In such distressing circumstances, seeking the guidance and support of a skilled car accident lawyer can provide the peace of mind you need.
While not every accident requires legal representation, the complexities surrounding rollover accidents make it advisable to have an experienced advocate supporting you.
A car accident lawyer can navigate the intricate legal landscape, protect your rights, and help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Here’s why having a car accident lawyer for a rollover car accident can make a significant difference in your case.
- Understanding Liability: Determining liability in a Long Beach car accident can be challenging. Multiple factors, such as road conditions, vehicle defects, driver negligence, and the actions of other motorists can contribute to the accident. An experienced car accident lawyer will thoroughly investigate your case, collect evidence, analyze accident reports, and consult with experts to determine liability. This knowledge is crucial in building a solid car accident claim.
- Maximizing Compensation: Rollover accidents often result in serious injuries or even fatalities. In such cases, you can recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. An experienced car accident lawyer will assess the full extent of your damages and fight for fair and maximum compensation. They understand the tactics used by auto insurance companies to undervalue car accident claims and will skillfully negotiate to ensure your rights are protected.
- Navigating Complex Laws: Personal injury laws can be complex and vary by location. A knowledgeable lawyer will understand the laws and regulations applicable to your Long Beach car accident case. They will guide you through the legal process, file the necessary paperwork, meet deadlines, and ensure compliance with legal requirements. This experience will free you from the complexities of the legal system, granting you the time to recover.
- Access to Resources and Experts: Building a strong Long Beach car accident case often requires access to resources and experts. A reputable personal injury attorney has connections to a network of accident reconstruction specialists, healthcare professionals, engineers, and other experts who can offer invaluable perspectives and testimony to bolster your case.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help Your Case?
When facing the aftermath of a rollover car accident, the assistance of a skilled lawyer can make a substantial difference in the outcome of your case. Here are some ways a car accident lawyer can help:
- Investigation and Evidence Gathering: A lawyer will thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident. They will collect crucial evidence such as accident reports, witness statements, surveillance footage, and vehicle data. This evidence is essential in establishing liability and strengthening your case.
- Legal Strategy and Negotiations: A knowledgeable car accident lawyer will develop a strategic plan tailored to your case. They will assess the strengths and weaknesses of your claim and negotiate with insurance companies or other parties involved. Their goal is to achieve a fair settlement that adequately compensates you for your injuries, damages, and losses.
- Legal Advocacy and Representation: Your lawyer will advocate for you throughout the legal process. They will handle all communication with insurance companies, opposing counsel, and other parties involved. By representing your best interests, they will protect you from any tactics that diminish your car accident claim and ensure your rights are upheld.
- Litigation if Necessary: If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, your car accident lawyer will be prepared to take your case to court. They will file the necessary legal documents, gather further evidence, and present a compelling argument on your behalf. Having a skilled litigator by your side can significantly improve your chances of a successful outcome.
Put Experience on Your Side – Trust Madison Law Group with Your Case
When fate deals a harsh blow, and you suffer injuries in a devastating Long Beach car accident, the healing journey becomes a daunting uphill battle. Amidst the pain, confusion, and mounting medical bills, you need a knowledgeable and trustworthy law firm by your side. At Madison Law Group, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll these accidents can take on your life, and we are here to fight for your rights and help you reclaim what you’ve lost.
In-Depth Legal Knowledge of Rollover Accident Cases
We have over 20 years of dedicated work in personal injury law, specifically addressing rollover car accident cases and other cases involving severe injuries. Our seasoned attorneys have acquired a depth of legal knowledge that sets us apart in this field. We have studied the intricacies of rollover accident cases and developed effective strategies to ensure justice for our clients.
A Beacon of Hope in Long Beach
If you’ve been hurt in a rollover accident in Long Beach, you don’t have to face the fallout alone. Madison Law Group proudly serves the Long Beach community as personal injury lawyers, offering a beacon of hope and relief for those who have suffered due to the negligence of others. Our team of seasoned attorneys understands the unique dynamics and challenges associated with personal injury cases in this area, ensuring you receive legal representation tailored to meet your specific needs.
The Power of Trust: Forging a Powerful Partnership with You
We recognize that entrusting your case to a personal injury attorney requires a leap of faith. That’s why we make building a strong attorney-client relationship based on trust a top priority. Our compassionate legal team listens attentively to your concerns, assesses the details of your case, and provides honest and personalized guidance from start to finish. We understand the stress and frustration that accompany a serious personal injury claim, and we are committed to alleviating your burdens by shouldering the legal complexities on your behalf.
Prompt and Reliable: Our 24-Hour Callback Policy
At Madison Law Group, we recognize the urgency of personal injury cases and the need for swift action. That’s why we have implemented a 24-hour callback policy, providing you with timely responses to your urgent questions and concerns.
We value your time and strive to provide you with the reassurance and support you need when you need it most. Rest assured, with us, you won’t be left waiting in the dark—our team is here to shine a light on your path to justice.
Proven Results: 6-Figure Settlements and Beyond
The success of a personal injury case is often measured in the compensation obtained for the injured party. At Madison Law Group, we are proud of our track record of securing substantial client settlements. We have consistently achieved six-figure settlements and beyond with our unwavering dedication, meticulous attention to detail, and fierce advocacy. Our results speak volumes about our commitment to obtaining the compensation you deserve, allowing you to rebuild your life with financial stability and peace of mind.