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Rollover risks and statistics

Although any car can experience a rollover, taller vehicles, such as trucks, vans and SUVs, are much more susceptible to rolling over due to a process called tripping, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Tripping occurs when a vehicle hits something unexpected, like a pot hole or a curb, and its center of gravity shifts. Consequently, the vehicle may roll.

This is a different process than a rollover caused by a rapid shift in steering that often occurs during an emergency maneuver. Speed is also a significant factor in rollovers, authorities say. The higher the speed, the greater the likelihood that a vehicle susceptible to rolling will in fact roll.

Nationwide, there were more than 30,000 fatalities due to automobile accidents in 2012. Reportedly, Ohio residents accounted for more than 1,000 of those deaths. While only about 3 percent of crashes involve a rollover, the fatality rate in rollover crashes is approximately 30 percent, authorities report.

In response to the risk and results of rollover crashes, there are new laws in effect that mandate car manufacturers to produce vehicles that can better resist rollovers and better protect vehicle occupants in the event that a rollover does occur. Reportedly, there are also legislative efforts to put limits on lawsuits stemming from rollover crashes, as many injured motorists have pursued civil action against car manufacturers, citing negligence.

Presently, people injured due to a rollover accident may still pursue legal action against automakers or any other party suspected to be responsible for the injurious event, especially if it can be proven that a defective auto part contributed to the rollover. In this way, accident victims may seek to hold the manufacturer of their vehicle liable. Consulting an attorney who is familiar with personal injury due to automobile accidents may be a good source of guidance and support for prospective claimants.

Source: ConsumerReports.org, "Rollover 101", November 22, 2014

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