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Deadliest Car Crashes: Rollovers

Rollover accidents are not exactly the first things that come into your mind when it comes to deadliest car crashes. You are probably thinking about speeding, drunk driving, and street racing as the main culprits, and that is totally justifiable. But you shouldn’t overlook rollovers, because they are just as deadly.

But what is a rollover anyway? A rollover accident happens when the vehicle turns on its side and “rollover,” hence the name. According to the website of Russo, Russo & Slania, P.C., those who have suffered injuries in rollover accidents caused by someone else may have legal options.

Common Causes

Momentum from turning – When a vehicle is traveling at a high enough speed and suddenly makes a turning maneuver, it may have enough momentum to counter the turn and end up rolling over.

Elevated crash – A vehicle crashing from an elevated space can rollover because of physical forces. Examples include a vehicle crashing from the highway onto an embankment and from the freeway onto an adjacent road below.

Broadside collision – A vehicle getting hit in the side with enough force by another vehicle may rollover. The best example is a broadside collision in an intersection, when one vehicle runs the red light and crashes into another that has the right of way on the adjacent road.

High center of gravity – Some vehicles are more prone to rollovers than others, such as those with high centers of gravity. These are the vehicles that are both long and thin, like trucks and vans.

Dangerous weather condition – External factors like weather can also cause a vehicle to rollover. The most dangerous culprits are ice, rainwater, and snow on the road, because they can make a vehicle lose control. If the vehicle’s poor control ends up in a turning or braking maneuver, with enough force, it can rollover.

Dangerous road condition – Another external factor is the road condition. Slippery roads and road defects like cracks and potholes can cause a vehicle to rollover, in the same manner as how weather conditions affect roads and chances of accidents.

Full Attention is of Utmost Importance When You’re Behind the Wheel

No matter what brand and model of car you drive, only one thing is necessary as soon as you sit behind the wheel – your undivided attention on the road. Direct that attention to something else and you may end up causing a tragic road accident.

Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that distracted driving is one of the top causes of car crashes in the U.S. With it are driving over the speed limit (and sometimes driving too slow along major roads), reckless driving and drunk-driving.

Alcohol impairs a driver; scientific studies have consistently declared and proven this. So too does distracted driving, though the impairment it causes is of a different kind. While alcohol makes a driver’s reflexes weaker, causing him/her to fail to steer hard enough to stay clear of danger, distracted driving can cause a driver to fail to react on time to avoid danger or to steer the wheel much more than necessary, directing his/her car where it should not be.

Driving always requires a driver’s undivided attention to enable him/her to safely control his/her vehicle, as well as veer it away from anything that may cause an accident. Anything that will take away your focus on the road is a distraction – a major contributory factor to car accidents.

Despite being aware that any form of distraction compromises everyone’s safety, many drivers confess to being distracted. Records from both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the (NHTSA) show that individuals aged between 15 and 24 are the ones with the greatest tendency to get involved in accidents due to distracted driving.

The many faults seen in teen drivers are blamed on juvenile behavior and driver inexperience. Due to this 47 states have resorted to using the graduated driver licensing (GDL) system, a program intended to delay full licensure to beginners, while simultaneously letting them have their primary experience under less dangerous conditions.

The three major types of driving distractions identified by authorities include:

  • visual – involves taking one’s eyes off the road
  • manual – when one takes his/her hands off the wheel
  • cognitive – this happens when the driver’s mind wanders off

Specifically, these distractions include chatting with friends, cell phone use, texting, playing DJ, eating, playing your favorite tunes full blast, toying with the controls, putting on makeup or brushing your hair while driving, driving angry, reading maps or directions, using in-vehicle technologies or navigation systems, eating, drinking, smoking, lighting a cigarette, reaching for something from the back seat, playing with a child, getting distracted by a pet, and so forth. Many drivers do not even consider these as distractions any longer, especially those who have converted their car or vehicle into a personal room on wheels.

Whatever the type of distraction is, the fact remains that distracted driving is an act of negligence; an act the liable party will have to face and take responsibility for, especially if his or her act results to an accident and injures someone. As explained by West Palm Beach car accident lawyers at Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., “a lapse in attention for just a few seconds is all it takes to lose control of a vehicle and subsequently cause an accident. Paying full attention to the road and your surroundings is of utmost importance when you’re behind the wheel.” Thus, those who get injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence or carelessness, “should not hesitate to reach out to a personal injury attorney for legal help.”

Elements of a Car Accident Claim

Car accidents can happen anytime. According to the website of Williams Kherkher, more than 2 million auto accidents occur in the United States every year.Most of them are severe which could mean expensive medical bills and other expenses. Getting involved in a car accident can be a hassle as you could find yourself getting delayed if you are on your way to the office. If the accident happened in an “at-fault” state, you can make the person liable for the accident. You can be compensated as long as the requirements for negligence are satisfied.

In a car accident case, you can make the other driver liable for damages by proving that they were at fault. This is where having an experienced attorney can come in. Your lawyer will be the one to prove liability and work out the amount of damages you can get. When making a car accident claim, certain elements would have to be present and here they are:

1. Duty of Care

Observing traffic rules, driving slowly, avoiding distracted driving, and others are examples of duty of care. Duty of care means doing your best to ensure the safety of other people or properties. Doing the opposite is negligence and can make you liable for damages.

2. Breach of Duty

Any negligent act by a driver that results to injury or death to another driver violates the duty of care. When you drive recklessly or intoxicated, or use your cell phone while driving, you are breaching duty of care and hence can be held liable when you get involved in a car accident.

3. Causation and Damages

Causation comes in two forms. There is direct cause as well as proximate cause. The former refers to breach of duty as the direct cause for the accident while the latter means that even though there is breach on the part of the driver, it may not have been the direct cause of the accident. A car that runs over a pedestrian who then breaks his leg is an example of direct cause. On the other hand, if a drunk driver loses control of his vehicle, bumps into a utility pole which then falls into a pedestrian resulting to a broken leg is an example of proximate cause.

Damages, on the other hand, may refer to injuries to a person, physical damagae, monetary damages, or pain and suffering. Damages may involve economic and non-economic damages. The first type of damage is quantifiable while the second one is not.

Car accidents can be traumatic for some people especially if the crash caused the death of another person. Be a responsible driver so you would not get into trouble and hassle of car accident claims.

When Truck Defects and Malfunction Lead to Accidents

Vehicular accidents remain a pressing issue all over the United States. While the number of motor vehicle crashes has declined in the recent years, the occurrence of such accidents continues to have grave impact on the lives of millions and millions of Americans.

Devastating wrecks are known to result in severe injuries and tragic fatalities. This is especially applicable to accidents where large trucks such as 18-wheelers and big rigs are involved. These vehicles overpower most of the others in the road by sheer size and weight. Any collision involving a large truck and a smaller vehicle can be expected to lead to some very dangerous outcomes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or IIHS broke down the total 3,062 fatalities caused by large truck accidents accordingly: 2,410 of the victims were riding passenger vehicles, 586 were truck operators, and 557 of the victims were bicyclists, motorcyclists, or pedestrians.

There are many reasons as to truck accidents happen. Among the contributing factors are malfunctioning and defective parts. Large trucks make use of a combination of mechanical and computer systems to operate. Issues that occur in any of these two systems can cause very serious trouble for the operator and the other motorists sharing the road. A Tennessee personal injury attorney is likely to have seen that common issues with large trucks that are known to lead to the most fatal wrecks include malfunctioning brakes and defective tires. Accidents can also happen when these large vehicles lack the required amount of upkeep to ensure that all the parts and systems are in order.

When it comes to accidents caused by truck defects and malfunction, it is the trucking companies that are held most accountable for any safety issue. It is, after all, understood that these companies and their operators are doing what they can to meet safety policies and regulations imposed by the government. Manufacturers of the malfunctioning or defective parts responsible can also be held equally liable. As a result, victims of large truck accidents should not hesitate to pursue legal action to receive just compensation.

Parental Liability for a Minor’s Driving in California

Most people still remember the case of the 16-year-old Texan who caused the death of 5 people and seriously injured 2 of his own passengers while driving drunk in mid-2013. It caused an uproar because his “affluenza” defense (he was spoiled rotten by rich parents and could not be held criminally liable for his bad behavior) earned him 10 years probation, mandatory rehabilitation, and no jail time.

In reaction, a California lawmaker introduced a bill in January 2014 that would have banned the use of the “affluenza” defense in California courts. The bill was shot down, however, because opponents stated that putting a limit to legal defenses presumed that juries were not capable of making a reasonable determination about the merits of a defense.

However, California does have laws that address the civil liability of parents or legal guardians for property damage, injuries, and deaths caused by a minor’s driving. This is encoded in the California Vehicle Code § 17707, and unlike the section that deals with general liability of parents or guardians for damages caused by a minor’s “willful misconduct” limiting the liability to $25,000, there is no limit to the consequences of a vehicular accident. The website of Ritter & Associates discusses the potential costs of a serious car accident, and they can be huge and life-changing.

In other words, if a minor (under 18 in California) causes and accident that results in injury or death because of negligence or recklessness while driving, whoever signed the license application (usually the parents or legal guardian) will have to pay whatever damages a court determines is appropriate to a certain case. This includes awards for pain and suffering. If the “affluenza” teenager had been a California resident, he may still have gotten off with probation, but his parents could be sued in civil court for the wrongful deaths and personal injuries their son had caused.

If you have been seriously injured in a car accident where the negligent driver was a minor, you can sue the parents or legal guardian for compensation. Find an experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer in your area to discuss your case.

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