132,223 drivers were injured in accidents on Minnesota roadways during 2018 according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Of these victims, nearly two percent were victims of rollover accidents. Rollover crashes represented slightly more than 17 percent of the 349 fatal crashes. When you are a victim of a rollover crash, it is important to know what to do immediately following the accident.
Steps to Ensure Safety
Step One: Should you be aware your vehicle is about to rollover, you should attempt to prepare yourself for the potential of your car overturning. Immediately remove your feet from the brakes or gas of your vehicle. This is important as it could prevent your ankles from being broken during the rollover.
Step Two: Once your car has come to a complete stop, turn off your engine if you are not too injured to do so. Unfortunately, a rollover nearly always results in serious injury so this may not be possible.
Step Three: If you are fully aware, do a self-check — check for broken glass which may be embedded in your body, check for any areas where you may be bleeding, and check for any serious injury like broken bones for yourself and any passengers in your vehicle. If you can, find your cell phone and contact 911 immediately.
Step Four: Only if you are not seriously injured, you should attempt to extract yourself and any passengers from the vehicle. The best option for this is to stabilize yourself bracing yourself as best as you can and either opening or breaking a window using caution to not cause further injury. Because there is a possibility of a fuel leak, extract any passengers if emergency services have not arrived.
Step Five: Get yourself, and any passengers, as far away from traffic as possible. The last thing you want to do after extracting yourself from the vehicle is to be struck by another motorist. Wait for emergency personnel to arrive and try to calm yourself and your passengers.
Step Six: While waiting for emergency personnel you should attempt to get photographs if possible so you can use them later. Include any defects in the road, the position of all involved vehicles, and any traffic signals in the area as well as signage.
Step Seven: Even if you believe you are not injured, make sure you seek medical attention. Soft tissue damage, head and neck injuries, concussion, and embedded glass in your scalp or body could cause problems later.
Common Causes of Rollover Accidents
Motorists should bear in mind some vehicles are more prone to rollover accidents than others. Vans, mini-vans, and SUVs have high centers of gravity and as a result are more likely to rollover than a standard car. Some of the potential reasons for a rollover include:
- Tire Defects — in 2015, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a report indicating more than 30,000 accidents occurred as a result of a defective tire. During an investigation, they cited a frightening statistic: 44 percent of all tires were recalled, yet only 20 percent of those tires were serviced after a recall was announced.
- Roadway Conditions — whether caused by weather, a road defect, or construction occurring in the roadway, these types of hazards can directly contribute to a rollover accident.
- Avoidance Maneuvers — unfortunately, some rollovers can occur as a result of a crash, or the attempt to avoid a crash, particularly when the roadway is already slippery as a result of rain or snow.
These are not the only causes of rollover car accidents but instead, are among the most common causes.
Insurance Claims and Rollover Accidents
Often, a rollover accident involves only one vehicle. Keep in mind, Minnesota is a no-fault insurance state which means you will file your initial claim under your own auto insurance. If you were a passenger in the vehicle, even if you are a family member who resides in the same home, your claim will be covered.
Unfortunately, since there are often high medical bills, lost time from work, and in some cases, pain and suffering which accompany a rollover car accident, it may be difficult, or impossible to recover all your losses from a no-fault claim. Additionally, there may be mitigating factors which involve having someone other than the operator of the car who bears some responsibility for the accident.
In Minnesota, all passengers will have a claim against the at-fault drivers, even if they are family members. Many states allow insurance companies to limit the rights of the injured to make a claim if the at fault driver was a family member, but that is not allowed in Minnesota.
Contacting a Minnesota Car Accident Attorney
We now how stressful it is to be involved in a car accident. The initial shock, the car accident scene, and dealing with insurance claims is difficult. Too often, victims are unaware of their rights and often accept a settlement from an insurance company which is well below what they might be entitled to receive. Remember, insurance companies will often offer as small a settlement as possible. The goal for the insurer is to pay as little as possible against any type of claim.
Therefore, you need to consider reaching out to a Minnesota personal injury attorney as soon after an accident as possible. There will several insurance companies involved, your own for no fault benefits, the at fault driver’s insurance, and possibly your own health insurance. These cases can be very complex, and an experienced personal injury attorney can help.
As a victim involved in a rollover crash accident, you may think you do not have any alternative except to accept whatever settlement is offered by the insurance company, despite the fact the offer may not come close to covering your losses. This is why Patterson Dahlberg Injury Lawyers are committed to ensuring victims understand their rights, and their options. We have years of experience in dealing with all types of personal injury cases, particularly those which involve residents of southeastern Minnesota. Contact us today for a free consultation during which time we can explain your options and your rights under Minnesota personal injury statutes.