Living here in Maryland, it’s quite common to hear of traffic accidents that happen every day on our freeways, rural routes and city streets. While rear-end car crashes and side-impact automobile collisions can be rather common in cities like Baltimore, Bowie and the District, we don’t see many rollover accidents in-town, but that doesn’t mean they have never happened; it just takes a certain set of circumstances to result in that kind of traffic wreck.
As experienced trial lawyers representing individuals who have been hurt or seriously injured in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, we have gone to bat for many victims of auto and trucking-related collisions caused by negligence on the part of the other driver. In cases of multi-car crashes, it is usually found that the fault lies primarily with one driver. As Maryland personal injury attorneys, our job is to help victims and their families recover the cost of medical expenses made necessary by the thoughtless act of another person.
Sometimes a single-vehicle accident occurs, which may be caused by the failure of a critical vehicle part or component, such as the brake system, steering mechanism or one of the car or truck’s tires. One type of accident can be caused by the overall vehicle design. Rollover incidents, which tend to affect vehicles with high centers of gravity (such as a full-size van or sport utility vehicle). While the design of these types of motor vehicles provides a great deal of utility and convenience, that very design can affect the way they handle in emergency situations.
In the past, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has conducted research into the causes of various types of injury-related and fatal traffic wrecks. In a study of crashes from 2009, the NHTSA found that almost 7,000 auto accidents involved a range of different utility vehicles. Since SUVs are part of the “light truck” category, those 7,000 accidents were included in the total for all fatal light trucks collisions across the United States, almost 18,000 deadly accidents in all.
The breakout that year included compact utility vehicles (more than 5,000 deaths), large utility vehicles (about 1,500 fatalities) and station wagon-type utility vehicles (more than 300 killed). A percentage of these accidents certainly involved rollover events, due in large part to an SUV’s higher center of gravity when compared to a passenger car.
Although rollovers are much more commonplace for sport utility vehicles and large or “full-size” vans, passenger sedans and lower-profile vehicle have been known to be involved in rollover accidents. Regardless of the type of vehicle, during a rollover event, passengers can be subjected to severe injuries as they are thrown about inside the passenger cabin. This is one of the most violent types of auto accident and can result in spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, multiple contusions and broken bones.
Though much more rare, a rollover accident involving a lower CG passenger car can happen depending on various factors; speed, weather and road conditions can all conspire to trigger a rollover crash that may injure or kill one or more of the occupants of a standard sedan, station wagon or sports car. In fact, something like this happened late last year resulting in serious injuries to a young man driving his Pontiac Grand Am in Talbot County early on a Friday afternoon.
According to news reports at the time, the driver was headed along a stretch of Rte 50 when for some reason he lost control of the car and ran off the roadway. Based on information provided by the Maryland State Police (MSP), a portion of the vehicle must have hit the culvert, causing the car to flip and roll. In the process, the 19-year-old driver from Queenstown was completely ejected from the vehicle.
Emergency personnel arriving on the scene called for a medevac chopped, which transported the victim to Baltimore’s University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. According to news reports, 24 hours after the crash, the man was listed in serious condition. This was a single-vehicle accident and no other injuries were reported by the MSP. The roadway had to be closed for under an hour to allow medics and other EMS personnel to treat the man and get him onboard the helicopter.
Queenstown man in serious condition after rollover accident, StarDem.com, December 15, 2012