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Educating Nebraska residents about rollover crashes

Even in a serious crash, the odds of a car rolling over are slim. However, while they account for only 3 percent of all serious accidents, 30 percent of those who die in a car accident die because the car rolled over. Although taller vehicles that have a higher center of gravity such as a large truck or SUV are more susceptible to rolling over, any vehicle can roll.

A rollover is more likely to occur as sideways forces build on the car and changes its center of gravity. Lateral forces on the car increase with speed and sudden change of direction such as when a driver goes around a curb or makes a sharp turn and then tries to make a course correction suddenly. This creates a pendulum effect that can then lead to the car tipping over.

Government research indicates that 95 percent of all single-vehicle rollovers occur due to the vehicle tripping on the roadway. A trip refers to the vehicle hitting something such as a curb, a pothole or a soft shoulder. However, some people say that the number is too high because the number includes rollovers caused by tip-ups. Tip-ups occur when the sidewall of a tire becomes deformed and causes the wheel's rim to make contact with the pavement.

Those who are hurt in a rollover or any other type of accident may file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who caused the crash. If successful, an injured person can seek compensation for medical bills, long-term care costs and lost wages. Those who are injured in an accident may also be entitled to punitive damages due to driver negligence. A personal injury attorney can assist a victim in seeking compensation.

Source: ConsumerReports.org, "Rollover 101", November 17, 2014

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