Some of Philadelphia’s roads are among the busiest and most dangerous in the country. Rollover accidents on these roads tend to result in higher fatalities and serious injuries — more frequently than for other types of collisions. There are roads notorious for having dangerous intersections with faulty corners where sharp turns often end up in rollover accidents or where car collisions frequently end up in rollovers. There are also some streets in poor condition with slopes and ditches where bulky rollovers are common.
Rollover accidents are known for bringing about severe, life-threatening injuries and frequently end up with someone getting killed. Reports about these accidents frequently state that the causes are under investigation. When this happens, you can expect the reasons for the rollover accident to be debatable. Experienced legal representation in these rollover cases can be critical since the reasons are not often apparent.
If you or someone you know has been in a rollover accident, you should contact trustworthy attorneys with an outstanding reputation as well as experience with complicated car accidents. If someone you love died in a rollover accident, know that the team of attorneys of the Reiff Law Firm is compassionate and highly skilled in cases involving painful losses. When someone dies, a civil lawsuit for wrongful death may be appropriate. At this difficult time, you need the best team behind you. Call (215) 709-6940 to reach the Reiff Law Firm and schedule a free and confidential consultation.
Federal Programs Aimed to Prevent Rollover Accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s program, Keep the Load on the Road: A Driver’s Guide to Cargo Tank Truck Rollover Prevention was designed to provide truck drivers and other commercial drivers with a helpful training resource to help avoid rollovers. This program has identified four factors that are important for a driver to take into consideration, so as to avoid a rollover including:
Load effects – Commercial drivers, and particularly those who are transporting hazardous materials, need to understand how the load in their vehicle will affect how they operate their vehicle. A driver who is transporting liquid will have to drive differently than a driver who is transporting solid cargo. A driver has to understand that depending on what there are hauling and how it is loaded in their vehicle they may have to adjust their driving.
Highway-related factors – Rollover crashes can often be attributed to factors on the highway such as curves, inclines, declines, and construction. In addition, drivers need to be aware of their surroundings in order to avoid rollovers.
Driver error factors – By identifying common driver errors, truck drivers and other commercial drivers can learn how to avoid accidents. Studies of tractor trailer accidents, and their causes show that more than 78% of rollovers include driver error as a contributing or major factor. The FMCSA, PHMSA, and trucking industry partners responsible for producing the training video believe in the importance of driver education and awareness as a key factor in preventing cargo tank truck rollovers. This video is designed to increase awareness and understanding of the underlying causes that can result in rollovers.
Vehicle design and performance – Not every tractor trailer or commercial vehicle is the same or drives the same. Commercial drivers need to understand the variations in their vehicles as compared to others.
While there may be many other reasons for a truck to rollover the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has identified these above mentioned factors as the most identifiable, and the factors that can be addressed the easiest.
How to Avoid Rollover Accidents
Recently, a heavily traveled section of Interstate 90 in Washington was closed for several hours because a tractor-trailer was involved in a rollover crash, and while it is not clear how this accident happened, these accidents are not uncommon. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s program, “Keep the Load on the Road: A Driver’s Guide to Cargo Tank Truck Rollover Prevention” drivers can avoid rollover accidents by:
- Avoid sudden movements that may lead to rollovers
- Control your load in turns and on straight roadways
- Identify high-risk areas on roads
- Remain alert and attentive behind the wheel
- Control speed and maintain proper “speed cushions”
Across the country another rollover accident caused Route 490 in New York to be closed for several hours as crews tried to clean the scrap metal the truck was carrying. Unlike the accident in Washington, State Police determined that this rollover accident happened because the truck driver was going to fast. The posted speed limit on the area of the Interstate that the truck was driving on was posted at forty miles an hour, however, it was estimated that the driver was going fifty miles an hour through a curve. This highlights some of the points above. The driver in this instance was driving only slightly above the speed limit, however, it was still too fast for the road conditions. While it is impossible to recreate this scene, if a driver is aware that there is a curve in the road, and they are aware that they should not only be within the speed limit, but providing themselves with a cushion, then some of these accidents may be avoided in the future.
Common Causes of Car Rollovers
There is a wide variety of causes for rollover accidents. Vehicles tend to turn over when the traction from tires combine with the force of a turn, though the reasons for this can depend on a number of factors. The type of rollover accident will have an impact on the complexity of your legal representation.
Experience in legal representation in rollover cases informs us that there are a mix of factors frequently interconnectedly causing rollovers—speed coupled with faulty corners or car defects combined with road conditions. When this happens, we work with experts in the field of accident reconstruction as well as engineering professionals who understand the leading causes of rollover accidents. Some of these causes include:
When poor road conditions lead to crashes injuring drivers and causing deaths, there are laws designed to protect against these types of hazards. Cities, municipalities and the U.S. Highway Administration must ensure that roads are safe. Poor road conditions are not always avoidable, but in a large number of rollover accidents, there are instances where public officials have the time and opportunity to correct the problems causing frequent accidents.
For example, potholes can seem like common road problems. However, some potholes are known to cause rollover accidents in certain types of cars. When public officials fail to attend these known public road dangers, you can file a civil lawsuit over their failure.
Rollover accidents are known to occur more frequently in certain types of vehicles than others. While this is not always a basis for civil liability, there are instances when faulty car engineering or poorly designed components can cause a type of car to roll over with more frequency. When this happens, there are causes of action you can pursue against the car manufacturer and other individuals or entities responsible for the poor design feature.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides useful information as to the size, height, and other characteristics of vehicles more prone to rollovers. If this information is not readily available, it doesn’t mean that car defects are not the reason for an accident. With the assistance of professionals with expertise in this field, we can look into the details of the crash to determine if there are possible grounds to file a civil lawsuit based on the defects.
Driver error is a common factor in car accidents. Speed and distracted driving are known causes of rollover accidents. Other common driver errors involve commercial trucks and vans being loaded above their recommended limits.
When any of these errors cause a rollover, you can file a civil lawsuit to recover your losses. An attorney can guide you as to the causes of action that you can pursue depending on the circumstances of your accident. Sometimes driver error plays a minor part in the reasons why an accident occurs. When an attorney reviews the specific facts behind your accident, they can help you determine what the possible causes of action are and if there are other individuals possibly carrying a higher level of responsibility.
Deadlines to File Rollover Accident Lawsuits in Pennsylvania
Every state institutes time limits for filing civil lawsuits related to rollover accident losses in Pennsylvania. If you wait longer than two years, you will not be able to submit a civil lawsuit against the person responsible for causing a rollover accident. There are limited exceptions to this two-year rule. Also, waiting too long to seek recovery for your losses can cause drawbacks due to the risk of losing valuable information that can help establish legal responsibility against the culprit of your painful and costly injuries.
Call a Philadelphia Rollover Accident Lawyer You Can Trust
The Reiff Law Firm has a strong track record in representing people injured in rollovers and other types of car accidents. Our experience in car accident legal representation is one of the reasons our results stand above the rest. One of the areas where we stand out is in calculating losses or damages in great detail so that compensation will make a difference in the rest of your life. If you or someone you know has suffered injuries or died in a rollover accident in Philadelphia, call (215)246-9000.