Cook County Rollover Accidents

In Chicago and elsewhere in Cook County, there have been a significant number of vehicle rollover accidents.  Many recent rollover crashes have been summarized on this site.   These crashes have occurred in a number of cities, including Calumet Heights, Posen, Forest Park, Berwyn, and Evanston.  They have also occurred in various Chicago neighborhoods, including Norwood Park, Pilsen, and Lincoln Park.

As rollover accidents usually happen at higher speeds, it is not surprising that many Chicago areas rollovers have happened on expressways and other higher-speed roadways, including the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-94), the Edens Spur, I-57, the Kennedy Expressway, the Bishop Ford Expressway, Lake Shore Drive, and Lower Wacker Drive.

Statistics and commentary regarding rollover crashes are seen in the the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) study titled “Epidemiology, Causes and Prevention of Car Rollover Crashes with Ejection” (2014).  An excerpt:

As the majority of ROCs take places in the highways, it poses serious road safety concerns.[3] Around 220,000 light motor vehicles sustain ROCs in the US annually involving 350,000 vehicle occupants. These crashes reported 9000 occupants deaths, 14,100 serious injuries whereas, minor to moderate injuries were reported in 224,000 victims of these crashes.[3] Despite the fact that ROCs constitute only 2.2% of all MVCs; it represents about 33% of the annual injury costs in the US (around $40 billion).[3]

As seen in the aforementioned NCBI study, there are a various types of rollover crashes.  These types, based on types of initiation, include:

  • Trip-over occurred when the vehicle is suddenly slowed or stopped inducing a rollover
  • Flip-over: When the vehicle is rotated along its longitudinal axis by a ramp-like object such as a turned down guardrail
  • Bounce-over: When a vehicle rebounds off a fixed object and consequently overturns
  • Turn-over: When centrifugal forces from a sharp turn or vehicle rotation are resisted by normal surface friction
  • Fall-over: When the surface on which the vehicle is traversing slopes downward in the direction of movement of the vehicle’s center of gravity (COG) such that the COG becomes outboard of its wheels
  • Climb-over: When the vehicle climbs up and over an object (e.g., guardrail, barrier) that is high enough to lift the vehicle completely off the ground
  • Collision with another vehicle: When an impact with another vehicle causes the rollover
  • End-over-end: When a vehicle rolls primarily about its lateral axis after crashing with a concrete barrier.[13]

As far as accident injuries are concerned, as one can imagine there are many different types of injuries that can occur during a rollover crash.  As seen in the NCBI study cited above:

It has been reported that 50% and 10% of the harm due to ROCs is related to the head and neck and spines injuries, respectively.

As well, fatalities are often possible.  A major factor in the severity of how badly vehicle occupants are hurt in these crashes is whether the vehicle occupant is ejected (i.e. fully or partially thrown from) the vehicle.  Ejections often lead to serious injury.

An excerpt from the NCBI study regarding ejections, under the heading “Mechanism of Injury in ROCs and Ejections”:

There are four main injury mechanisms involved in ROCs. First is roof intrusion, in which structural elements either penetrates the body of the occupants or crush them altogether due to massive structural deformations and loss of the residual space. Another mechanism is a projection in which uncontrolled movement of the occupants inside the vehicle resulted in occupants’ body impact with the structural parts of the vehicle compartment.[14] In case of complete ejection, the passengers could be ejected from the vehicle during the rollover process. However, in partial ejection parts of the passenger’s body come in contact with the outside surface and can be strongly crushed during rollover process.[14] Usually, the standard restraints equipped for frontal collisions are not beneficial in rollovers, particularly with roof intrusion. In addition, there is a high risk of severe head and spinal injuries in restrained occupant who were partially ejected.[13] A study by Rechnitzer et al.[15,16] demonstrated the ineffectiveness of restraints and impact of roof crush in the severity of injury.

As seen in the NCBI study as well as other sources, there are many factors that can lead to – or increase the probability of – a rollover accident.  Many of these factors are similar to those that increase the risk of other vehicle accidents.  Some of these factors include:

  • Vehicle speed, especially if excessive
  • Underinflated tires
  • Drunk driving or other impaired driving, such as driving while under the influence of drugs
  • Reckless driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Improper vehicle loading
  • Excessive vehicle loading

As well, there are other driver behaviors that may cause or worsen the severity of a rollover.  These include “panic steering” and other improper driving behaviors.

Should you be involved in a vehicle rollover accident – or any other crash involving injuries – there are numerous steps you should take in order to protect both your health as well as your legal rights and the ability to get compensation for your accident injuries caused by the actions and/or negligence of others.

From the perspective of protecting your health, there are many reasons why you should seriously consider getting a thorough medical exam, even if you don’t believe you have been seriously injured.  Various injuries – some severe and possibly life-threatening in nature – have symptoms that may take a while to manifest.  These injuries include various head injuries, including concussions.

As to protecting your legal rights and ability to potentially receive accident compensation, there are various steps you should promptly take.  An Illinois personal injury lawyer experienced in handling vehicle accident cases can tell you what steps need to be taken after an Illinois accident in which injuries occurred.

The Elman Law Group, LLC has been handling Illinois vehicle accident injury cases for over 20 years.  During this time period, Elman Law Group has handled over 10,000 personal injury cases, and has established a reputation for its success, especially in court trials.  This success has involved a broad range of lawsuit types and sizes.

Tony Elman, Lead Attorney of the Elman Law Group, offers those who have been hurt in an accident a free legal consultation to discuss the accident injuries and other harm that has occurred.  He can also discuss how much your case may be worth – and the process for getting this money.  Tony Elman can be reached at (773) 392-8182.

Elman Law Group works on Illinois personal injury cases on a contingency basis — meaning that clients are not charged legal fees unless and until the client receives accident compensation.