Involved in an SUV Rollover in Nevada? The SUV Rollover Statistics You Should Know

Rollover accidents are among the most serious and dangerous traffic accidents in Nevada, where many people drive SUVs. In fact, the Toyota RAV4 is one of the most driven vehicles in the state, and other SUVs such as the Honda CR-V, Ford Explorer, and Toyota Highlander are also favored by Nevada drivers. But while just 3-4% of standard passenger vehicles are prone to rollover, 12% of SUVs are likely to rollover in an accident, often resulting in serious personal injuries or even death. 

If you own a SUV or sport utility vehicle or have been involved in an SUV rollover accident in Las Vegas, it is important to know the statistics that can help us build your case. Auto companies already know this dangerous data behind SUVs and yet still have not done enough to make these vehicles safe and prevent rollover injuries and deaths. 

As former defense attorneys for the insurance industry, we keep up to date with data on SUV design defects and crash tests to build a favorable case for you. This can be used in a product liability case against the car manufacturer, especially for models that are known for their rollover potential. Here’s what you should know. 

Why Do SUVs Rollover?

All vehicles have some risk of rollover, but SUVs have a much greater risk than others. Compared to other vehicles, SUVs have the highest rollover rate, even more than pickup trucks and utility trucks. 

According to the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration, the likelihood of a rollover in a typical accident by vehicle type is: 

  • Just 3% for standard small vehicles
  • 4% for vans
  • 7% for pickup trucks
  • 12% for SUVs (4x more likely than standard vehicles)

And even though rollovers make up just 3% of all traffic accidents, studies show that rollovers cause 30% of all fatal injuries.

The reason behind these dangerous statistics is found in the design of SUVs. Compared to other vehicles, they are built with a tall and narrow structure that makes them very top-heavy, with a very high center of gravity. 

They are even taller and narrower than standard pickups or vans, and as a result, even relatively common driving maneuvers can cause SUV drivers to get into accidents. They make up many of the most serious automobile accidents in Las Vegas. A sharp turn to avoid an obstacle or hitting a pedestrian or a trip on debris on the road can turn into a deadly rollover incident with many SUVs when a typical vehicle would otherwise simply skid or slide.

The type of tires can also factor into an SUV’s likelihood to roll over. Overly grippy tires can cause the vehicle to violently shift the balance on a sharp turn without enough give, while tires without as much grip can lose hold on the road and slide more unpredictably.

Over the years, some car manufacturers have updated their designs to lower the risk of rollovers, but there are still many gaps in the designs of SUVs. Many still do not have adequate safety systems or anti-rollover technologies that could have saved lives and avoided serious injuries. This is where legal action can be taken against these companies for inadequate or defective manufacturing and design.

When Do Most SUV Rollover Accidents Happen?

An automobile crash is classified as a rollover if the vehicle tips onto its side or onto its roof at any point during the crash. Serious rollover accidents often involve the vehicle going off the road at some point, causing passengers to be ejected from the vehicle with serious or even fatal injuries. 

SUVs rollovers in particular are often caused by a “trip” or obstacle in the road, such as a pothole, curb, or uneven shoulder. The vehicle hits the obstacle at an angle and, because of the top-heavy design of the SUV, the center of gravity shifts dramatically, resulting in the SUV losing balance and tipping over. 

Road conditions are a big factor here, but even a defect in the vehicle can cause a trip: some SUVs have tires that can deform at certain angles and expose the wheel rims, which can then trip the vehicle even on flat pavement. 

Overall, around 70% of all rollovers happen after the vehicle hits something on the road and then tips over.

However, another 30% of rollovers happen even without a trip or obstacle: that is, the vehicle rolls over without hitting anything beforehand. This happens even more so with SUVs, as they have been observed to tip over even on the unobstructed ground.

Contrary to popular belief, rollover accidents do not often occur as a result of a collision with another vehicle. Many of them involve just one driver, but even these single-vehicle car accidents can be lethal or often deadly due to the faulty design of the SUV. In some cases, the rollover occurs as a result of a collision with another vehicle, as in a truck collision or motorcycle crash, or when the driver swerves to avoid an accident with cyclists on the road.

Injuries and Fatalities from SUV Rollover Accidents

Rollover accidents are one of the leading causes of serious injury and death for accidents involving a single SUV, making up 31% of all such deaths, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

The data goes on to show that rollover crashes also accounted for a staggering 42% of total occupant deaths in SUVs. This means that almost half of all deaths in SUV crashes are caused by rollovers. In the event of a death in a rollover crash, the victim’s loved ones and dependents can still sue for damages in what is called a wrongful death lawsuit

People who do survive a rollover crash still experience serious and debilitating injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries and head injuries (causing problems with long-term cognitive ability and memory), and spinal cord injuries (causing temporary or permanent disability and mobility issues). 

These can happen even if the occupants were properly belted with a seatbelt since SUV rollover accidents often involve the car tipping onto its side or roof and causing roof deformation: the roof caves in and can cause serious injury to the head, neck, and spine. 

Whiplash, broken bones, and soft tissue injuries can also occur, all of which will require emergency medical care and rehabilitation. 

Should you or a loved one be involved in an SUV rollover accident, know that you have the legal right to consult a lawyer at Gazda & Tadayon and potentially pursue action against the car manufacturer for the incident. Rollovers are serious and often complex cases and we have decades of experience handling these as former defense counsels for the insurance companies.