Though an SUV may look sturdy, this type of vehicle can be especially prone to rollover accidents, due in part to their weight distribution and higher center of gravity. A sharp turn at high speed or an impact with a road hazard or other stationary object can cause an SUV to tip onto its side or to roll onto its roof, leading to severe injuries. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that more than 10,000 die in U.S. rollover accidents every year.
West Virginia is a traditional at-fault state for auto accident liability. That means you must file a claim against the driver who caused the accident to recover for your medical bills, auto repairs and other expenses tied to the crash. But determining fault in an SUV rollover case can be difficult. In many cases, the SUV’s driver is “at fault” for their own accident. Almost 85 percent of rollovers are single-vehicle crashes and more than 90 percent of rollovers occur during routine driving maneuvers, according to the NHTSA. This is a problem because under West Virginia law, anyone who is more than 50 percent responsible for causing an accident is barred from suing for damages.
If a rollover occurs when a driver swerves to avoid a reckless motorist or a road hazard — such as a blown tire lying on a highway — the fault may be partially with someone else. But if no other at-fault party can be identified, the SUV passengers will have to file a claim with the driver’s own insurance company. For medical expenses, a claim may be made under the driver’s optional medical payments coverage, if such coverage was purchased, and both the passengers and the driver may be able to obtain compensation under that coverage. For damage to the SUV, collision coverage applies. However, collision coverage is not mandatory in West Virginia. Without it, a driver may have to pay out-of-pocket for a rollover.
If you suffer injuries or have lost a loved one in an SUV rollover accident, it’s smart to speak to an auto injury attorney promptly after you receive medical attention. An experienced advisor can work to establish a clear picture of who is at fault and can fight to help you receive the compensation you deserve.
At Kaufman & McPherson, PLLC in Bridgeport, West Virginia, we are thorough and persistent in our efforts to win money damages for people harmed in SUV rollovers and other accidents. To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our qualified attorneys, call us at 304-842-4300 or contact us online.