According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), “crashes in which a vehicle rolled over accounted for 29 percent of all passenger vehicle occupant deaths in 2021.” Single-vehicle rollover crashes are particularly dangerous for occupants, as they account for three-quarters of all rollover deaths.
Survivors of rollover accidents may be left with:
- Spinal injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Whiplash-associated disorders in the head and neck
- Injuries to soft tissues such as skin, muscles, and internal organs
One key risk factor for a rollover accident is a vehicle with a high center of gravity. In the past decade, pickup trucks and SUVs on America’s roads have grown steadily taller, more massive, and more popular. As such, drivers must be aware of the risk their weight poses to themselves and other drivers.
But when accidents happen, how can someone involved in a rollover best prepare themselves to pursue their case and get the damages they need to go on with their life?
Handling Rollover Risks—Before and After an Accident in Bellevue
Once an accident claim has been filed, an insurance adjuster will review all the available evidence, such as photos, police reports, and witness statements. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters are rarely on your side, even when they work for your own insurance company. They will look for ways to minimize the payout they will owe or even to avoid it entirely. This problem is especially true of adjusters employed by the insurance company for the at-fault party. To ease the headaches of dealing with insurance companies and all the stresses of an car accident, contact a Bellevue auto collision attorney. Our lawyers are accustom to dealing troublesome insurance companies and will work on your behalf to maximize your accident claims payout.
Under Washington law, if you were partly at fault in an accident, your allowable claim for damages will be reduced by your own percentage of fault. For example, if a jury found that you were 30% at fault in a rollover, you would only be able to recover 70% of your damages. Insurance adjusters determine a percentage of fault in their reports, then use that percentage to offer you a settlement that may be lower than what you actually need or deserve.
Here are some ways you can help maintain a claim for your damages after an accident.
Precautions in Your Vehicle
If you cannot prevent a rollover accident, you can at least head off allegations that you behaved carelessly and contributed to the accident yourself. Drivers with pickup trucks, SUVs, vans, or any other vehicles with high mass and narrow tracks should take precautions against rollovers, such as:
- Maintaining reasonable speed, especially along curves
- Packing the car properly without overloading
- Taking special care in adverse weather and low visibility
Even if you own a smaller vehicle, keep these tips in mind whenever you pack the car heavily, especially on the roof.
Reporting Your Accident to Police and to Insurance Companies
Insurance companies typically require notification and claim filing within a reasonable time, and the policy may also give you a specific time period. If another driver is involved, the driver may ask you not to make any reports or filings and promise to reimburse you themselves. Even if they actually mean to do so, your failure to following the normal protocol of reporting the collision to the police and the other driver’s insurance company will make it much harder for you to get a sufficient recovery for severe injuries or expensive property damage.
Seeking Medical Care and Documentation
Even if you seem to have made it out safely, you need a medical exam as soon as possible. Some serious injuries, such as TBIs and whiplash-related disorders, may not be obvious for hours or days. A medical team can determine if you may be in danger and can document your status. Afterward, you should continue to follow up with your doctors about any symptoms, especially new ones.
Keep your records, such as:
- bills for examinations and treatments
- travel expenses for medical care
- receipts for prescriptions
- receipts for non-prescription drugs and home health products
You will need these to compute your claim for medical expenses.
Documenting Your Lost Time at Work
You will also need evidence of your losses from the work you missed due to the accident. For an employee with regular wages, these documents may be easier to find than for a self-employed person. Such evidence can include:
- Tax returns
- Contracts that could not be fulfilled
- Earning opportunities that you would otherwise have pursued
Minimizing Social Media After the Accident
If you post about the accident, your words could be used against you, no matter what they are. Furthermore, insurance investigators may troll your internet posts for evidence that you are leading a normal life. People with depression, PTSD, or debilitating pain may have better days and be able to appear in public, but the company may claim that your pictures show that you were not actually “suffering” and that you do not deserve damages for pain and suffering—or even for your medical bills.
A personal injury attorney can help you recover what you deserve, and the sooner you call, the better. According to a Martindale-Nolo survey, auto insurance claimants who had an attorney were 20% more likely to receive payment, and they received an average of over $30,000 more than claimants without attorneys did.
If you or your loved one have been in a rollover accident, we want to hear from you. At Cascade Injury Law, we deal with insurance companies every day. We can help you determine the damages you are owed and fight for what you need. Call 425-654-8121 to schedule a free consultation at our Bellevue, Washington offices.